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8 min read | April 24, 2023

The Basics of Social Listening for Influencer Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started

If you work in marketing, then it’s likely that you’ve heard the term ‘social listening’ before. But what is social listening and why do nearly two-thirds of marketers agree that it has become more valuable in the last year?

In today’s post, we’ll explain what social listening is and how it ties in with influencer marketing. We’ll discuss topics including the importance of monitoring brand mentions, tracking competitor activity, and using social listening insights to enhance your influencer campaigns.

Let’s get started! 

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What Is Social Listening?

Let’s start with a basic definition: What is social listening? 

Social listening is the practice of actively monitoring and analyzing conversations on social media related to your products, brand, and industry. This includes brand mentions, trending keywords and hashtags, and conversations that your competitors are having with their followers

These insights can help you: 

  • Stay relevant and up to date with trending topics.
  • Keep track of your competitors and campaigns that are generating good results for them.
  • Understand customer pain points so that you can enhance your products or services.
  • Improve your customer outreach strategy.
  • Create relevant influencer marketing campaigns that resonate with your target audience and elicit engagement. 
  • Track all mentions of your brand on social media in real-time. 

Ultimately, social listening helps you understand how your customers feel about your brand and your competitors. You can then use these insights to make data-driven strategic decisions relating to different aspects of your business, including product development, customer service, and your influencer marketing efforts.

How Does Social Listening Work?

So, we’ve answered the question, “What is social listening?”, but how does it work exactly? How can you use it to measure the success of an influencer campaign?

There are a number of strategies you can use for this, as we will see below. Above all, though, it’s important to keep in mind the five Ws of social listening at all times:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What does your audience want?
  • When is your audience engaging with you?
  • Where is your audience active and engaged?
  • Why does your audience talk about you and what are they saying?

These questions should form the basis of all your social listening research

With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few strategies that you can use to find answers to these questions.

Monitoring Brand Mentions

A big part of social listening involves monitoring and responding to brand mentions on social media. You can find out what online users are saying about your brand and whether the general sentiment is positive or negative. You can then engage with these mentions and, in the case of the latter, address any raised issues and improve your brand reputation.

So, where do you start?

There are two options here. You can either monitor each social media platform manually each day to see whether your brand has been tagged or mentioned, or you can use tools to automate the process. Whatever method you choose, don’t forget to use hashtags and related keywords to find relevant brand mentions.

Tracking Competitor Activity

You can also use social listening to track competitor activity. The approach is much the same as with brand mentions. Simply conduct a daily search on social media to see what your competitors are talking about and what others are saying about them.

For example, you can use hashtag and keyword searches to identify:

  • Who your competitors are.
  • What their strengths and weaknesses are and how they compare to your own.
  • Which social media platforms they are active on and how well they use them.
  • Whether competitor influencer marketing strategies are generating good levels of engagement and, if so, what your competitors are doing right.
  • Benchmarks to compare your influencer marketing results against your competitors.
  • Gaps in your own influencer marketing strategies and opportunities for growth.

Using Insights to Enhance Your Influencer Campaigns

The most important strategy involves using your social listening insights to obtain maximum benefits from your influencer marketing campaigns

This strategy takes things beyond a simple monitoring approach. Instead, you use the data you collect from your daily searches to identify patterns and trends relating to customer sentiment. In other words, to understand what the evolving wants, desires, and expectations of your target customers are

For example, you can use social listening insights to:

  1. Quantify happy vs. unhappy customers.
  2. Identify potential market segments that might also be interested in your influencer campaigns.
  3. Collect feedback on current campaigns, including A/B testing results.
  4. Track your own performance metrics.
  5. Determine the best times of the day to post on social media (and optimal post frequency).
  6. Find out which content styles and formats best resonate.

You can then use all these insights to enhance your influencer marketing campaigns so that your content aligns with trending topics and customer sentiment and expectations. This will help you differentiate your brand and increase your influencer marketing ROI.

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