If you’re an online publisher losing readership or finding it hard to scale your audience, this is for you – social listening for publishers.
The online publishing industry is exploding like wildfires. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of publishing sites, types of content, and platforms to publish on.
Digital publishing is no longer a space only for the big players. Smaller companies, start-ups, and individuals, too, have taken online engagement by a storm.
Consider this – the global digital publishing market size is expected to reach $68.81 billion by 2026, from $41 billion in 2022.
For publishers, such growth means there’s an increasing amount of competition to get their content noticed and build readership.
Digital marketers know how big a challenge it is.
And that’s where social listening can do wonders for publishers.
What is social listening?
Social listening is the process of tracking, monitoring, and analyzing social media mentions, conversations, and trends that are relevant to you, your brand, the industry you are in or even your competitors.
If you’re new to social listening and want to learn more about it, read this guide: Complete guide to understanding social listening.
Now let’s get into the specifics of how social listening can help content publishers rise to the next level.
How to use social listening for publishers to stay ahead in your game
1. Catch up with trending topics
One of the best ways to engage your audience on social media is to combine trending topics with your content and social media calendar.
The fact is, not all of your content is going to be great and catchy. Nor does all your content have to be around current events. That’s where trending topics strategically help you improve engagement.
Believe it or not, content around trending topics can help you accumulate traffic and links for months after you publish your content. Consider the numbers in the below graph:
Having a social listening strategy can help you stay abreast with trending topics in different audience segments. Trend research can help you uncover topics that your target audience is interested in and talking about.
For example, you could collect information about what your target audience is talking about on different social media platforms, what kind of conversations they are having around your brand or industry, etc.
You can create content around trending topics and combine it with your content strategy and calendar to see instant results.
Here are a few ways in which you can utilize information about the trends you uncover:
- Identify topics that are most relevant and interesting to your target audience
- Create useful and engaging content around the topics and trends
- Identify the best channels to share and promote your content
- Identify keywords and hashtags used by your target audience and incorporate those in your content
2. Identify what your audience ‘cares’ about
Imagine you publish a video and it goes viral. It’s getting a lot of shares and comments. But here’s the thing – just because it’s getting traction doesn’t mean it’s always good news. It’s possible that your video is getting negative comments.
Hence, to understand your audiences’ sentiments about your content, you need social listening with sentiment analysis.
Sentiment analysis helps gain a deeper understanding of how people ‘feel’ about your content. Are they appreciating it, criticizing it, talking about it in a positive way, etc.
Sentiment analysis helps you:
- Understand what your audience cares about
- Spot a crisis and make amends early on
- Understand where you stand in your niche
- Know the overall perception of your content/ brand
Sentiment analysis is especially helpful when your content success depends on audience sentiment. For example, when running political campaigns or content around a sensitive topic.
In short, to dig deeper into your audience, you need to raise your emotional quotient. And sentiment analysis can help you do that.
3. Join relevant conversations
Social media is a sea of possibilities. Your target audience might be spread across this sea – on different platforms, in different niche groups, etc.
And a key part of getting readership is to identify conversations where you can plug your content.
Whether it’s a Twitter thread, a question on Quora, a conversation on Reddit, a niche group on Facebook, etc., social listening strategy can help you find where conversations relevant to your brand are taking place.
Then, based on your discoveries, you can plug your content on these platforms and in specific conversations to get more readers.
Social listening can help you plug content in real-time, as conversations happen. For example, you can monitor:
- Direct mentions of your brand/ content
- Conversations between your customers
- Questions asked about your brand/ content
- In conversations where your competitors’ are mentioned
4. Find influencers
Influencers are people who have a strong following on social media platforms. They promote other brands and help them grow their (other brands) followers as well.
Studies show that 89% of marketers say the ROI from influencer marketing is better than other forms of marketing.
Influencers can help you reach more people and build better readerships.
But finding the right influencers is critical. Not just that, as a publisher, you should also consistently find new influencers to increase their readership. If you collaborate with the same influencer, your readership growth rate would become slow after a point.
But finding the right influencer is often the most difficult part of running an influencer campaign. So how exactly should you find these influencers?
Social listening can help you find influencers.
You can identify key influencers relevant to your industry, brand, or content with the help of a well planned social listening strategy. Here’s how:
- Use social listening to look for people who are already talking about your brand/ content. These could be your brand ambassadors. These people already like your content and are talking about it. So why not bring them onboard as influencers? Their audience is definitely different from yours. This means you can expand into new markets.
- Listen to brand mentions. You can set alerts for your site name, your brand name, and other branded keywords. Now, not all mentions would be positive. So here’s what you can do – when you find mentions with negative comments, address those concerns publicly. And when you find positive comments, it’s an opportunity for you to find new influencers. Look for people who have a good enough following and collaborate with them.
- Another way to find relevant influencers is by listening to your competitors’ mentions on social platforms. It’s possible that influencers don’t know about your brand but they do know your competitors. And that they’re simply interested in your niche or industry. Reach out to these influencers for collaboration.
5. Find new markets
Readership can get exhausted and saturated after a certain point. To overcome this saturation, publishers need to expand their geographic markets.
One of the best ways to do so is through social listening. Here’s how it works:
To find new markets, it’s important for you to know where people are talking about you.
For example, if you publish in Germany and find people are talking about you in India, on Indian sites, you could explore the Indian market for publishing.
You could adapt your content, language, advertising and SEO efforts to cater to the Indian market where people are already talking about you.
Another way you can find new markets is by listening to topics and themes that are trending.
For example, say you’re publishing in the US. There’s a new topic that’s trending there. You could find countries where there’s demand for that topic but lack of content and start publishing in those countries.
6. Respond to your readers
As we know by now, social listening, for publishers, is an excellent tool to spot any conversation that mentions you. To keep your audience engaged, it’s important to respond to them when they mention your name, tag you, talk about you, ask questions to you on social platforms, etc.
And there are many ways to respond to them and engage them. Here are some ways:
- Like their posts and comments that mention you
- Share their posts and comments that talk about you
- If it’s a positive comment, thank them
- If it’s a negative comment, address their concern
- Cross-share readers’ opinions and comments from one platform onto the other
Here’s an example of how one brand responded to their audience through social listening:
Starface is a beauty brand. Through social listening, they came across a customer who had posted a TikTok video of herself using their product. But the customer hadn’t tagged Starface.
Starface reposted her video on Instagram. In this case, it’s possible that the girl shared the reshared post on Instagram with her friends and Starface got new followers and likes on their content.
If you are a publisher, it’s time to use social listening!
Online content is nothing less than a universe. It keeps getting crazier and more complex day by day. And there’s no playbook that you as a publisher can follow because of the rate at which it keeps evolving.
This is where social listening comes in. And now you know how to use social listening.
No matter your industry type or the platforms you use to publish, social listening can help you stay ahead in the game – cut through the noise; reach your audience; give them what they care about; at the right time; on the right channel.
Explore social listening for publishers. Book a demo of Radarr today!