Social Listening: How to Increase Conversions Using Social Media Insights

Talia Wolf Webinar | Source GetUpLift

Imagine being able to tap into the real conversations people are having about your brand or industry

Seeing what they hate, what annoys them, what grabs their attention or what they expect from a solution like yours.

It’s insights like these that can give you that killer headline for your landing page…

Tell you exactly what testimonials you need on your website,

Help you optimize your sales funnel, email outreach and even your actual product.

These kind of insights are what businesses pay a LOT of money for.

Thing is, there’s a simple and free way for you to access these ridiculously amazing conversations every single day using a little thing called: social listening. 

There are 2.46 Billion (!!) social media users worldwide.

These people are sharing the things they love and hate, their cravings, hesitations, concerns and the things that make them happy.

Many of these people are your target audience.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C solution, almost everyone is on social media at some point of the day sharing, reading, retweeting, liking and commenting.

By listening to your audiences on social media, you can tap into the minds of the two types of people that matter most to your business: Your customers and your potential customers.

Today’s guest, Tara Robertson knows exactly how to do that using social listening.

Previously VP Marketing at HotJar and now Director of Marketing Strategy at Sprout Social, Tara has built award-winning marketing teams and consulted hundreds of companies (making them **millions** of dollars) on marketing strategies and data-driven results.

In this live training Tara showed us how to rid ourselves of the Social Media fluff and get to the hardcore data that we should be using to optimize our landing pages, campaigns, emails and websites.

Watch the recording below:

Transcript, slides and notes available below:


As Talia mentioned my name is Tara. I work at Sprout Social. I’m Director of Marketing Strategy. Prior to Sprout, I was VP Marketing over at Hotjar, so I’m a little bit of a data junkie, absolutely love optimization, love data, and love really understanding what makes people tick. So Talia and I, I think, first met…gosh, I think a couple years ago and it’s been a really fun journey watching how we both kind of been building up these different worlds and talking about the emotion. And that’s something that, for me, I’m so, so, so passionate about and tying that to data.

What I’m most excited about with what we’re talking about today is as Talia mentioned, a lot of people don’t think of social media when it comes to data. They think of something a little bit more fluffy. So I’m kind of on a mission to spread the word on how you can analyze, and how you can use this to really bring ROI and how you can make great data as a whole. So that’s just a little bit about me. Other than being a data junkie, I’m a mom. I’ve got two kids, who are both out playing in the snow right now with our dog and live in the U.S. in Vermont.

Talia: That’s awesome. I love the way…also you mentioned how social media is usually perceived as fluff because I used to work in a social media agency, and I remember the frustration of working with clients that all they’d care about was the likes and the comments. And I keep asking them like, “Okay, but what about the leads? What about the sales? What are you seeing?” And they’re like, “We can’t track that. We don’t know how to do that or whatever,” so no one ever showed that interest. So I love that social media is definitely in that direction today and that companies that use social media correctly, well we know today, can make billions of, right?

Tara: Yeah. Such an awesome lead-in. I’m gonna talk so much about a lot of that today because we still see that a lot. We see with a lot of our agencies, they struggle with it day to day. Everyone’s so focused on their ROI, focused on the leads, and really look at it the wrong way. So I’m excited to dive into those topics.

Today we’re talking about data and how it plays a part in social but the reality is that a lot of people when they think about social media, they see this, a bunch of cats. Cat videos are awesome. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I love to watch cat videos. They make me laugh. I’ve got a cat myself.

But the challenge is is that when you are out there trying to promote social when you’re trying to work as a business, it’s really hard to get through the perception of people thinking about social as fluff. Thinking of social as a way to share a bunch of really funny YouTube cat videos, and actually realize that this is what you’re looking at. The world and the universe right now is so connected to data and so connected to the way that social media works, that it really is the biggest opportunity for us as marketers or us as business leaders to tap into what’s out there, what content can we be using, and what opportunities do we have that we can turn that into something that’s not just gonna bring us great results, but literally the best astounding ROI that we’re going to see.

But the challenge is is that when you are out there trying to promote social when you’re trying to work as a business, it’s really hard to get through the perception of people thinking about social as fluff. Thinking of social as a way to share a bunch of really funny YouTube cat videos, and actually realize that this is what you’re looking at. The world and the universe right now is so connected to data and so connected to the way that social media works, that it really is the biggest opportunity for us as marketers or us as business leaders to tap into what’s out there, what content can we be using, and what opportunities do we have that we can turn that into something that’s not just gonna bring us great results, but literally the best astounding ROI that we’re going to see.

So to frame that a little bit, I’m gonna throw out some stats that some might be known and some might be unknown to you. But this one is always a pretty huge one that’s glaring. When you think about the amount of people on Earth of 7.2 billion, 2.1 billion of them are active on social media. And breaking that down a little bit, social media is part of everyone’s, almost everyone’s, daily routine. So whether it’s personal or professional, roughly three-quarters of Facebook users and around six-in-ten Instagram users visit those sites at least once a day. As marketers, we do it way much more.

