Brands have been doing social media listening way before social listening became a ‘thing.’ They set up queries on listening tools to discover conversations about themselves and their competitors. They extracted these insights to advise corporate strategy.

Since then, the space hasn’t evolved a lot. Solutions have folded, solutions have been acquired, and we’re still watching line graphs go up and down and word clouds change. We continue believing certain myths about social media listening.

That is all they are — myths.

Myth 1: Consumption of Data Is All You Need

Imagine presenting to the executives at your organization copious amounts of data on company performance and brand perception, then telling them “but… you can’t do anything about this.” Miss CMO would laugh at you; data is meant to be insightful and actionable, not consumed and archived. And social data has to be just that – insightful and actionable – you have to put it into work queues for teams to address, categorize and profile, engage with newfound conversation, and support CRM efforts.

We’re in the conversation economy, not the sit-and-do-nothing economy.

Myth 2: Social Media Listening Is ‘Set It and Forget It’

In the age of the second screen — when news stories break on Twitter before CNN can put together a script and PR directors become viral sensations between airport terminals — your social brand story can change just as quickly. Topics change, the words used to describe your brand shift, and social vernacular morphs.

The data can (and should) be your canary in a coal mine. By setting and forgetting, you miss out on opportunities to change the conversations around your brand, as they’re actually happening.

One of our clients, for example, recently ran a campaign through social. Things were going as planned until some participants found a loophole in the contest rules and started ‘gaming the system.’ This brand not only monitored these conversations, they also rounded up their internal teams to turn around an updated set of rules within 24 hours. By listening and taking real-time actions, the company prevented a potentially brand-damaging incident.

Lesson here: use your social data, engage with it, follow it down the rabbit hole — don’t just turn it on and watch the pretty charts and graphs.

Myth 3: Social Media Listening Is Just for [Insert Dept. Here]

If social media listening is used to serve a singular organizational department, you’re wasting your money on a listening solution. Every minute, millions of conversations are taking place; the insights you can glean from the mass of these conversations can support multiple departments across the organization.

  • From a PR standpoint, listening can help you identify potential brand-damaging moments and determine if actions need to be taken.
  • From a service perspective, listening can give you insights into how to provide better experiences for your customers.
  • For product development, listening can identify potential opportunities for product improvements.

This sharing of listening insights will act as the needle that threads together the cubes and floors of your firm, creating corporate partnerships that span the entire enterprise.

So yes, you can build your social media strategy around myths …

You can ask for a report after a crisis has passed, “listen” for how much earned media a campaign generated, find a few influencers to send swag to, etc. But if that’s the most you’re doing with social listening, you’re selling yourself short. Social has evolved. The expectations of today’s social consumers have evolved. If you want to provide the best experience for your customers/audience, your social listening has to evolve, as well.

For more articles like this, visit the Sprinklr Social Experience Management Blog.

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3 Comments

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  1. Andy Silvey

    Hi Jeremy,

    very interesting piece and especially your explanations of the myths and truths, this is the real value of your article.

    A little aside, the subject Social Media Listening, some history,

    when I were a lad…  my father worked for an organisation, and that organisation paid a company to go through every mainstream newspaper every day and cutout any article related to that organsition and their space and deliver the resulting cutouts on photocopies to the organisation on a weekly basis, to be digested by the management. And that was 30 years ago.

    We can’t call this social media listening, but it was certainly the earlier days of media listening.

    Ok, that’s it, your article reminded me of this.

    Best regards,

    Andy.

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    1. Jeremy Epstein Post author

      I love the analogy that you bring up. It’s kind of like “Listening has always been the Social thing to do.”

      At least now we don’t have clipping services anymore….right?    

      BTW, I was traveling so I didn’t get a chance to thank you for including me in your weekly wrap as well.

      You’re doing great work across the board. Keep it up.  BTW…we are going to be doing events in Geneva and Germany in the next few months (in addition to London), if you’re interested in joining us….    

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      1. Andy Silvey

        I guess the clipping services still exist because not everything which is printed is on the web, but I guess they scan and email these days instead of photocopying and couriering.

        No need to thank for the item in the architecture blog, as I said to others over there, it’s easy to get in that publication, just produce great content of interest to strategic SAP thinkers. Putting that together is no trouble, I have been clipping since Iview Studio changed to SDN, and before we could save blogs as pdf’s I was copying the most interesting ones into Word documents for my library. Each morning over a coffee checking the latest blogs, I’ve been doing that for years and years, and these days, instead of just keeping them for myself I share the most interesting each month with the rest of the community.

        For years I have been advocating to colleagues, if you want to stay up with the latest and greatest in the SAP world, then just read through the latest blogs each morning on the SCN over a coffee. It’s easy.

        Thanks for the tip about the events, this subject although very interesting and very useful to know about, is not in my main area and I will politely decline for now.

        Best regards and keep up the great blogs and information sharing. I for one appreciate it and will re-share it.

        Andy.

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