What is social listening and why should companies keep an ear out?
In today’s fast-evolving world of social media and networking, it can be tough to cut through the noise and figure out what the online world is saying about you. And when you’re a federally illegal cannabis company, you never know if your account will even exist tomorrow, or if it’s being shadowbanned.
That’s why an effective social listening campaign is critical to the success of every brand.
It’s so important, in fact, that there’s an entire industry built around it. Let’s take you inside the world of social listening and explore this critical facet of public relations.
What is social listening, exactly?
Social listening is essentially the process of monitoring and analyzing social media channels for mentions of a brand, product or even an entire industry. Tracking conversations and opinions shared by social media users allows a business to gain insights into the attitudes and opinions of easily segmentable audiences.
Sounds simple enough — but it’s a lot of work. Let’s take a look at why that hard work is so necessary.
Why is social listening important for cannabis companies?
Social listening is important to PR campaigns for every company, regardless of their industry. Yet, it’s often more important for those in the highly regulated and fast-changing world of cannabis.
Rules surrounding cannabis companies promoting their brand or products on social media vary from state to state. Worse, they vary from platform to platform, and are seemingly changed on a whim. While some cannabis companies are being deactivated on platforms like Instagram, others are thriving. In February, Twitter began allowing paid cannabis ads — a first in social media.
Social listening by a team of cannabis PR professionals using the right tools and staying on top of trends ensures not only that you’re present in the right places, but also that your posts aren’t getting any static.
Pros use social listening to identify those trends and the way your company is perceived online. By monitoring social conversations, insights can be analyzed to help shape effective messaging, identify potential issues, and develop deep strategies for reputation management.
Social listening and lead monitoring
Social listening is also a great way to find leads. In fact, lead monitoring is an application specific to social listening, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: Through social listening, PR professionals can find people at the consideration or decision stage of the buyer’s journey and engage with them, guiding them to that coveted conversion. Lead monitoring services are a critical part of any social listening campaign.
Social platforms allow PR professionals to engage with their audience and build or deepen relationships. By responding to comments and feedback in your brand’s voice, they can express personality while showing a commitment to a two-way client relationship. It’s a killer reputation booster—or a crucial method for mitigating the damage if a situation emerges that requires crisis communications.
Beyond leads, social listening can help you connect with potential influencers or advocates who may be useful as connectors or promoters. Through monitoring conversations, identifying key opinion leaders and adding just the right touch, PR pros can develop influencer outreach strategies and build partnerships that can help reach a wider audience.
There are a lot of tools PR professionals can use for social listening, but one of our favorites is Constant Contact, which bundles social listening tools, e-mail marketing, and analytics with sales tools like lead scoring and tracking. Combining PR and marketing tools this way allows brands to build integrated campaigns that make the most of owned, earned and paid media.
Is social listening worth paying for?
So you keep an eye on our social media — sounds simple enough. Why should a brand pay for it? It’s true that brand managers absolutely could perform social listening themselves or hire a full-time social media strategist, with “full-time” carrying a lot of weight in that sentence. It is, after all, just social media. But, trust us, it’s a lot of work.
Not only is it a time-consuming gig, it also can be difficult to connect the dots and track trends if you’re not up on the very latest social trends. It’s like personally thanking everybody who wished you a Happy Birthday across all your social platforms — every single day of the year.
A partner like Grasslands is on top of it. We get that social listening is an essential tool for companies and brands to better understand public sentiment, build relationships with their audience and shape their messaging strategies.
Let us do the heavy lifting for you — let’s chat!