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3 tips for social listening for international marketers

Social listening offers businesses the opportunity to understand the needs of their audience by listening to conversations happening online around their industry.

Conducting social listening can be a great starting point for global brands engaging in international digital marketing, but it needs to be done right.

To help with that, I have written a full-length guide explaining how international marketers should go about doing social listening and integrating these insights into a successful marketing strategy.

This blog post will pick out three of the tips given in the guide, to give you a head-start in your social listening activities. Let’s dive in!

1. Set up social listening with the right keywords and topics

When setting up your social listening campaign, make sure to choose the most relevant keywords for your brand.Start by looking at your brand terms, a specific product or solution that you sell, your competitors and so on.

You can also look at terms that are loosely related to your brand, but are not necessarily an obvious match. This could be something that is related to your industry, or an event that is happening that your brand might relate to and might resonate with your audience.

Here is an example of a brand that did this quite successfully:

Here, you can see that KFC clearly tracked the keyword “gravy”, which is loosely related to it. Just by doing that, it got high levels of reach, reaction and engagement. It also allowed KFC to show the personal side of its brand and add an element of humour, which is important on social media.

Narrow down your search by filtering your results.This is applicable to countries, so if your audience is primarily based in Italy, for example, you might not want to do social listening in the rest of the world. Instead, you might want to specifically focus on the appropriate country or language to make sure you are only analysing those insights and conversations that are most relevant to your brand.

You could also look at it from an industry perspective, to make sure you are targeting the most relevant languages for your industry. For example, if you are in the technology or gaming sectors, it may be that languages like English, Chinese or Japanese are the predominant languages that relevant online conversations are happening in, rather than other languages that your business operates in.

It could be worth conducting some initial research to make sure that you are focusing on only the most appropriate languages, so that you do not have to spend a lot of time filtering through irrelevant results in irrelevant languages.

3. Keep an eye on sentiment over time

Sentiment refers to the mood of posts and can be either positive, negative or neutral. It is a good idea to look at how much positive and negative sentiment you have, and whether it changes over time. If you see positive sentiment go up, see if it is correlated with a product launch, a marketing campaign, or some positive press coverage. Equally, if negative sentiment goes up, it could indicate a reputational crisis or a complaint gone viral.

Whatever the change might be, tracking sentiment through social listening is a good way of finding out about it. Sometimes, this will help you to spot an issue before you have seen it elsewhere. This can enable you to react quickly to resolve the problem, which is obviously key in good customer service. Likewise, it is useful to know if you have a big spike in positive sentiment, because this can tell you that whatever you are doing is working, which can help you to get buy-in from the business if you want to continue a similar activity.

Want to learn more?

I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to social listening. For more in-depth information and advice, read my full-length guide here! From reading this guide, you will learn:

  • How to set up social listening
  • 11 tips for successful social listening
  • Some of the most popular social listening platforms
  • Key metrics for success
  • How to integrate social listening insights into a successful marketing strategy
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Anna Milburn

Head of Business Solutions at Webcertain
Anna is passionate about building long-term strategic partnerships with clients through advising and consulting. With extensive experience in dealing with complex international digital projects, she enjoys applying her diverse skillset and identifying the best solution for global brands. Familiar with a variety of industries, including travel, education, manufacturing and technology, and a wide range of digital channels, Anna ensures that all clients’ international digital strategies are appropriately adapted to each target market. Having a strong academic background, Anna holds a degree in English & German Philology, a Business degree, and a Law degree.

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