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There are many things that could make the life of a comms and marketing professional a little bit better, but one thing that would save a load of time and effort is being able to identify emerging trends with ease. There are so many benefits to having a finger on the pulse, including being able to better understand your community, engage more effectively with your citizens based on their actual needs and avoid the spread of misinformation in the moment! Whether you’re a local council being tagged in an MP’s latest tweet, or a train operating company whose latest price increases are causing ructions in the news, you can effortlessly listen in on the conversations across the web with a social listening  tool!

Social media listening tools allow you to build a solid understanding of exactly what the public think about your organisation by analysing what they’re saying on social channels and beyond. There’s also an opportunity to use the tools to benchmark your organisation against your peers by using the incredible sector research that’s readily available in real-time. Curious to know how you can adopt social listening as part of your comms and social strategy? Read on to discover more about this shiny gem…  

Table of Contents: 

👂What is social listening?

Social listening is all about data discovery and provides an opportunity to  hear from the masses.  

From blogs, forums and news articles, to conversations on social channels, you can listen across a myriad of platforms allowing you to keep an ear to the ground, so you can unearth new intelligence and make data-driven decisions.

Through social listening, you’re able to get valuable insights into how your community feels about your organisation and services, what their pain points are, and what they’d like to see from you in the future. But social listening isn’t just useful for tracking mentions about you! You can also use it to benchmark your social comms strategy by monitoring what other organisations in and out of your sector are doing, keeping an eye on trending content, and getting an in-depth understanding of public sentiment on topics related to you and your sector.

This insight can be used across the business to inform everything from your marketing and comms strategy to your customer service and support approach, helping you make smarter, data-driven decisions that will have a positive impact on your organisational objectives and, ultimately, the bottom line.

🔎What’s the difference between social listening and social monitoring?

While social media listening is a proactive way to track, analyse, and respond to online conversations, social media monitoring is more reactive.

Social monitoring, sometimes referred to as brand monitoring, looks at specific ‘brand’ mentions and sends alerts whenever your brand is mentioned online. It can be useful for quickly responding to any negative sentiment or complaints, but it doesn’t give you a big-picture view of what people are saying about your organisation or industry.

Social listening, on the other hand, gives you a complete overview of all online conversations related to your organisation, services or industry. This holistic approach provides valuable insights that can help you make strategic decisions about your marketing and social media strategy.

In short, if you want to stay on top of the latest trends and see what your citizens are saying about your organisations over time, you need a social listening strategy and the right tools to support you!

💪The 5 benefits of Social Listening for community engagement

If you’re not using social media listening, you may well be  creating your community engagement strategy with blinders on! Your citizens actively talk about your organisation, its services and the sector online, whether you’re listening or not, keeping an ear to the ground is in your best interests… 

Luckily, social listening is actually a form of community engagement. It’s an active engagement strategy and allows you to address the needs of the communities that you serve in real-time. Here are some of the ways in which social listening can benefit your community engagement: 

1. You’re able to understand your community

Social listening helps you better understand what citizens want from your organisation. For example, a citizen might tweet that they love how you brought the community together with the events you held during the King’s Coronation. Or you might spot a conversation where people are looking for help with a service you provide. 

In both cases, you can use this valuable feedback and insight to continue doing more of what your audience loves or improve your offering where you’re not quite hitting the mark, in turn boosting satisfaction.

2. You can benchmark against other organisations within the sector 

Social listening is more than just understanding what people are saying about you. You also want to know what’s being said about your peers, and the public sector in general, to see how you compare and  where you fit in community discussions. Social listening tools can also show you what other organisations are doing in real time. Are they launching a new service? Developing a better response approach to common queries? Maybe the conversations you find will reveal a gap in your strategy that you could further optimise. It’s also an opportunity to discover new opportunities and threats as they happen, allowing you to plan and respond on the fly! Which leads us nicely on to the next point…

3. Crisis management

Social listening allows you to track emotion and sentiment in real-time, so you can know right away if there’s a significant change in how much citizens are talking about you or the mood behind what they say. It’s like an early warning system that alerts you to positive and negative changes in how your organisation is perceived online. 

