For brand marketers, a frequent frustration with their social media listening tool is the “now what?” issue. While there are a great many things that social media listening tools can help with, such as reactive crisis management, there are many situations when these standalone tools don’t provide the data or answers to the questions and problems marketers need to solve.
For example, is your social media listening tool able to compare the social media ROI of an influencer partnership to the performance of organic and paid Instagram posts? Is your social listening solution helping you understand audience sentiment around your brand beyond just user mentions? Are you able to tie your social listening data to actual business metrics?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, it might be time for your brand to upgrade from a social media listening tool to a social media analytics tool. We’ve covered how social media analytics differs from social listening in this blog post, but the short explanation is that social media analytics can tie social media performance to business objectives.
Here are five key reasons why the best social media analytics tools provides more actionable social media insights than what a standalone social media listening tool can typically offer.
Reason #1: Click-Based Interactions Outweigh Mentions
Social media listening tools are usually dependable at analyzing conversation, but there’s one giant stumbling block in making this analysis actionable. Only a small fraction of the people who interact with brand content on social media are expressing themselves through mentions. Traditional social listening tools capture only the vocal minority who talk about brands online and ignore the silent majority who prefer to express their feelings through clicks.
ListenFirst integrates all the critical social analytics a brand needs, layering emotional sentiment on organic and earned activity, to give brands a complete understanding of what their audiences care about and why, and insights to change campaign strategies.
Reason #2: Social Media Listening Tools Overemphasize Vanity Metrics
One of the most basic functions of a social media listening tool is tracking publicly displayed vanity metrics such as Followers and Likes. However, those signals are too noisy to be actionable as standalone data points. For instance, say the snack food brand you work for generated 1,000 new followers on Twitter in the last month. Based on that information alone, it’s unclear how many of the new followers are bots, if CTAs were clicked on more often, and if there’s any correlation between those new followers and more snacks being sold.
It’s a similar issue with Likes, where they can’t inherently be tied to business metrics, with the added wrinkle that Instagram is already experimenting with removing publicly viewable Likes in the United States and several other countries, so in the future social listening tools may not have access to much of that data anyway.
The best social listening tool for brands is one that goes beyond just listening and is able to synthesize information from across the social ecosystem to make better informed marketing recommendations.
Reason #3: A Social Media Sentiment Analysis Tool Should Say More Than Positive And Negative
When it comes to sentiment analysis, many social media listening tools are able to break down audience sentiment into Positive, Negative, and Neutral. This is another instance where the data is too vague to be actionable on its own. Imagine you’re a TV marketer and your program just aired an episode where the protagonist’s brother was murdered by his arch-nemesis. That’s a situation where the show is trying to shock the audience, so finding out there’s a spike in negative sentiment offers no insights if the audience is unhappy with the direction of the show or just really engaged by the current storyline.
ListenFirst is able to go beyond just using the simple Positive, Negative, Neutral categorizations to break down audience sentiment into emotions like Sad, Anger, Joy, Fear, Love, and Surprise. With this added insight, brands have much clearer understanding of why they’re trending Positive or Negative; and can more quickly identify an outreach angle when it presents itself.
Reason #4: Social Listening Lacks Walled Garden Access
Social media listening tools are built to monitor audience activity in open forums such as blogs, message boards, and social media platforms. However, because of privacy concerns, Twitter and Reddit are pretty much the only social media platforms that are still run as open forums, while Instagram and Facebook have switched to a walled garden strategy. Conversations are now more curated in living-room-types of environments, which only smaller groups of people can access.
Given those limitations, it’s vital to still have information about audience interest about Facebook and Instagram, which is only available through owned insights. With authorized brand data, ListenFirst can track advanced audience engagement metrics surrounding brand content, providing the Facebook analysis and Instagram analytics needed for content optimization. Meanwhile, traditional social media listening tools are still stuck behind the wrong side of the walled garden.
Reason #5: Mention Volume Isn’t As Important As Understanding The Audience And Their Interests
While it’s pretty exciting to be able to say there were 10,000 Tweets mentioning your brand in a single day, social media listening often gets stuck trying to explain the story beyond that point. ListenFirst’s social media analytics tool that can fill in those blanks, laying out the topics and themes of the conversations while also sharing information about the top contributors, as well as audience demographics and interests.
In order to make social media listening actionable, you have to understand who your audience is and what they’re interested in.
In all of these examples, the recurring theme is the need for more context. Brands need the full picture of how the audience is interacting with their social media content in order to gain truly actionable insights. ListenFirst offers that needed context, providing all the capabilities of a social media listening tool, while integrating public and authorized data, so brands can actually tie their social media performance to their business objectives.