The art of social listening: Going beyond data towards meaning and context
There are conversations happening all around us. Obviously, the most easily accessible conversations are the ones that are on your smart phone. I mean, I am talking about the one that is happening on your popular social media app.
Having said that, listening to conversations are an important life skill. They help us to understand the world, understand others and build relationships. Listening is also an important attention building skill.
This time around, our attention is drawn towards a new type of listening which has surfaced in the recent years. This is “Listening to social media”. Within the industry circles, this is known as ‘social listening’ by some social media experts.
It is about making meaning and making the right response of your online social media conversations.
Social listening is all about gaining insight about yourself, your brand, your company and your products and services by listening to online conversations that happen on social media channels.
But then, for the common man the word ‘social listening’ will always mean: listening to others (the medium could be anything!) and being good and kind to others.
Exploring further on the business side, companies have begun to realize the importance of listening to social conversations online for understanding the customers. After all, “Understanding the customers thought and intention” has always been the holy grail of business.
This importance was captured well in an article from Harvard Business review titled ““How to get more out of social media-think like an anthropologist”. Click here for the article.
The article talks about how data managers and data scientists should jettison the traditional methods of analyzing data and look at finding meaning and understanding the context of online social conversations. Understanding the background and culture of the people involved in the conversations, also makes right sense.
It is only through understanding the context of the conversation that we begin to gain insight. A more qualitative analysis is required rather than a quantitative one. Context in an online conversation answers some most important questions such as “Who said it?”, “What is being said”, “What are the challenges?” etc. Sometimes online social conversations are amplified by the culture of the people involved.
Understanding the context in an online conversation, gives companies an opportunity to make the right response to its approach and strategy.