So it’s interesting to think about as yourself, and as a human, how many times…for everybody on the line, have you already logged into Facebook today? Have you logged into Instagram? Have you looked at Twitter? I know I have probably dozens of times, and some of them are business related. So with the rise of things like Facebook groups and with the rise of companies really connecting with each other, we’re starting to see this not just be something that we wanna do personally, but also something that we have to do professionally and a way that we’re now running our business.

Facebook users alone also watch 100 million hours of video every single day. So 100 million hours, that’s a lot of hours on video. And a lot of opportunities for you to then monetize with ways that you’re capturing attention. And in just one minute there are 4,166,000 Facebook users liking a post, 2.4 million Instagram users liking a post, and 347,000 tweets being sent, and that’s just in one minute. So think about the compounding nature of the amount of data that’s constantly being pushed, not just to your universe, but your business’ universe and the universes around you.

So Erik Qualman who’s an author of a great social book “Socialnomics” has this quote that I think is something that resonates really well with those businesses that are saying there is no ROI in social media, that the ROI of social isn’t necessarily always going to be what you get out of what you’re doing, which we will spend time on how to actually get results out of your campaigns. But it’s also that if you’re not social, your business might not exist in five years. There really is no opportunity to not be social anymore and to not have social be a part of your ecosystem in the way that you’re actually executing for marketing.

But in kind of correlation to that, the challenge is, is that 41% of companies, so almost half of companies actually admit that they have no idea whether or not their social media efforts are actually paying off. And that’s terrifying. So when we think about why a lot of businesses are rejecting or confused or concerned about the value that they’re bringing with social, it’s because they’re really struggling with the way that they can actually look at their results, look at the data and understand that what they’re doing is paying off, that the work that they’re doing by posting and focusing on all of this data that’s constantly consuming us is driving their results.

And the reason behind that, and this is a bold statement but a very solid statement is that it’s because they’re doing it wrong. So it’s something that you shouldn’t feel ashamed or worried or concerned if you’re not sure if social media efforts are paying off because a lot of people don’t talk about the data behind social and the ways that you can track your campaigns. But there are so many excellent ways that you can drive ROI and that you can understand the results that social is bringing. It’s just a matter of changing the way that we think about social, changing that perception of it being fluffy or of it being cats and more about all of the data that’s there and how do you now leverage this.

A great way that I like to explain the concept of social media and analytics is if you’re a pay per click marketer and you’re executing on a pay per click campaign, you would never actually launch something without knowing what your cost per click is, without knowing how big your audience is, without knowing what data you bring. Because then you’d end up spending an inordinate amount of money without results. And that’s kind of the same thing when you think about social media. If you don’t know what you’re posting is bringing you result and if you don’t know that what you’re working on or what your customers and consumers are talking about, then you’re really going at it completely blind. So we’ll talk about some tactics and how you can change that behavior.

Common objections that we hear a lot of the time:

  1. “My customers aren’t on social.”
  2. “We haven’t seen the ROI.”
  3. “We don’t have time to be on every platform.”
  4. “We aren’t sure the time is worth it.”
  5. “Social doesn’t drive sales,”
  6. “You have to invest in paid to get anything out of social.”

These are things that we’ll hear time and time again, that I’m sure most people on the line have either heard, they felt. I know, even in my past, I felt it before we started to really understand how to drive all this data out of social and then tie it into results.

And the reality is, is that your customers are on social, but in the same way that you’ll think about any type of marketing endeavor, anything you’re working on, whether it be your website, or email, or a piece of content, your customers aren’t here ready to buy right away. And a lot of reasons that people struggle with social is they focus on these old school behaviors of, “Okay, if I throw out this piece of content or if I throw out a sale that we’re doing right now, people are immediately gonna drive results out of it, or they’re gonna buy, or it’s gonna be something that they take that step in.” And you have to think about it the same way you would any marketing activity, that being social is really about creating a relationship and driving that relationship and not asking somebody to take a sale before they’ve actually met you.

The next thing that I want to call out is that when you think about all of these different common objectives and the fact that we’re really trying to nurture relationships, understand the emotion between why people are acting the way that they do is that just like everything else, there are no best practices in social. I hate the phrase best practice because it’s kind of like the Achilles heel of marketing, is that if you try to execute something that someone says, do this it will work, then it’s likely going to be something that you’re struggling with or you’ll have a challenge with. Again, very similar to the way that we think of optimization and CRO. There’s themes, there’s things that we know can help, but at the same time, everything that you work on for yourself and your business is going to be unique to your business.

