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Social Listening: How To Build Your Brand Online

Facebook may have changed the rules for brands in newsfeeds, but with some clever eaves-dropping you can still win the game.

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Facebook may have changed the rules for brands in newsfeeds, but with some clever eaves-dropping you can still win the game.

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Social Listening: How To Build Your Brand Online

Facebook may have changed the rules for brands in newsfeeds, but with some clever eaves-dropping you can still win the game.

Share this article

Facebook stunned the world in January when it announced it would be making major changes to the news feed and showing people fewer branded posts, whether they were paid for or not. Its share price wobbled as a result.

The news will have been a blow for any company, but especially small ones using Facebook to reach its customers and entice new ones – after all, when you’re trying to grow your business, social media is a very powerful digital marketing channel and can contribute hugely to getting your brand noticed.

You only have to look to big brands to see how important Facebook has been to getting marketing campaigns out to the masses.

Though Facebook will make changes that are going to make life a little tougher for marketers, we shouldn’t panic just yet. If you have the right basics in place you can swerve this change and actually turn it to your advantage. You just have to learn the right tricks to use from the big guys. The biggest of all being the art of listening.

When you use this technique to find out what your customers want and where they are, you can be savvier about how you build your brand. In fact, you may find Facebook wasn’t the best place to be anyway, and it’s better to put more effort into other platforms like Twitter or Pinterest.

Showing your human side

But what does it mean to listen to your customers? Social listening is the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online.

Take Purina: it has done this brilliantly. The pet food brand used research and social listening to establish the things pet lovers cared most about.

It was a powerful thing to do because, in such a highly competitive market, it gave them the clues as to how they could make themselves relevant to existing customers and potential ones. Ultimately, what it learnt, helped it to reach out to its audience directly and show that it was a real, human brand that understood them.

How? It used the insight gathered to create powerful content, which was used and tweeted directly to people in relevant conversations – for instance when someone shared on Twitter that is was its dog’s birthday it replied to say ‘Happy Birthday’ in dog years.

It understood what made pet owners happy and used this to create a very visual campaign, one people wanted to share. This is what helped to make it so successful, especially on Twitter.

dog

Set clear objectives

When you use any kind of insight from social listening to create campaigns, it’s vital to set clear goals as to what you want to achieve.

This is exactly what Ikea did when it planned its Game of Thrones campaign, with the objective to reach as many people as possible and to generate lots of engagement and awareness of its rugs. A simple goal.

After news reports emerged that Game of Thrones’ costumer designers used Ikea rugs as costumes for the famous Night-watch, Ikea decided to jump on this free publicity.

Any business can do this by using Google Alerts to monitor important terms and jump on relevant trends. It’s easy to do and can trigger some clever ideas.

This campaign was low cost and extremely effective. They first identified shop floor workers who looked like the Game of Thrones cast. They then dressed them in the sheepskin rugs.

Ahead of a Game of Thrones episode, the images were posted to Ikea social media platforms. These posts not only generated a huge amount of social engagement for Ikea but it’s reported that it also increased sales of one particular rug by 775%.

They created viral content with this campaign, which lead to customers taking their own ‘Game of Thrones Rug-selfies’ in store.

Monitor Industry Conversations

As well as keeping an eye on the news, it’s important to monitor important keywords and hashtags in your industry. These should include those used by competitors. You can then track and listen to the conversations related to these hashtags.

This is exactly the tactic that American waffle brand Eggo used with its Stranger Things campaign.

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Social Listening: How To Build Your Brand Online

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