If you’re getting more engagement than usual, you can quickly look for the reasons behind it. Your community shares loads of helpful information about what they like and what they don’t and those insights can help guide your strategy across channels. 

If sentiment is negative, review your social listening streams for any clues that could help you identify the source of the change. While you’re at it, look for lessons that could prevent a similar misstep in the future. This can help you address PR disasters before they get out of hand.

4. Supports with building your organisation’s reputation

Through active social listening, you can also amplify the good stuff! There’s nothing better for your reputation than a glowing review, whether that’s a good news story on BBC News, a positive review on Trustpilot or a post from a citizen that’s raving about your services! Make the good stuff work ten times harder, by turning results from your listening streams into new content too.

5. Helps improve the experience you provide

Right person, right time! Some social listening tools can automatically detect, analyse and alert you to the interactions that need your team’s expertise .By automating this often time consuming process, you can drive internal efficiency and improve CX without even lifting a finger!

🏆Implementing a successful social listening strategy

As more people interact with brands on social media, developing a social listening strategy is key for companies that want to succeed. Here are a few things to consider when implementing your strategy. 

Understand the value of social listening – the more that you understand about how your organisation and services are perceived, the more value you can provide.

Define your goals – to create the best social listening strategy for your organisation, you need to choose the goals that you’re aiming to achieve. Chat to other departments about their challenges to determine the best goals to focus on with social listening.

Choose your channels of focus – a social media audit will help you figure out the channels that matter most for your organisation and have the most engagement, but also have a think about your demographic and where else they spend their time online. Are they heavy users of LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? Do they read national or regional publications? Do they tend to be a part of specific public forums? 

Use a social listening tool – organisations that are serious about gaining the most from their social listening strategy use tools that make it easier to manage. This is where Orlo’s Social Listening tool could help! Many of our customers are using our platform to strategically track keywords, sentiment, topics, mentions and conversations, and using the insight gleaned to create content that is meaningful and addresses the needs of the citizens they serve. The Orlo platform makes it easy for people across your organisation to have access to the data in one place. 

Create an engagement plan – when you have your goals, methods, and processes in place to track conversations, you’ll want to have a plan for responding and interacting on social media too. After all, it truly matters to your community when you engage in conversations with them or take action based on  their complaints.

Measure your results – define what metrics you want to track and analyse. These could include engagement, conversation volume, mentions, sentiment, and response time. By keeping tabs on your analytics you can adjust your efforts and provide the most value for citizens. 

🥉Choosing the right social listening tool for your organisation

Now you may be wondering: what are the best social media listening tools out there? Well excuse us while we do a little self promo…👀 If you work within the public sector and are looking for a tool that is optimised and continually updated based on the demands of the public sector, you need Orlo!

With Orlo, you have the power to easily monitor mentions, conversations, and topics of interest on social media and beyond. And within the same platform, you also have the necessary tools to manage day-to-day social interactions, publishing and engagement.

But what does that mean for you — the user? Well, you can manage your entire social strategy — from planning to sharing to analysing — all from one, centralised platform.

You can handle all of your social accounts from within Orlo, as well as easily use your data to create content and run social campaigns. You don’t need to worry about individual team members logging into social profiles to post content natively — rather, your team can collaborate from one secure platform, schedule posts weeks in advance, with a full audit trail to boot.

🌯Wrapping it up!

Remember, to get the most out of social listening you need to understand its value, especially when it comes to your community engagement strategy. It’s a fancy tool, but the true value comes when it’s utilised to create trust with your citizens, drive efficiency in your teams, influence key organisational objectives, understand community sentiment and, last but not least, drive developments and decisions that can make a real impact! 

Curious to find how Orlo’s Social Listening tool works? Find out more by booking a demo with us today! 

The Orlo team are all here to support you, with great tips, tricks and updates. Orlonians are a bunch of genuine people who work hard every day to support our customers in delivering the best possible customer experience through digital channels.