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A man using social listening tools on his computer.

How To Create Your Own Automated Social Listening Tool

A man using social listening tools on his computer.

As marketers, it’s often easy, and comfortable, to remain focused solely on internal data. “Are we increasing conversion rates?” “How long is an average user session?” “Are we acquiring new users from the right channels?”

While internal data is extremely important, we must also utilize outside data to maintain awareness of specific trends in our industry and what we’re marketing. Although we can create or continuously iterate a brand and its products based on our internal data, we can only attempt to shape the public’s perception and opinion, and we may yet be missing unique opportunities. 

This is why it’s imperative to keep your ears open to the public to understand where your industry is headed, and how your product or service is being perceived in this journey.

Jorn Lyseggen, founder and CEO of Meltwater – a SaaS company that develops and markets media monitoring and business intelligence software – recognized this shift earlier than most. Jorn has coined the use of outside data to shape internal decisions as “Outside Insight.”

“Outside Insight shifts the focus from internal data and what you are doing to external data and what your industry is doing, allowing you to benchmark against competition and discover new threats and opportunities in real time.”

In recent years, this surveillance of public opinion, or industry and brand monitoring, has taken on a new life due to the prevalence of social media, carving a niche for what is known as “social listening” – a new breed of industry and brand monitoring that focuses exclusively on what users are saying on social media. 

No longer do companies need to rely on surveys from a select group of people. Today, we can actively monitor what the public is saying about our brand or industry. Even better, we can see what’s really being said about our brand or industry in real-time.

Creating Your Own Automated Social Listening Tool

Manually searching for brand mentions on every social media channel is a time-consuming task, especially for a social media manager who has campaigns to launch.

While there already exists a plethora of social listening and brand monitoring tools on the market, there is another simple, cost-effective way to create your very own, automated social listening tool in-house using one of my favorite marketing tools available, Zapier.

Most social listening tools work by scraping social media sites like Twitter and Reddit for mentions of your brand and/or keywords, and then importing these tweets or posts into a dashboard for you with various filtering options at your disposal.

With Zapier as our scraper and Google Sheets as our dashboard, we can do this too! 

Although not as fancy as a full-fledged SaaS, Zapier’s Google Sheets integration gives the average marketer super powers.

If you’re ready to save time on your social listening, follow along to these steps or watch the Loom video below:

https://www.loom.com/share/30aa96908bad4e30af42a676ffcf9581

 

Step 1: The Set Up

Create a free Zapier account if you do not have one. You will also need a Twitter account and a Gmail account to use for Google Sheets.

Set up a new Google Sheet with the following as headers in Row 1:

  • text
  • Screen_name
  • url

Once logged into Zapier, select Make a Zap.

Step 2: Twitter Scrape

Choose Twitter as your app and Search Mention as your event in Step 1 of your Zap. 

Monitoring search terms in Twitter

After selecting to continue, link your Twitter account to Zapier and enter the search term you want to monitor. For example, if you are Manchester United Football Club, you can choose to monitor your branded keyword “manchester united.” 

If tracking keywords with more than one word, be sure to put the keyword in quotation marks.

Test the trigger to confirm the data is being collected and continue. When viewing this data, you will fields for text, screen_name, and url, just like we set up in our new Google Sheet earlier. 

There is also a ton of other data that you can collect. If you are interested in any of the other available data fields, simply add a new column to Row 1 of your Google Sheet with the name of the data field.

Step 3: Google Sheets Input

Choose Google Sheets as your app and Create Spreadsheet Row as your event in Step 2 of your Zap. 

After you continue, you’ll want to link your Google Drive and Google Sheet, and Google Sheet tab that you will be exporting the data to with Zapier. 

Once linked, you will see the fields text, screen_name, and url. Now, you can click within each field and map the Twitter data we collected earlier to the column in Row 1 of your Google Sheet.

Step 4: Finishing Up

That’s it – you’re done. All that’s left to do now is the test the Zap in the final step, check to make sure your Google Sheet was populated correctly, and turn the Zap ‘On.’

You’re now set to collect every tweet that mentions your chosen keyword. 

Repeat these steps with Reddit, and you can collect post text and more information from Reddit whenever a post is made that includes your chosen keyword.

Conclusion

With a tool like Zapier, it’s easier than ever to keep your pulse on what’s being said about your brand and industry in real-time. This basic setup is powerful, yet only scratches the surface on what types of outside data can be collected and how it can be analyzed. Coupled with existing internal data, you can use this information – and the outside insight available from other tools like Google Trends – to understand how the public is engaging with your brand and industry.

tuff-how-we-learned-from-1000-customers

How We Learned From 1,000 Customers in One Afternoon

Customer research at scale is hard.

When you hear phrases like ‘big data’ or ‘quantifiable data’, it can feel paralyzing to know where to start.

I can almost instantaneously feel my eyebrows furrowing and my brain pleading for coffee when I try to keep up with the latest marketing trend or ‘best practice’.

There’s so much out there, it’s often hard to know where to start. As a business owner you might feel a lot of pressure to continue coming up with creative ways to connect with and reach your audience. Or, there might be some technical skills that are better to hire an in-house marketer or agency to take on.

However, there’s one fundamental marketing skill we’re taught from pretty much day one of our lives ― listening.

