So, you’re looking into social listening and intelligence for your brand, agency or business?
We like your thinking. Getting to know and understand your audiences, customers, fans, consumers and competitors will be an essential part of your efforts.
Before you proceed with committing to a platform, it’s important you take under account the different types of tools, their offerings and what makes some stand out over others. Now, obviously, we have a favorite. But we’ll leave it to you to decide which you go with. Just make sure the one you sign up for has these elements we’re discussing here.
There are a few hallmarks of a high-quality SaaS platform that you’ll want to keep under consideration when evaluating social listening tools, including simplicity, speed and quality results.
But what you want is a superior platform, not just a good one.
So, below we’ve provided you with the official social listening tools checklist, a curated list of must-haves within any tool you’re looking into. If someone is selling you a cure-all but you don’t see some of these items available in their platform, you’re better off finding something that gives you the most bang for your buck.
Here is your social listening checklist:
1.Large data set
There is a crucial rule to live by: the larger the data set, the more you can learn about your audience. If you are making business decisions based on consumer thoughts and sentiment, you have to use quantities that are statistically significant and you need large quantities of data to get you there. Choose a tool that offers information from all over the web, dating far back historically, with high post volumes and multiple sources. With billions of conversations happening online, you can’t afford to miss out on crucial data points and audience analysis for your brand or business.
2. Historical data
Speaking of larger datasets, the information you collect should be flexible enough to reach any point in time going back to the early days of the social web. Some platforms only go back a year, others go back a decade. By being able to choose any time frame going back that far historically, you can vastly improve your research capabilities and get specific about the data you’re looking for.
3. Consumer data from more than just social channels
Too many social listening programs rely heavily, or exclusively, on the data derived just from social media channels like Twitter. You shouldn’t limit your team to data only from these sources. Instead, go for a tool that mines the billions of conversations across the internet and get a larger sample size of unsolicited thoughts, feelings and emotions of audiences everywhere. When you are evaluating tools, be sure to have conversations with vendors to understand where they get data to analyze and how they get that data. It is important you don’t get skewed or inaccurate results because your originating data has bias.
4. Audience interests
The importance of better understanding your audiences and customers can not be overstated. When building your buyer personas, you’ll need to include who your ideal customers are and what they are interested in and passionate about. Some social listening platforms are able to cross-reference people’s interests in topics and lifestyle factors to analyze your brand or business based on those interests. By tapping into audience interests data, you will be able to better engage with, get your message to and target your specific audiences.
5. Filtered results by segment
The best analytics platforms can give you complete control over how you refine your research and filter your results. The more flexible the platform to the targeting you’re interested in, the better you’ll be able to improve and implement your strategies. Narrow your search by demographic, age-range, company, brand, personality and topics of interest. Choose tools that enable you to get as broad or specific as you’d like within your search.
6. Actionable insights
You don’t just need numbers, you need understanding. These tools provide actionable insights that help you make sense of the wild world of metrics and understand who your audiences and customers are. They also provide helpful guides, tips within their interface and personal support for you and your team. Make sure you’re never left in the dark to interpret the results without such insight.
7. Fast speeds
Why wait around for your search results? The best social listening and intelligence analysis gets you answers fast. With speedy and accurate results, your team of analysts, strategists and researchers will be able to make their processes more efficient and utilize the information on consumers and audience segments more flexibly. Make sure you’re not compromising on speed for quality.
8. Easy user experience
There’s no doubt when it comes to marketing technology: the easier the better. What you need from a social listening platform is a tool that’s simple to use and understand. Steer clear of tools that make it difficult to navigate their interface or to understand the results you’re getting. What you want is a user experience where it’s easy to learn the program and onboard the other members of your team.
9. No limits on the amount of data you query
Your platform shouldn’t have red tape that keeps you from utilizing all of its capabilities. Choose a tool that gives you unlimited searches, at a fixed rate. If you sign on with a social intelligence platform, you’re being given a powerful tool in helping you achieve your goals and you shouldn’t feel limited once you’ve made that commitment.
Next time you’re evaluating a new social listening tool, cross reference them with this checklist and never settle for a standard dashboard that doesn’t come without these perks.
Believe it or not, there’s a social listening tool that checks all the boxes. To get a customized demo of the platform that meets all of these requirements: click here.