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If all social listening tools share the goal of shining a light on consumers’ social conversations, how do you know which one to choose? Here are five features we feel elevate social listening tools from average to a powerful force for social intelligence.

1. Converged media

To accurately assess marketing efforts, you’ve got to know what specifically is succeeding for your brand, and what isn’t. Is paid media, like print and television ads, bringing better results than owned media like your website and mobile apps? Or is earned media – the word of mouth of consumers on social – getting you the best bang for your buck?

Each of these areas must be tracked and analyzed – but you don’t have time to look at each separately and then manually bring them together to compare the data. Not if you want to be nimble in your responses, at least.

Being able to view owned, earned and partnered/paid metrics all at once is table stakes.

2. Engagement metrics

Obviously you want to know how much people are engaging with your brand on social channels, but you need to go beyond the simple numbers – like “likes” and retweets – and that’s what we’re talking about here.

Engagement covers everything from what people are saying – whether they’re mentioning you, or a keyword you care about – to sentiment about anything they see or share, whether they comment or share, what types of content pulls them in, and what channels they engage on most.

It’s a much more comprehensive measurement than it used to be. That’s why you need more comprehensive social media listening tools.

3. Geofence capabilities

If your brand is global, of course you want to know how you’re doing far and wide. Still, there are times when it’s crucial to dial into very specific areas of your market, so you need a tool that allows for that.

If you want to monitor the conversations in a particular state, or city, or even neighborhood, you can – and that intel is valuable. Social audiences don’t discriminate by region. If there’s a problem in one region, but the social conversation is big enough, it can sway consumers globally just to know you aren’t managing this suffering contingent well.

Geofences let you view both the forest and the trees, and offer up messaging and support to distinct regions as appropriate.

Xfinity tweet

4. Voice of the Customer

Let’s face it, there’s no other voice that matters, so if you can’t accurately understand what your audience thinks and feels, you won’t get very far. And generalizations won’t cut it either.

It’s far less important to think in terms of demographic groups like “moms” and “professional men” than it is to understand what behaviors drive these types of personalities – and where that crosses over to audiences those demographics would have left behind.

After all, stay-at-home dads have the same concerns as stay-at-home moms, right? So you can’t distinguish based on gender, or even age – because parents run the gamut. And so do all consumers.

Instead, you have to know what moves various segments to engage and shop – and give them what they want. That requires smart, complex tools, able to segment consumers by psychographic interests and behaviors.

5. Image recognition

Text may be the preference of logophiles, but many in the online realm prefer to converse in the language of emojis, or images. Consider the growth of platforms like Instagram, and the addition of GIF libraries to both Twitter and Facebook, and it’s clear social users love to communicate visually.

Can your tools spot problematic images? As important as it is for your sentiment analysis feature to speak emoji, it’s just as crucial your monitoring feature be able to recognize variations of your logo. That way you know when someone is misappropriating it and stirring up trouble.

Coca-Cola spoof tweet

Your logo is the face of your brand, so you can’t let it be sabotaged. If your tools can’t alert you to such things, you’ll find out the hard way – when some clever troll has gone viral with a damaging play on your brand’s very identity.

Advanced goals require advanced tools

Not all social listening platforms contain the features above – and not all brands can afford those that can. A number of tools offer some of these features, or affordably help you get started with social listening so you can build your brand and upgrade later. But when that time comes, you have to know what the next level looks like, and what matters.

These five features will keep your brand safer while saving you time and money, and helping you know your customers as well as you possibly can. When you’re ready, be sure you choose a tool that includes them.

NetBase has these five features covered and more! Let us show you with a personalized demo!

Image from Andre Chinn

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