When it comes to remaining relevant in the ever-changing online world of trending topics and memes, it’s hard to determine how your brand stands out among the competition.  How do you make sense of the virtual chatter? And what steps can you take to identify the key social conversations that can help you reach and meet your customer’s demands?

The key is a solid social listening program.

Start With Your Business Objectives
social listening for businessSocial listening is the practice of identifying and assessing conversations that contain keywords important to your business through the various channels of social networking.

Because conversations on the internet generates massive amounts of data, you should use your overall business object as the driving force behind your social listening plan. For example, if your underlying object is to generate leads, then your listening program should be built around listening for conversations about the problems you solve and the solutions that can help people with their business.

Another key objective might be awareness building. Listening for conversations and keywords being used to describe your solutions, or industry key terms will help you engage with people likely to be interested in your company. This brings us to a key point…

Listening vs Monitoring.
There is a common misconception that the terms are interchangeable. However, while both are important ideas, there are actual differences between the two concepts.

You listen to conversations.  You monitor people.

A listening program focuses on identifying keywords or themes that are going on online. This can be accomplished through tools such as Google Alerts or Twitter searches. This will help you recognize things such as tone or volume of discussions

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