Ad agencies. Cradles of creativity, epicenters of innovation, and the birthplaces of social media listening.
That's right! Little known fact: some of the earliest social listening tools got their start at ad agencies. Take VML's SEER, for example.
But what started out as a tool to simply monitor when and where people were talking about their clients on the internet has evolved into something with many more use cases.
Let's take a look at 12 of the most impactful ways ad agencies can (and do) use social media listening to drive more business and create better results for their clients.
1 : Show me the money! New business pitches
Global account? New line of business? Rebranding? Whatever the RFP calls for, using a social media listening tool for prelimary research can get your team up to speed quickly and uncover insights you likely wouldn't find with other methods.
With fresh ideas and the data to back it up, your pitch will pack extra punch.
Use case in action: How Social Media Insights Helped Win Jaguar's Business
2 : Conducting brand audits (or how to even land the pitch in the first place)
No RFP? No problem. One incredibly fruitful tactic for getting a foot in the door is conducting and providing complimentary audits of brands' digital, social, and PR performance.
"Our team of awesome took a look at your earned media performance and had some suggestions on how we could make it better. When is a good date/time to talk?"
The Harvard Business Review has an excellent template and advice here: Conducting a Social Media Audit
3 : Strategic planning and recommendations
Where should we go from here? Is there a good market fit for our product/service? How should we approach different marketing channels? Should we be doing XYZed?
One of the most powerful and effective ways to keep any business competitive is to establish a constant knowledge loop of customer and market feedback that can be acted upon.
Social listening gives you the ability to analyze and interpret millions of conversations about your client's brands to propose effective strategies for retention, promotion, and growth.
4 : Audience analysis for ad targeting
Right channel, right message, right audience... well, you know the deal.
Knowing which tribes to target and how to communicate with them means driving higher CTRs and lower CPCs for your campaigns, resulting in greater impact and happier clients.
Social media research can not only help you uncover how target audiences talk, but also show you which audiences are most valuable to target in the first place.
5 : Uncovering social proof and direct testimonials
Social proof, one of the strongest methods of building trust and credibility, is incredibly easy to uncover using social listening searches that pinpoint exactly the right conversations with the desired attitudes or emotions about the exact attribute or product you're looking for.
You can use posts from social as the conceptual framework for a new campaign, or, as McDonald's agency did, build entire campaigns that feature direct quotes from customers taken from social.
6 : Real-time listening and command center displays
Real-time social media listening dashboards - they're sexy, they're cool, and if done properly, they can actually be useful.
These are a great way not only to track and measure the impact of your work as consumers are responding, but also to showcase your agency's efforts to your clients.
Want to see an example? Check this out: Super Bowl 50 Real-Time Social Media Scoreboard of the Top 10 Ads
7 : Earned media reporting
Get a clear view of how your agency's campaigns are performing outside of your client's owned channels.
Are people talking about the new mascot for the brand? Are they mentioning Justin Bieber's cameo in the commercial for your client's new signature poutine dish? Do they like it, love it, or talk about buying it?
8 : Buyer persona research and development
Who is this campaign/product/packaging/channel actually speaking to? This is a pivotal question at the center of nearly every marketing and advertising effort.
Social listening can round out buyer persona research and development by helping define:
- Persona affinity for your client's brand and their affinity for your client's competitors
- What key topics specific personas discuss most often
- What websites each persona discusses and shares
9 : Category and industry analysis
Is you client's brand a bellweather or a laggard? What does customer satisfaction, passion, or share-of-voice look like for your client compared to competitors and the baseline for the industry?
Often, metrics and information without context or any source for comparison are meaningless.
By using social listening metrics as benchmarks to compare your clients to their direct competitors and their industry as a whole, you can gain a much clearer understanding of their market position at any moment in today's rapidly changing business environment.
10 : Spying on your client's (and your) competitors
What do your client's competitors' brand advocates love about them? How is their counter-response to your new campaign being received? How are your competitors leveraging social for their clients and how is it working?
Listen. Discover. Plan. Improve.
11 : Trend identification and analysis
What are the macrotrends affecting an entire industry or category? Are consumers really moved by industry initiatives to serve only non-GMO foods?
Is it smart or even necessary to advise your clients to capitalize on the trend? Should they stay away?
One of the most valuable ways to leverage social listening technology is to identify trends and figure out how they're shaping consumer perceptions and behavior.
By testing hypotheses using social media research you can uncover what course of action would be best for your client given specific trends.
12 : New product launch planning
What features and product attributes are consumers most interested in? From the category? From your client's brand? From your client's competitors?
Analysis of social conversations can help you create stronger product launch campaigns that focus on the most important features and benefits as demanded by the very people the product is aimed to serve.