Marketing places such a demand on your time these days that using technology to help keep the work going is essential. That’s nowhere truer than in marketing fields like social media, where you’re expected to be able to respond to a tweet or comment in minutes, but spend a lot of dedicated time to content creation (writing, graphics, videos), analysis, strategy, and measurement. Oh, and maybe have a life in there too – or sleep. Because social media managers are human, not robots.
So, what’s a social media manager to do? Find tools to help. And one of the best ways to find a way to do as much as you humanly can is to automate tasks. Social listening is one of the prime tasks to automate. You have a tool to catch what you missed while you were working on something else, eating, or sleeping – and then you respond as soon as you can (authentically, individually, of course).
Here are 5 fantastic tools to help you automate social listening:
Mention is a wonderful, stand-alone listening tool. It tracks your brand, and whatever keywords, hashtags, and/or competitors you set. You’ll get every possible mention for the keywords you set up – whether it’s a brand mention, a hashtag, a blog title, a URL, or even an API call. To keep all that data manageable, you can sort by source: each major social media channel, photographs (Pinterest/Instagram), blogs, forums, news, and general web traffic. The sorting is the key feature that I’ve found most helpful. When you have hundreds of mentions to review (and respond to as needed) every day, the ability to break down things down into blocks is essential.
Buzzsumo is an awesome content discovery tool – and that includes a social listening function. It tracks your brand mentions (again, based on keywords) across the web, and will track the number of social shares, per network, each article received. This is a unique feature that can show you how much attention the article containing your keyword (brand mention) is getting on different networks. The Buzzsumo report does not track mentions on social networks, so it’s important to use this in tandem with a tool that will track across the social web as well. Extra bonus, you can set up an email alert for all brand mentions in any given time period.
SimplyMeasured is a comprehensive online social metrics solution. In addition to the social media metrics you’d expect, SimplyMeasured also has a social listening component. And it gives you a TON of data: demographics, sentiment, volume, reach, a word cloud, a geographic heat map, popular times of day and days of the week.
An unreal amount of data. Which is, of course, filterable when you dig down to the individual comments – by date, sources, demographics, and sentiment. My personal favorite filter is to use the date and source (location) of data together just so I can keep on top of things on a daily basis – and then to respond as I need to on the relevant social channel. The only tricky part of SimplyMeasured is that it does not catch anything in Facebook Messenger, so don’t forget to check your Facebook Inbox or Facebook messenger for questions or comments.
Buffer Reply (the recent new name for the Buffer-acquired GetRespond social customer service software) is a more than a social listening tool, it helps social customer service teams respond to client inquiries and questions – while being able to disregard the normal social media chatter. The chatter is what makes social listening need automation in the first place! What’s more, Buffer Reply is designed for social customer service, which is a unique set of duties that often fall on a social media manager’s plate in smaller businesses. In a world where more and more customer service happens on social media – and companies have to offer social customer service whether they want to or not – being able to have the chatter filtered out is an immense time and sanity saver. The very definition of a good tool.
Google Alerts is the search engine’s solution for social listening. Plug in your keywords, brand name, hashtags, or whatever you want to monitor. Google will gather the information for you, and email it to you as well as keep it under your Google ID. Each mention is itemized, so you can take a look to see if it’s something you need to take action on. Fortunately, not every brand mention across the web requires some kind of action.
Over to you
How do you use social listening in your business? Do you have any tricks or tools to automate it or otherwise make it easier? Tell us about it in the comments below.