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social media listening benefitsSocial media listening is the favorite strategy of social media marketers, reveals the HubSpot 2020 State of Marketing Report. About 22% of marketers use social media listening, more than other popular strategies such as direct messaging, live video and augmented reality. In spite of its high rating, 22% is startling low. One would think that virtually all businesses do some form of social media monitoring.

“By listening to your audience, before creating anything, you foster community and learn what resonates,” says Crystal King, an inbound marketing expert at HubSpot.

Brands started to listen more closely to their audiences in 2019. “I only expect this to intensify in 2020 with the world moving towards tighter data regulations and higher expectations from people for the content they consume,” King says.

Steps to Fruitful Social Media Marketing

King recommends these steps.

Consider sharing user-generated content from your audience. Identify your KPIs, publish various types of content, track your progress, and adjust your content. Then repeat that process.

Many social media experts recommend using a social media listening tool to find user-generated content with mentions of company and products. Monitoring for nicknames, abbreviations, and common misspellings of your products can improve results.

Ask permission to re-share user-generated content and give credit where it’s due.

Identify niche influencers who can help promote your brand. Working with micro- and nano-influencers, those with 500 to 10,000 followers, can help avoid fraudulent influencers, now viewed as a hazard in the current market.

Develop private groups for your passionate audience members. According to HubSpot’s research, 18% of marketers in North America use Facebook Groups. With 1.4 billion people using Facebook Groups globally, more marketers may continue to embrace the tactic.

Don’t ignore copywriting. Marketers prefer photos and images more than any type of content, but they sometimes emphasize images and photos at the expense of copy. Some communications professionals have committed embarrassing mistakes due to proofreading shortcomings.

Good copywriting calls for more than proofreading skills. Make sure your team includes someone with the right content skills, including a strong understanding of voice and tone, and also proper context, King notes.

Spend less time broadcasting brand messages and more time commenting and sharing others’ content.

The Value of Brand Personality

Brands need to develop their own personality and set of values to reach customers and stand out in a world of noise and limited attention, says Diego Santos, marketing manager at EMEA, in the HubSpot survey. “Small and authentic will win over big and generic every time.” Santos says. To accomplish that goal, pay attention to private groups, micro-influencers and social movements relevant to your brand, he advises.

Bottom Line: Social media listening forms the basis of successful online marketing, new research says. Through social media listening, brands can determine what content resonates with audiences, uncover user-generated content to share, and find the right influencers to partner with. Social media monitoring and measurement can also identify issues with the brand and gauge progress toward the brand’s goals.

Download the 2020 Ultimate Guide to Media Monitoring, Measurement & Analytics for PR & Marketing