Social listening is one of the most popular ways to get information about your customers and competitors. It provides quick access to data by monitoring social media sites for mentions and conversations about your company.
However, there are inherent limitations when using social listening, especially when evaluating data.
Here are the top reasons you should know.
Your company may not be visible.
Social listening isn’t for every company. Many businesses have a low volume of social mentions. As a result, it’s hard for social-listening tools to identify and track their online presence.
It may be suitable for a B2C brand’s social media approach. However, the same can’t be said for many B2B brands.
For example, millions of consumers love sharing opinions about beauty, food, and luxury products. Meanwhile, the conversations quiet down when it comes to software and technology, professional services, or industrial machinery.
To find your brand, social listening tools use keywords and hashtags. If your company has a common name, you might find your social listening feed full of unrelated mentions. For instance, imagine how difficult it is for a telecom company like “Globe” to find mentions about their brand compared to a brand like “Xerox.”
It works poorly outside western markets.
Most social-listening software is designed for the western market. It doesn’t track platforms predominantly used in Asia (e.g. WeChat and Line) or detect languages that use different alphabets. Furthermore, international brands might be drawn under the mention of their mother company, rendering it more difficult to have regional and local information.
Also, dark social platforms, like email, WhatsApp, and Snapchat, are not well-monitored by social listening. This is even though dark social is where most consumer discussions about your brand arise.
If you only focus on the traditional ‘Big 3’ social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), you’ll miss out on what’s being discussed.
The information is curated.
Most social media consumers create a highly curated image of themselves online. They tailor what they put out on social media to display their best versions. It is not only that today’s customers are more selective about what they share, but they are also more informed.
The younger generations have wised up to their deal with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. They know that brands are after their data. As a result, they are more likely to filter what they share online.
The information is not representative.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, only 1% of internet users actively engage in online communities. An astounding 90% are just passively lurking, with the remaining 9% participating.
The data only reflects a small portion of the population, focusing on social media mentions, public online posts, and articles. Accordingly, the collected data through social media is likely not representative of your audience.
What are social listening alternatives?
Our clients needed a new way to regularly listen to their market and customers. They needed to know what people were saying about their brand, products, and services.
Social listening tools were not enough, and traditional market research was too expensive to be relevant. They needed an easy way to track their brand and measure the success of their marketing campaigns.
We tried most of the solutions on the market and found that we were paying for services that took us a lot of time to set up and provide only limited results.
After a month of searching, we realized that no one else offered what we needed. This is why we, at Standard Insights created our own service.
Our Brand tracking solution gathers feedback from real people that are consuming your product or one of your competitors.
We built it to give marketers and strategists the information they need to carry out their operations without any hesitation.
It covers various metrics such as your brand health, the buyer profiles, and the journey of your customer but also the ones of your competitors (up to 10).
You can discover more benefits and metrics on our brand tracking page.
Social listening may fit companies with a high volume of online activity. However, the data collected is not enough—and often unpredictable and highly curated. These insights only represent popular public opinion and not private or personal ideas.
Surveying your customers and tracking internal metrics such as your sales and marketing performance is already a good start (if not mandatory). To go further, you can check our brand tracking service, which provides quality actionable information on your brands and competitors.