Content Marketing

How to Leverage Social Listening for Content Marketing

Are you leveraging social listening for content marketing already?

No?

That could be a big blunder.

The smartest brands deliver blog articles, social media posts, and other content that answer customer questions even before they are asked. These companies have a finger on the pulse of the audience.

If your brand doesn’t tap into your audience's thoughts and feelings, there is little to no chance of you connecting with them meaningfully.

That’s where social listening comes into play.

People today are creating a real-time record of their interests in the form of their social media posts, comments, and conversations. If you have the right strategy and social media tools, you too can tap into this feed of information and make it work for you.

Social listening is so powerful that 51% of marketers are harnessing it to shape their marketing and communications strategy.

Image via eMarketer

That’s impressive, right?

Sometimes audience members are speaking directly to or about your brand. At other times, they're simply having conversations about topics that are relevant to your business. In either case, understanding their perspective can be a distinct advantage for your content marketing.

Social listening can bring numerous content marketing benefits. In this post, we will discuss how you can take your content marketing to the next level by using social listening.

Let’s get started.

5 Top Benefits of Using Social Listening for Content Marketing

From startups to enterprises, each and every business can benefit from incorporating social listening in their content marketing blueprint.

Still not convinced?

Then, take a look at these benefits.

1. Monitoring Trends Keeps Your Brand Relevant

Your content marketing strategy may be meticulously planned and scheduled. However, unless your team is aware of what's going on in your niche, you might be missing golden conversion opportunities.

Being unaware of current discussion topics means you could pass up good chances for engagement with your audience. Even worse, failing to address a trending subject may make your brand seem indifferent, out of touch, or cold.

Timely social monitoring is the perfect way to see what's going on among your target demographic at all times. By figuring out what's important to your readers, you can seize engagement opportunities when they arise. This way, your content marketing becomes relevant, timely, and results-oriented.

2. Listening to Your Audience Reveals What They Need

There's an easy test to see whether your brand is following its audience's interests closely enough: Look at your most recent posts. Are they based on customers' interests or yours?

While there's always a temptation to talk about the brand — and how great your products are — that's not what customers always want to hear. Readers who haven't yet committed may want to read step-by-step guides, see tips and tricks, or watch examples of the products in action.

That’s why you should keep a close eye on engagement statistics and reader comments. These close-to-home forms of social listening will reveal which posts are proving most relevant.

In turn, that relevant data can become the North Star for future content creation. Laser-focused content marketing done this way will ultimately increase your business ROI.

Example: Discover Questions on Buzzsumo

By typing a keyword into this BuzzSumo feature, you can reveal related questions that people are asking. This illuminates what your audience is most curious about. In the example below, the results are based on the keyword “furniture.”

Image via BuzzSumo

3. Social Listening Provides Content Marketing Inspiration

Tracking your audience's interests and responses isn't just a way to make content more relevant. When the well of inspiration is running dry, social listening can provide great ideas to fuel your content marketing plan.

Conversations happening among consumers can help you fill out the content calendar. You just need to know how to find these discussions. A good social listening tool is your best friend for this type of monitoring.

Type your brand name into a tool such as Mediatoolkit and you'll see what other words people use when talking about you. This exercise can reveal a whole new perspective and fuel posts for months to come.

Example: Word Cloud by Mediatoolkit

This brilliantly simple tool shows off the kinds of words people use when talking about a topic or brand. For this example, we've simply typed in the name “Adidas.”

Image via Mediatoolkit

4. Simplifies Search Engine Optimization of Content

Say you have a buyer persona based on a template. How accurately does it map to your actual audience? It's likely close, but not 100% aligned.

To create content  that’s tailored to your customers’ needs and interests, and to come up with search engine optimization terms to reach them, you need a deeper understanding of your customers.

And guess what?

A combination of social listening and data-based audience intelligence will reveal what your customers really care about.

