One of the most important aspects of business, inside and outside of social media, is your brand’s reputation. If you can’t maintain an upstanding reputation, then the whole house of cards will fall.
True, there will always be haters. There will also always be brand ambassadors, if you know what you’re doing and are offering a great product or service. This is where social media listening comes in — monitoring what people are saying, good or bad, about your brand. You can do this through various marketing automation tools, or you can hire actual people to sift through the tons of human data flowing over onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and any other social platform out there.
Just remember — never limit your social listening to just Facebook. Yes, given the stats, it might be tempting to do that. But while Facebook boasts ~2,167,000,000 users, there are a total of ~3,595,000,000 on the next several most popular platforms (popular in the U.S.) combined. And given the recent issues regarding Facebook algorithms facilitating not only consumer advertising but certain political agendas, many experts agree that it’s wise to diversify your social listening across various platforms to truly hear what is in the best interests of you and your clients, current and potential.
Facebook can be outright brand-hostile.
According to Corbyn Hanson Wittig, marketing strategist and writer for PlannThat.com, company leaders need to consider where their audience is talking about them or about their industry — and Facebook isn’t necessarily where they can find this.
“You don’t need to be @tagged to join a conversation,” she says. “Facebook incidentally isn’t even good for this, because it’s actively brand-hostile. People don’t go to Facebook to discover new things or have conversations with new people. There are some outliers, like Groups, but they’re the exception — not the rule.”
Consider any other social network, and how people use it, she adds.
“Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter,” she says. “People go on Instagram for example, explicitly to discover new content and new people. The same is true for Twitter. Twitter, unlike the other two, actively facilitates conversation between strangers, brands and customers.”
It is simply harder to engage consumers on Facebook than other networks.
Facebook provides only a portion of consumer social data that is available for businesses to qualify potential leads, and it also has barriers and restrictions on consumer posts that limit the ability of automated engagement.
Curtis Boyd, CEO and founder of online reputation management company Future Solutions Media, says that these barriers to effective social listening include privacy settings and the ability for group administrators to approve or deny user entry.
“Listening to Facebook for potential leads isn’t the issue, it’s connecting with the person that said something relevant,” he says. “If a post is made publicly, you can automatically respond to the post directly, but much of Facebook’s content is not public, as many users settings are set to private in some way. With Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin, software can automatically respond to any post at any time. You don’t need to be friends, previously connected or worry about security settings. You can also include @handles that will absolutely notify the user for better engagement. That means that for every trigger there is, we can connect each and every time for better engagement.”
Facebook has limited professional reach.
This year, Facebook prioritised friends and family posts over business page posts, which has made it difficult for brands to reach people on Facebook via organic news feeds, but both Twitter and LinkedIn attract a high-value business-to-business audience.
“This might result in less traffic but yields a higher return on investment,” says Terese Kerrigan, director of marketing communications at FreightCenter.com.
Shelby Rogers, content marketing strategist at Solodev.com, agrees, saying that LinkedIn and Twitter allow for the most accurate input from social media listening.
“The professional nature of LinkedIn often inspires more thoughtful criticism and feedback,” she says. “Twitter serves as an excellent platform for businesses to get as close to real-time response to their company as possible. And Twitter engagements are often considerably shorter than those on Facebook. While social media marketers might have to pay closer attention to Twitter due to the fast nature of the feed, it’ll give them a better understanding of real feedback related to the product and also a faster recovery time.”
Limited your social listening to Facebook is like hearing only half of a conversation.
Back in the day, customers and marketers were limited to — gasp! — speaking to each other in person or on the phone to sort out whatever they had to sort out. So imagine how ineffective that transaction would be if one of the two decided to hit the mute button mid-conversation.
“Limiting social media listening to only one channel is like listening to half of a conversation – you miss out on critical information,” says Nick Bell, vice president of marketing, communications and content at Cision. “When developing an effective social media strategy, brands need to understand who their audience is, which social media channels they use, and engage in active listening across all relevant channels of engagement. If done right, social listening will inform strategic and tactical decision making. When you have a holistic view of what people are saying about your brand, you can craft stronger communications with messages that resonate with key audiences.”
Companies are out there to help you diversify your social media listening. Narrow.io, for example, provides tools specifically to grow your Twitter network. SentiOne.com can help you with online insights and audience engagements across the social board. And then there is always HootSuite to allow you to see all of your social engagement on a dashboard playing out in real time.
Remember, social listening automation, whether on Facebook or more effective platforms, is great — but there’s still nothing like the real thing.
“Too much automation can mean limited social media listening, and this is also a mistake,” says Gabby Green, social media manager for Jive Communications. “By sacrificing the human side of social engagement, you also sacrifice the trust of your audience and customers, as you can’t interact with them on a personal level. So while automation is essential, you still need to allow room for listening and a genuine human touch.”