5 things to remember while choosing a social listening tool

Last year in the month of October, Mc Donald’s reintroduced its famous Szechuan sauce in select restaurants following a demand by customers on social media.

The result? The demand exceeded the supply, and Mc Donald’s took to Twitter to apologise for the short supply. They promised to bring it back again in the winter season.

Source: Twitter

Similarly, they decided to offer breakfast items at all hours when they found several customers discussing it on social media[i].

Mc Donald’s seems to take customer listening seriously and is doing everything in its power to delight customers by introducing and reintroducing new food items and fixing issues in their outlets that caused inconvenience to the customers.

It’s no surprise that Mc Donald’s hold a special place in people’s lives across age, nationality, and gender despite fierce competition in the fast food segment.

If you were wondering, how does a huge brand as Mc Donald’s that receives frequent mentions in a day, manages to find such trends on social media, the answer is – Social Listening!

They listen to the conversations on social media about their brand, their competitors, and the industry in general and try to find data that can be used to form deeper engagement with their customers.

Is it possible to monitor what people talk on social media manually?

Yes! However, for a company that’s as large as Mc Donald’s and even for the smaller ones that are keen on capturing as much data as possible to develop insights; social listening and monitoring can be done effectively with the help of social media listening tools.

What Are Social Listening Tools?

You are probably aware of social media automation tools that let you schedule social media posts for various social media platforms to save time and efforts. Social listening tools are different. They are a specialised and more powerful set of tools that help in capturing data of your interest from various platforms and consolidating them into a single platform to simplify your analysis.

How Do Social Listening Tools Work?

Most social listening tools crawl different types of websites such as blogs, social media platforms, news sites, review sites in real-time or at regular intervals. These crawlers look for specific keywords and phrases relevant to the brand on different websites and bring them together in the social listening tool. Once the data is collected, the brand can use it to analyse, respond, and gain insights about their company, competitors and the industry[i]. Let’s look at an example of Tesla cited by Sprout Social to understand how it works[ii].

In December 2016, a Tesla customer complained on Twitter about how some people parked their cars at the charging station and left it there for hours even after the car is charged fully. Within 20 minutes of tweeting about this issue, Tesla’s CEO responded to the tweet stating that he will take action soon. He even wrote a blog a few days later admitting that he was aware of the problem and gave a solution to it.

Source: Twitter

How did it happen?

Companies use a combination of words such as Tesla, Supercharger etc to receive data on topics having these keywords. The tool further segregates it into different pre-defined categories to analyse and gain better insights.

In the above example, Tesla must have received such complains before, which is why Elon Musk understood the concern and addressed it himself almost immediately.

How to Choose the Right Tool?

You are taking the right decision if you have decided to invest in a social listening tool. With 2019 around the corner, social listening can add more value to your business by not just helping you to respond to queries, feedback and compliments immediately, but also providing you valuable insights that can help you grow your business.

However, with so many tools in the market, choosing the right one can be quite an arduous task. That’s why we have listed down a few parameters that you must look for while selecting the right tool.

#1 – Platform Coverage

If the tool does not cover the platforms that you are present in, then the investment on the tool might not reap any results. Check for tools that include all the social media platforms that you use while selecting.

#2 – Data Coverage

Before choosing a tool, you have to determine the objective of using a social listening tool. Is it to know the vanity metrics such as likes and retweets? In that case, a simple social media marketing will help you. However, if your objective is to find the number of mentions you receive, the common issues that your customers face, or a popular trend dominating your industry, then a social listening tool is the right solution for you. Check if the tools that you have shortlisted offer these insights before investing! Germin8 Social Listening tool, for instance, collects a large volume of unstructured data from various crawled sites and presents them in a granular format based on topic structure. It makes it easier for the company to make well-informed decisions.

#3 – Customized Reports

Every organisation and even different departments within the same organisation require a different type of data to plan their next course of action. Thus, a one-size-fits-all feature may not work. Ensure that the tool you shortlisted offers an option to customise reports according to your business needs. Germin8 Social Listening tool allows users to personalise graphs, add comments and inferences, and share reports with team members and clients directly.

#4 – Sentiment Analysis

It can be quite cumbersome to analyse the sentiments of each post manually. So, choose a tool that has a sentiment analysis feature. This will help you determine how people perceive your brand and products vis-à-vis that of your competitors and work upon improving your brand’s image if needed.

#5 – Customer Support

The final leg before selecting your tool is to check the customer support offered by their teams. Do not hesitate to ask questions on training, troubleshooting process, type of services provided, the SLA etc. Opt for a free demo or check customer reviews before purchasing the tool.

Germin8 Social Listening tool is one of the leading tools that have helped several companies to make sense of conversations about their brand, competitors, and the industry on social media.