Over the last two decades, social media has seen unprecedented growth and has become virtually unrecognisable from the early days of SixDegrees and MySpace. Now, each social media platform is a behemoth of data, each experiencing thousands of posts from millions of users per minute. According to a BBC report from way back in 2015, Facebook already had half the world’s internet users using its platform. By 2025, Statistica forecasts that Instagram will have 1.44 billion monthly users and that by 2024, Twitter will have 340 million people active on its platform. As you can see from these figures, there are a lot of people using social media, and this doesn’t even account for those people using Snapchat, LinkedIn, Reddit, and some of the smaller, lesser-known platforms out there. 

Using social media as a marketing tool

With such an enormous amount of people using social media, it was obviously only a matter of time before companies tried to work out the best ways to reach their target audience online. However, with so many conversations going on daily, it is becoming harder and harder to tell whether our online business posts are finding their key audiences and whether they are having the desired effect. This is where social listening comes in.

What is social listening and how does it work?

A social listening programme such as Pulsar can analyse and keep track of online conversations about a specific topic. This can be your brand, your competitors, your products, or anything else you feel would benefit your company. It can drag in information about specific keywords and also help you analyse these mentions in a meaningful way. Some social listening tools can reach further than social media, collecting information and posts from forums, blogs, and websites as well. Social listening can easily help you track how well your company is doing, the impact your online presence is making, and what your clients think of your products and/or company.

Social listening tools collect data available online about any specific thing you want them to, be that your brand, your product, or anything else. This data can be focused on one particular sales period or it can be gathered in real-time, depending on what you hope to discover. It is often possible to search for your brand in other languages, and search for mentions in other countries and territories. 

Social listening tools use keywords such as your company’s name, a particular product you manufacture, or the name of your main rival. They can also search for set phrases if it helps to gather the information you need. Sometimes certain words or sentences may muddy the waters, so to speak, and stop you from finding out the information you need to know. In this case, those words and phrases can be excluded to help you see the data you need. 

After this is done, all mentions are analysed to see if the comments connected with them are positive or negative, and are then sorted accordingly. 

Having a strong social media programme will help you grow your business and is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool. With its ability to identify influencers and track brand intelligence, it offers an excellent way to improve your marketing. Furthermore, by seeing what your clients are saying, you can potentially see how well your current and prior marketing campaigns have worked, and also how you can develop your product to better meet their needs.