Working with the right algorithm will reveal the most important topics for your audience, along with associated SEO terms. Sprinkling these powerful keywords into your content ensures it's easy to find. This way, social listening can help boost your SEO as well as content marketing.

Example: Segments – Audience Breakdown on Audiense

The Audience Breakdown feature powered by Audiense can help content creators make relevant, easy-to-find materials. Note the “distinctive bio keywords” and top social media hashtags for each persona.

Image via Audiense

5. Identify User-Generated Content and Influencer Marketing Opportunities

Sometimes, the best and most convincing content comes from third parties, not your writers. With effective social media listening, you can find relevant posts more effectively and leverage them for your brand. This applies to influential public figures and individual audience members alike.

The concept behind social listening for user-generated content is simple. If people are already talking about your brand and products, why not use that conversation as material? With effective tools monitoring social media activity, you can find top-quality posts to share.

The process of influencer marketing is a little more involved because it's about long-term relationships. Once you find the most influential thinkers in your space, you can approach them to collaborate with you.

Good social listening means you'll only approach people who are authentically engaged with your industry and talk about it often. Such invested influencers can enhance your content strategy in a big way.

Example: Twitter Influencers on BuzzSumo

Buzzsumo offers a tool to rank and assess the most influential social media posters on a given subject. In this example, the topic is “beauty blogger.” Note that some accounts featured belong to individuals, while others are companies.

Image via BuzzSumo

FAQs

Q1. What is social listening?

A. Social listening is the process of studying audience conversations online. This reveals what people are talking about and care about most.

Q2. How does social listening work?

A. Your company sets up social listening tools, typing in relevant keywords, brand names and search terms. The results show what types of conversations are happening around those topic areas. The scope of insights will differ based on your tool of choice.

Q3. What are the types of social listening?

A. You can monitor the chatter around your own blog posts and articles, engage in social media listening or search for conversations around a subject or brand name. Each type of listening will reveal different insights about what your audience wants.

Q4. What is a social listening strategy?

A. If you have a fully developed social listening strategy, that means you have a plan for how to gather and use insights. This strategy serves as one component of a larger-scale content marketing strategy.

Q5. Who can use social listening?

A. Any company that deals with the public can use social listening. As long as there are people talking about your brand or industry, you may find insights through social listening.

Q6. Why is social media listening important?

A. Social media listening is a way to find important content creation opportunities. If people are already talking about your brand, that could become excellent user-generated content. By identifying the top influencers in your field, you can begin partnerships.

Q7. What do you look for in social listening?

A. Social listening can look for a variety of different signals. You can determine top discussion topics among your customers or relating to your industry. It's also possible to find out what people are saying about your specific brand.

Q8. What are some social listening tools?

A. You can get started on social listening with tools including the following:

  • Customer Question Discovery by BuzzSumo
  • Word Cloud Generation by Mediatoolkit
  • Audience segmentation by Audiense
  • Influencer analysis by BuzzSumo

Ready to Power Your Content Marketing With Social Listening?

When you put it all together, it's clear: If you're not using any social listening tactics, there's a very real risk of missing important messages from your audience. What people care about most, what they are interested in learning more about, what they dislike — you need to know all of this.

Your customers and potential customers are the lifeblood of your business. Their opinions are paramount, both in the moment and long term. Social listening plugs you into this audience's mindset, both when dealing with big questions and the specifics.

Social listening can become a pillar of your content marketing strategy. When you're looking for a way to boost your posts, articles, and multimedia, consult the voice of the customer.

The current, tech-driven era of communications has given your audience more ways to converse and connect. It has also granted you more ways to turn those public conversations into fuel for your strategy. That's a powerful edge if you use it, so don't pass it up.

Dominick Sorrentino

Dominick Sorrentino is a Senior Marketing specialist at Brafton. He's a wordsmith who endeavors to use language, story-telling, and creativity to solve problems. He enjoys pizza, the musical styling of A Tribe Called Quest, traveling, a good conversation and, of course, putting pen to paper.

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