A social listening dashboard is a data visualization tool that simplifies business intelligence for brand marketers. Dashboards are great when you want to quickly see the status quo of your brand, competition & efficacy of ongoing social strategies. Visual information is good for making quick tactical decisions and reporting. For instance, a spike in the share of voice chart will indicate that a particular brand is either running a hashtag campaign or found itself in the middle of a controversy.
Dashboards offer topical insights which have their own importance, however relying on them too much will take the edge off your brand.
Depending on what has come to light from monitoring your own social strategies or the competition, you have the choice of going full steam ahead, indulging in guerrilla marketing, adopting a piggyback strategy or simply enjoying your competition drown in a deluge of negative buzz. Dashboards offer topical insights which have their own importance, however relying on them too much will take the edge off your brand. Brand marketers need to dig deeper to create a mean engagement strategy.
Ensure that you have access to all relevant data
Before you set out to dive deeper in your brand’s social data, you need to be sure that no relevant piece of information is missing. Pay attention to the word ‘relevant’ in the previous sentence, it makes a world of difference. If your current tool is charging you on the basis of number of mentions every month, then it becomes even more important that only relevant data is presented to you. In case you are wondering what irrelevant data is, here’s a list –
- Advertising banners – Yup, some tools are notorious for presenting advertising banners. How does this happen? It happens when such tools rely on crawlers devoid of intelligence. This renders them hopeless in discarding advertising banners. You must have seen billboards of two competing brands side by side on a number of occasions. You may have observed such instances while surfing the internet too. Many brands optimize their advertising content to be shown on pages where their competitor’s keywords occur. Needless to say, such content is worthless junk for brand managers. It's best that such data is not reflected in your listening tool.
- Stock prices and other financial data – Unless your goal is to analyze social chatter about your brand’s financial health, such data is irrelevant for most brand manager’s day to day operations. Ensure that such websites and discussion forums have been put in your tool’s exceptions list. Same should be done for social media pages and handles who regularly publish such content.
- Your own campaign tweets – There is no point in asking your tool pick up tweets scheduled by you. This will not give you a true picture of your brand’s overall share of voice. So make sure that you’ve excluded your own twitter handles from the listening tool. It can be argued that some brands may want to track messages published by them, but most brands refrain from doing so to avoid discrepancies.
- Troll data – Trolls are undesired elements of the big social media explosion our generation is currently experiencing. Nothing they say is worth paying attention to. Popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook are rife with such profiles. Dummy social profiles should also be excluded from the tool at all cost.
Sift, uncover and quantify the most critical topics
Certain topics or issues are critical for every brand to pay attention to. For an FMCG brand it’s the quality of its products, while customer service and authenticity may be critical for a lifestyle brand. Take a good look at your brand’s world cloud and assess which of the topics are close to your brand’s overall communication objectives.
Once you’ve established these topics, you should go about consolidating them and creating categories for classification. Each conversation should then be categorized accordingly, so that at the end of each day, week, month, quarter or year you can keep your pulse on the hottest topics. This will help you analyze the sentiment behind each of those topics and how you fare when compared to your closest competitors.
Put data into action
Your listening tool is a gold mine of data that’s begging to be put to good use. See which of the following scenarios are relevant to you and act –
You’ve found that you are doing something better than anybody
Your customers probably think that your brand’s latest car variant looks better than most. Your next move could be to create communication strategies (visual and textual) about how good the car looks and feels. You could also come up with a campaign to encourage customers to share selfies of themselves posing with the care and organize a competition around it. If you’ve discovered that people can’t stop talking about your brand’s redcurrants and lime zest ice-cream then optimize your tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook posts for that flavor. You probably are the only one who sells that flavor. Best aspects of your brand should be highlighted as much as possible to boost brand engagement.
You’ve discovered that certain aspects of your brand are not appreciated
No brand can be perfect but it should strive to be. Negative aspects about your brand should be addressed and once addressed the brand’s audience should be made aware of it. It’s important to understand that social media is truly ‘social’. People are willing to give you a second chance if you can prove that you’ve made efforts to rectify the issues raised by them. Are you an automobile brand which has improved the time it takes to deliver an ordered car or bike? Do you now offer more customization than before? Let those things be known and more importantly let your audience know that you’ve heard them.
Social media users are an expressive lot. They are not shy about making their likes & dislikes to be known. They are at equal ease to express what they wish they had. This is an opportunity for brands to discover what they want and expect. Your social listening tool will help you discover those things. You can utilize those inputs to either provision them or create an entirely new product or service.
Have you discovered that a chunk of twitter users have been wishing for ice cream to be delivered to their doorsteps? Then make sure you are the first one to do so. If a small but profitable niche desires that they want more varied matte colored cars, then strive to be the first car manufacturer that sells a range of matte colored cars as standard.
There’s more to social listening that goes much beyond dashboards. The point is to not miss any data and to keep churning it. Social data is like a gift that keeps on giving. So put your listening tool to good use and don’t stop looking.