Social Listening – Learn from an Expert
Investor Relations firms are considered to be a median between companies and investors. If you are subscribed to our investor marketing blog you should be perfectly aware by now how to expand your company’s digital footprint and how to build a consistent newsflow for your shareholders.
However the work isn’t done yet. In addition to sharing your company’s news across key channels, you also need to monitor what investors are saying about your company in order to know your target audience and support important business decisions. One way to collect timely information and sentiment from your investors is to implement social listening.
Let’s start by defining what Social Listening is. Social listening is the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for any customer/investor feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by analysis to gain insights and act on the opportunities that are uncovered.
To gain more insight into why social listening is important for investor marketing, we talked to the Plexus Media social listening guru to see what insights she might have for us.
Q: Why is social listening important for pre-IPO or publicly traded companies?
A: Social listening is an important factor for any sophisticated digital marketing campaign, including investor marketing. Understanding the conversations that investors are having about your company is a critical step to long-term success. Let’s be clear, here–these conversations are happening even when you’re not listening! So it’s a major advantage to have an ear to the ground, and be able to respond–either directly within the conversation, or indirectly with strategic press releases and content.
Q: Let’s talk about analysis — How can social listening help a company better understand their strengths and weaknesses?
A: When we’re thinking about retail investors and day traders, we’re really talking about individuals who put a lot of time and energy into making investment decisions based on their impression of various companies, their services, and their products. By tuning in to the conversations this audience is having, you can also analyse what your company’s perceived strengths and perceived weaknesses are. If the conversations happening are negative, you’ll want to address it. Sometimes, addressing it means providing more information to your potential investors or mobilizing your IR team to reach out; sometimes, it means an actual adjustment in your operations. Either way, social listening can help you tap into what’s going well and what’s not for your stock story, and meet the needs of investors.
Q: Can social listening inform companies about stock dips or gains?
A: Advanced social listening analytics do let you look back and tap into conversations happening at specific stretches of time, and can provide some insights about sentiment (positive or negative). This information might give you some intel into stock fluctuations. If the stock was skyrocketing, social listening lets you check in on the major positive points being discussed, the content being shared, the exposure and reach of conversations, and so on. Alternatively, if the stock has dropped, you can see if the conversations right before that might give some insight into why investors sold. In real time, if you’re keeping up with social listening, your IR team can respond to investors’ concerns as questions arise to keep a loyal and trustful relationship, and ultimately keep your investor base motivated to “go long”.
Q: What is the most valuable result of employing social listening as a tactic?
A: In a word: Feedback. The aim of social listening is to gather information about organic, free-range conversations happening on social media, in investor forums, across websites, podcasts, really anywhere in the digital ecosystem. It’s not conventional feedback, where one of your investors actually calls you to air their complaints. And ultimately you want both: The crafted feedback, and the organic feedback. Feedback is critical in any industry. Whether your focus is clients or shareholders, you should take their input into consideration. You can get a sense of what demonstrates a success to potential investors, and what demonstrates a challenge. Investor marketing teams develop successful strategies when they know what the audience is expecting.
Q: In addition to that most valuable result, what are some other benefits companies can gain from social listening?
A: You can pull a lot of great information from social listening. For example, your marketing team can collect insights into what keywords are being used surrounding your business and your industry, which can help you communicate more clearly, optimize your website’s SEO, or add strategic hashtags to your social posts. With our Chatter program, we’ve pinpointed thought leaders who are influencing audiences on the topic of a specific company, watch their movements, and respond in a timely manner to keep the sentiment positive. You can find blind spots, too: Why aren’t we being discussed on YouTube? Maybe you can build that into your media outreach strategy to hit new audiences, and draw new blood to your investor base. It’s a really exciting tactic with far-reaching possibilities.
Q: Any final words for our readers?
A: Don’t underestimate your audience, they are a vital part of your business’ success. Listen, and take them seriously! We had this thought in mind when we created Chatter, our online social monitoring program. Not only do we keep an eye on what people are saying about your company across key social media platforms and financial forums, and engage those conversations with approved responses from your company, we also compile our monitored data into a comprehensive report of social activity and social engagement. This report is then translated into investor leads, company recognition, and impressions that your business can use to keep a pulse on your reputation and expand market share. It pays to listen, and we want to demonstrate that with this program.