I was always taught to listen, but what is social listening about and why should I be concerned?

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social media listening

Someone mentioned to me just the other day, that SEO and social media are in some sort of a marriage. They also went on to say that without the mix of social media and SEO, divorce was fairly imminent.

Now for those of us who don’t know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, this is the process of getting more traffic to your website or blog. Thereby increasing your visibility, branding and sales.

My question is – In what way? How does this marriage work? How can we get the most out of it, without being sucked into spending countless hours on Facebook with little or no success?

So just what is social listening?

what is social media listening all about

Now for those of us that don’t already know, social listening or social media listening tools, are a type of tool or software. These will crawl all social media platforms and find mentions of your brand, company, product, or CEO.

The software tool also collects this all-in real time, so that you can reply, engage and follow the author of your choice. Social media listening tools are a very valuable commodity and will help you with your social media development.

If we look at what companies use social media listening tools for, we will see things like –

• improving customer service
• increasing brand awareness
• preventing a social media crisis
• building your brands online reputation
• And getting a better understanding of your customer’s needs.

But let’s get one thing straight here – social media listening and social media comments, are not a ranking factor. Contrary to perhaps what you might hear.

We can tell you that social media indirectly affects ranking in a number of important ways and that social media listening tools aren’t just about social media.

So, let’s make a start and delve into the positives of social media listening and social media listening tools.

Keep a keen watch on sentiment

There are many theories out there, and a lot of people say that Google does use sentiment analysis for search rankings. Now if this is the case then sentiment analysing will obviously include social media.

We only have to think about all the complaints that land on Twitter – are you telling me that Google doesn’t pick up on this?

Ok so we cannot actually prove this, but it is more than likely that –

• Google will look at brand mentions on social media
• Google will analyse the sentiment of this data
• And if the data is significant, Google might well use it as a ranking factor.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Well the great news is that most of the social media listening tools, have sentiment analysis already built in. If you are using a listening tool, you will be able to keep a careful eye out on your brand across all social media platforms, as well as news, blogs and forums.

You will also quickly be able to pick up or spot any real problem within minutes. This may well be able to prevent it from getting out of hand and possibly affecting your rankings.

Discover the power of social mentions

Social media listening tools are not just about using your social platforms. We have already spoken about how powerful they are in finding mentions or tweets about your brand.
Let’s imagine how powerful it would be to share such a mention or link on your social media accounts. Another great way of building your brand online.

Discover key influencers in your industry

For anyone that doesn’t know, online influencers are users that have become very popular within a specific field and who usually carry with them a huge following.

Finding such influencers is a great idea for a number of reasons, most of which can be for self-promotion, product promotion or even brand review. The other exciting thing here is that this is also all tied into link building, another key strategy.

When using your social media listening tool, you will get a list of all the key influencers that the tool considers worthwhile and worth contacting. Don’t kid yourself, these people will have a huge following both on and off social media. Reaching out to them and asking them to possibly mention you or your brand, can prove very powerful.

You could also contact a selected few and ask them very nicely to comment or read an article on your website. They may well share this on their social media account and this could also lead to a strong linking campaign going forward.

Be humble, be polite and never discount this very powerful form of social media marketing.

Increasing my website traffic

The most obvious result from a well-balanced social media campaign and account has got to be website traffic. As we all know, website traffic is the most important SEO factor and you should be doing everything that you can to increase traffic to your website.

How does a social media listening tool come into play here?

Well at certain times of the day your organic reach on Twitter or Facebook might be very low, whilst at other times it might be very high. This is where the social media listening tool will notify you of the best times to post or tweet.

Over the years and as social media has progressed, platforms like Twitter have become a minefield of information, with people asking for advice, tips, best practices and even product reviews.

In terms of marketing and website traffic, this gives you real opportunity.

Start using your social media listening tool for certain keyword queries such as “can anyone recommend X” or “where can I find the best deals on Y”. All that is needed from you would be to reply to such mentions with a link back to your website!

You have just discovered a very powerful SEO tactic mixed in with social media marketing. This has the power to get you tons of traffic to your website, whilst at the same time helping you to improve your branding and your bank balance.

Getting back to linkless mentions

social media listening

Ok so when we first started this article, we were talking about a social media listening tool and just how important it was for linkless mentions. Let’s face it, you can find mentions about your brand with most good SEO tools, however the linkless mentions tool is the one that will show you just how your growth changes over time. It will also show you where the mentions come from, what their sentiment is and the demographics, which is all very powerful.

We have also collated enough information to know that Google places great values on linkless brand mentions. By using social listening, you will be able to find all of these mentions, and will be able to grow your mentions by engaging with authors, influencers and other industry authorities in your relevant niche. This will also help you to control what they say about your brand.

Finally to conclude

SEO is definitely moving on. We still need to use traditional SEO methods and we have not moved away from things like link building, which is still very much alive.

However, the facts speak for themselves, and the facts say that great content, along with giving people a real answer to their questions, all mixed into the buzz of social media, is definitely the way forward when it comes to building your brand online.

As a business owner or as an individual, have you leveraged the power of social listening and social media marketing?

Please let us know.

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