A Computer With Messages Popping Out of It.

Topic-Based Social Listening Hears What Your Audience Really Wants

The average American is inundated with thousands of ads, posts, Reels and notifications every day — it can be information overload. So how does your company’s social post about nutritious pet food or cutting-edge ag technology make it through the clutter to reach your target demographic?

Bust Out Your Toolbox

Social listening tools can sift through millions of messages to help you understand what individuals actually want to see as they scroll across their favorite platform. This knowledge allows you to tailor your social posts for the audience, putting your company’s information out there but in a way that aligns with timely trends and targets the right people. A way to smash through the clutter!

If you read our previous post on social listening, you’re already familiar with the L.I.S.T.E.N. framework to build a long-term plan for success. But we can take it even further and use social listening to provide insight on specific topics to tap into the concerns, trends, questions, etc. your audience is having in real time. This is called topic-based social listening.

To provide an example of topic-based social listening, let’s say you own an agrochemical company that specializes in solutions for corn growers. “It’s corn!” has been trending for several weeks during 2022, but what else are growers, retailers, media and competitors talking about specific to corn? And how are those messages being received on social media?

Sifting through the social listening results, you begin seeing growers mention that corn rootworms are wreaking havoc on their fields. The messages are receiving traction as folks discuss potential solutions and reach out to one another for updates.

As you’re looking at these messages, you realize that not only do you have the answers to their questions, but you also have the right solutions for growers to use on their fields. You begin to map out the states you’re seeing corn rootworm mentions and work with team members in those states to start a campaign on corn rootworm solutions and best practices.

Next, you begin working with team agronomists to map out states that will likely be affected in the future to give growers a head start on protecting their fields. And you spread the word, data and projections through social media outlets with appropriate trending keywords or hashtags. This one lead discovered through social listening can lend itself to a myriad of marketing possibilities to reach your consumers when and where they need your products most.

Before we can get to those end products, though, we need to highlight helpful pointers for achieving optimal results.

Keywords and Hashtags

When setting up your search criteria, social listening platforms should have an “include” list to add keywords and hashtags relevant to your topic. They should also have an “exclude” list to add keywords and hashtags irrelevant to your search.

Once you’ve established keywords and hashtags you know are associated with the topic, add them to the social listening criteria. This is your base to start with. Note that the topic you’re listening to is evolving alongside trends or issues as your audience experiences them. By monitoring social listening at least once a week, you’ll be able to quickly react to hashtags or keywords that are trending and align with your brand.

For example, you may have #Corn and #CornField as two of the original hashtags. As fall approaches, you start to notice #CornHarvest is showing up alongside any mention of #Corn. In addition, you notice #CandyCorn begins popping up in your search.

You’ll want to add #CornHarvest to your include list and exclude #CandyCorn to make sure your results continue to stay relevant.

Next, ask yourself if there is a way you can incorporate #CornHarvest into an upcoming post. Are there products or best practices you can recommend that growers consider for next year as they’re evaluating this year’s harvest? Now is your time to create such a post and add that trending hashtag. Your tweet, Facebook post and/or LinkedIn post will now be visible to anyone searching for #CornHarvest.

Remember, just because something is trending does not mean you need to put it in future posts. You know your brand best, and if #CandyCorn has nothing to do with what you’re marketing, do not include it.

Geographies and Themes

Knowing your topic is great, but how do you know it’s pertinent to where you are? You can narrow your topic search to a specific country and province(s) or state(s). Say your company only sells products in North Dakota, Nebraska and Georgia. You can fine-tune your social listening tool and see messages that mention those states.

From there, you might notice growers in North Dakota are battling certain pest pressures and farmers in Nebraska are enduring a catastrophic drought.

Does your company offer solutions or best practices to alleviate the stresses you see trending? If your team offers solutions or suggestions for these challenges, you can tap into that with your messaging.

If you don’t offer the right solutions at this moment, maybe this opens up a larger conversation with your team on how to help your audience moving forward. A win-win due to social listening!

Create Collaborations

Social listening can expand and leverage the right partnerships for your company. No matter what industry you’re in, today’s influencers and potential collaborators may not be the same six months from now. It’s one of the many reasons social listening year-round is beneficial for your team.

Reach out to a company or influencer you see frequently within your results to collaborate on ways you can work together. These conversations could lead to Facebook Live discussions, a TikTok video walking through the benefits of your products and so much more.

Not only could this move increase your reach, but it could provide additional ways to engage with potential customers.

Thought Leadership Makes Them Hear

Social listening can highlight breaking news or the latest tips in the industry in real time. Monitor your results at least once a week to create social posts or share articles as soon as something starts trending.

Adding posts to your lineup that are not all about your products or services nicely aligns with the 80 percent of the 80/20 social media rule: try to balance posts between 80 percent useful information to your audience and 20 percent explicit promotion of your product or service. You don’t log on to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok or Instagram just to look at ads — and neither does your audience.

Build your credibility by being a thought leader. Disseminate those timely finds and create a sustainable relationship with your demographic to drive those sales home.

Start Listening Today

We see those wheels turning. You’re visualizing how social listening can help you really hear your audience. So now it’s time for the big question. Are you ready to start uncovering all that untapped potential?

Our Woodruff team is a phone call or email away — ready to strategize on how to best use topic-based social listening to reach your company’s goals. Contact us today to chat.

After all, we’re listening.