When you’re eager to share your message and product value, this can be easier said than done. But, when it comes to good listening it’s not about what you are saying. At Tuff, we start every client relationship with customer segmentation.

We recently went through this activity with a client. The Buy Guys, a Florida-based home buyer and seller that has purchased over 10,000 homes in the last 10 years, came to us to help increase quality leads that convert. By updating their website and digital marketing strategy, leads are up by 138% this year. And, the cost per lead has decreased by 36.92%.

Our first and most critical step? Customer segmentation.

Why Customer Segmentation?

Customer segmentation is really a fancy way of saying: ‘who are your customers? And, what do they want?’.

You have to know who your target audience is, what their problems are, and how they want to interact with you. Having these questions explicitly answered will allow you to build a much stronger marketing strategy based on both qualitative and quantitative data.

In the above section, you may have noticed that instead of saying The Buy Guys came to us to ‘help increase leads’ it was ‘to help quality leads that convert’. That distinction is important because it’s worth your time to get to know your customers so you can tailor your digital marketing strategy to convert the type of leads you know you want.

This requires being intentional before you start into executing on tactics but it will help you achieve much better results on those tactics. The good news is, if you take the time to look for it, your customers are generally already answering these questions for you.

You just have to know where to look.

Your sales and support team members (maybe it’s even you doing all of it) and the tools they use, are the best places to start.

Customer Segmentation in action

If your team is already engaging with customer and clients over the phone, this is an awesome place to start. You can gather both qualitative and quantitative information and the power of hearing your customer’s voice and the tone they use, is unmatched.

To start to get to know the audience interacting with The Buy Guys better, we took both a qualitative and quantitative approach using CallRail, a call tracking software the team had been using to log sales calls.

Qualitative Approach

The qualitative approach was listening to 100 phone calls in CallRail, taking detailed notes and listening for things like what kind of words is the customer using?, what was the very first problem they explained over the phone?, what were they hearing, thinking, feeling, saying?

For this step, you can use a Google Doc or your note taking tool of choice. Here’s the format we like to use, it’s best to keep it simple and focus on listening:

Caller name:__________________

First Question:__________________

Notable quotes:__________________

Goal:__________________

Wait till the phone call is over to add in their goal, it can sometimes take the whole call to assess. Here’s an example from The Buy Guys (with the name changed for privacy):

Caller name:
Harry Potter

First Question:
How does the process work for selling?

Notable quotes:
“I had a realtor, they weren’t doing anything to make progress so I took over.”

Goal:
To sell property quickly

By about the 10th phone call you listen to, you’ll start to notice a few trends in the customers’ goals. This is where you can start to segment the customers.

Create sections in your notes with the headline being the different goals (i.e. To sell property quickly’). Try to keep this to under 5 different goals. There will be outliers and the occasional customer going down a different path but you should be able to start segmenting customers into groups. When you get to the ‘Goal’ section of your note for each call, copy and paste the whole entry under the goal section it best aligns with.

In doing this, you now have different customer segments with the powerful supporting data of quotes and first questions.

Quantitative Approach

The quantitative approach using CallRail was to export data from over 1,000 calls to see larger trends such as time of day people are calling, what page the visited before calling, where are they calling from. Any call tracking software should allow you to export a CSV full of super helpful data.

Your call tracking software should also offer an analytics section to learn more about the behavior of the callers. In CallRail, we found two charts especially handy in understanding more about The Buy Guys customers:

These charts provide insights into what time of day callers have the most time. It can help create ideas around what kind of jobs they have, when they are most available, and are they more likely to engage on the weekends or during the week? This is where we can explore some of that customer research at scale.

For The Buy Guys, we were focusing on building a new website to capture more leads. By taking the time to dive into CallRail and gather qualitative and quantitative data about their customers, we were able to build customer personas. Using these customer personas, we were then able to use a shared language to talk with their team and our UX designer about the behaviors, motives, and ideas of the target audience.

Where else to look?

The Buy Guys had a wealth of data in CallRail but not every business uses the phone for sales or there might not be enough data there yet to be meaningful. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

There are a number of other places where your customers are letting you know what they need and want from you:

Email conversations:
You can go through a similar process by reading through support emails and tagging them with the ‘goal’.

Ask your sales and support teams:
There’s a good chance your sales and support team members can give you a list of ten things your customers need and want, off the top of their head. And, the types of words they use and questions they ask.

Online Reviews:
This is especially helpful for SaaS companies where review sites are aplenty. If you have an app in the Apple Store, have you read all reviews there? If you have a physical product, what about Amazon? Have people been talking about your service on Quora?

Twitter:
Hop on over to TweetDeck (make sure you’re logged into your business Twitter) and set up your account to monitor for certain keywords. This allows you to find tweets that don’t tag your account and could easily slip by.

Over to you…

With The Buy Guys, we had a specific project where it made sense to start with customer segmentation. But, it should be an ongoing process. If you’re happy with your website, you can try customer segmentation to better inform copywriting for your paid ads.

How do you learn more about what your customers want and need? What does customer research at scale look like to you?

We’d love to work with you.

Schedule a call with our team and we’ll analyze your marketing, product, metrics, and business. Then, present a Growth Plan with actionable strategies to find and keep more engaged customers.