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We often think of social media as a one-way process. It is, of course, an ideal way to target large numbers of potential customers with messages and content. And this is certainly an extremely valuable element of social media platforms. But it is also important to get feedback from social media platforms as well. Customers can provide vital information both deliberately and inadvertently via social media, and picking up on this should be considered essential for all brands and destinations.

Social listening is absolutely central to the social media experience, and there has been a huge amount of social listening technology produced in order to assist this process. Free options such as Google Alerts and Social Mention, to more robust platforms that organize conversations into smart dashboards or streams, such as Sprinklr, all have a role to play in assisting companies with this vital aspect of social media.

But although technology can play a serious role in this process, it is only as effective as any strategy involved in the process. Social listening should be specifically directed to achieve pre- defined business goals, with your approach to the process creating a better customer experience around your brand. Travel-related companies and destinations which mark themselves out as being more effective social listeners will appear more sympathetic and attractive to potential customers and people who are already fans of particular brands.

So here are ten tips for social listening on social media which all travel-related companies and destinations could benefit from.

1. The importance of competitive intelligence

The most successful brands in the social media sphere are utilising social listening in order to gain competitive intelligence. If inputs are measured stringently and a guiding strategy is put in place diligently then it is possible to produce a social listening strategy which provides a broad view of social media content. This can even reveal key aspects of your competitors’ tactics, activity, customer engagement, and overall sentiment.

2. Improving on marketing

Social listening can give your company the potential to truly understand marketing and advertising practices, as effectively it provides a captive audience who will share their opinions on almost anything. Tools such as Sprinklr can provide a massive insight into these preferences and communicate them to you directly, enabling you to get a handle on the best way to reach your customers with social media campaigns.

3. Eliminate problems

Social media can be an excellent way to pick up on particular problems. Unfortunately, these sometimes go viral before they can be dealt with satisfactorily. So paying very close attention to any issues and tidying them up as quickly as possible is to be recommended, and is an extremely valuable aspect of social listening.

4. Improve customer service

One of the primary aspects of social listening is providing better customer service to consumers. By listening to and learning from what customers actually want, or the frustrations with your particular business, you can provide an enhanced and appreciated customer service.

5. Find new customers

Social listening also enables you to identify new customers for the business. By utilising keywords and queries in an intelligent way it is possible to track conversations efficiently and identify new customers and demographics. Once this has been achieved, you can then promote your products via social media in a more active fashion.

6. Identify influencers

Keeping track of everyone who is talking about your brand on social media is extremely important, especially when it is particularly influential individuals. Social media provides an ideal platform to connect with these people if you listen to them effectively, helping you achieve both short and long-term goals.

7. Recruitment

Social media can also be utilised in order to recruit people to your business. Monitoring conversations, blogs and other communities online can provide an excellent opportunity to acquire vital talents and skills.

8. Innovation and Design

Social listening can also be utilised for research and development. It provides some businesses with the opportunity to eliminate, or at least streamline, their requirement for expensive studies and focus groups. Social media unquestionably has a massive role in R & D, and one that is based on affordability.

9. Content Marketing

It is easy to see content marketing on social media as a one-way process. But listening to conversations closely can help you identify the extent to which your marketing campaigns are having an effect. If you're serious about providing the best content to your audiences then social listening can enable you to interact with them in a much more sophisticated, efficient and appropriate fashion. Social listening should be a centrepiece of any content curation strategy.

10. Anticipate opportunities

There are all manner of opportunities out there which were impossible to identify and anticipate previously, but social listening has made this feasible. Listening programs will enable you to benefit from the mistakes of your rivals, and gain new customers into the bargain.

Paying heed to the ten steps listed here can really pay off, and enable you to utilise social media to its fullest potential.

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