So with social, there used to be these best practices in thinking about the 30-60-90 rule, meaning 30% of the time you can do lead generation, 60% of the time you post your own content, 90% of the time you post thought leadership content. And that’s the algorithm that should be used in order to get the right results on social. And the reality with that now is that that really means nothing. It’s not about how many times you post. It’s about who you are and how you’re posting and what you’re putting in front of your audience. So instead of thinking about best practices, the first theme I wanna bring is to realize that while there are no best practices, there are themes in social media. Those themes being, listen, engage, authenticity, and learning. And that’s what we’ll dive into a little bit more.


So applying those themes into business is to first think about applying those themes to real life. So if I was sitting at a table with a bunch of people right now trying to explain anything, you almost think about it like you would this guy on the screen where we live in a world of curated content where everybody is constantly looking at their phones and constantly trying to understand what’s going on, or what’s happening on Facebook, or what email did I just get. And aside from working and paying attention to the webinar, I would say put your phone down and let’s have a conversation, and let’s talk about how you and I are gonna interact and build our relationship together.

Social Media Listening

So the first one with the theme being listening is I initially went out and Googled like, “Okay. What do people think of listening?” And came up with this one terrible graphic. But I really loved the words that came out of it, is when you think of listening and what that actually means is think about it in your relationships. Think about it in the ways that we interact with our husbands, with our partners, with our children, with our coworkers. It’s never just us talking to them. It’s always a two-way relationship. So if your partner isn’t listening to you, if the person you’re interacting with isn’t listening to you, you’re gonna feel slighted in that conversation. And the same thing goes for how we interact with other people. If we’re sitting here and just talking and yabbying and not taking in what people are saying back to us, then we’re not really doing a good job of being that second part in the conversation or being that person that’s really spending time getting to know who we’re talking about.


So again, putting yourself at that dinner table or putting yourself at that roundtable where we’re putting our phone down, we’re making eye contact, we’re listening to what each other says, and we’re really pulling that in. So these numbers are kind of arbitrary where it’s like 60% the minimum, 80% the maximum. If you don’t listen at least 20%, it’s not a two-way relationship. So aside from thinking about the arbitrary aspect of the numbers, it’s really kind of a guideline to go by, that if you’re in a one-way relationship and if your social is in a one-way relationship right now where you’re just posting, posting, posting and not really taking the time to read what else is being said, then you’re in that one-way relationship that isn’t going to drive you a meaningful relationship in your life. And Stephen Covey who writes a lot of excellent business books had a quote where, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand, we listen to respond.”

So a big takeaway for the audience and for people in general when it comes to social is that we’re not listening to respond, we’re actually listening to understand. So look at the conversations that hopefully, you’ll start trying to drive from this presentation and from your social strategy as a whole, as listening is really just at its bottom line, a way for you to understand how people are interacting, how they’re working, and what their day to day struggles and challenges are. Again, getting into the emotion, which Talia spends a lot of time talking about. That is the most important thing, is really understanding that bottom line of what’s driving someone and what pains they’re having. And that’s what’s gonna feed the engine to what’s gonna bring you success.

Engaging on Social Media

The second one is to engage. So aside from listening, obviously, if you just sit there and you listen and you don’t say anything back, then it’s a kind of awkward conversation. So I added a picture here of one of our team calls. And as I mentioned, I work in rural Vermont in the States, which is literally in the middle of a mountain. And most of my team is remote, aside from a few people that work at our main office in Chicago. But this is a video conference. We have daily stand-ups. And every day outside of just running our stand up call, we get a chance to turn on our video and engage with each other. And it’s not always engaging in what are we working on today, but what did we do last night. We’ve got fun times where we talk about fun facts and things that happened. And these are the kinds of conversations that aren’t conversations that you might necessarily have to have in a business setting, but you kind of have to have them in a business setting. Because it’s what creates the relationships with the people that we have that makes us really enjoy working together, or living together, or being in each other’s lives.

So when it comes to engaging, make sure you’re thinking about engagement, not just as engagement as a business, it’s like, “Oh, hey. You have this problem. You should read this piece of content that fixes that problem that we created,” or, “you should buy this piece of software that fixes this problem you have.” It’s really about, “Can you tell me that? Let’s engage. Let’s have a meaningful conversation. Let’s build a relationship together,” so you can then build that trust and build those wonderful smiles. So thinking about that, like, making your stuff is great. I’m sure everybody that’s on this webinar or listening to it afterwards has something awesome that you’re either making or that you’re promoting or that you’re working on. That’s why we’re in business, that’s what we do. But in order to get people to see that awesomeness and to see want you’re working on, making connections is more important. Getting trust and gaining relationships and having those two-way conversations and engaging with them is what’s gonna get you to be able to promote your stuff. So that’s a really important thing to think about when it comes to your personal life, and then how that correlates then to social.

Social Media Authenticity

The third one is authenticity and this is kind of an embarrassing slide, but a funny one nonetheless for myself. When I first started out in my career, you’ll see…I’ll let you guys kinda pick which one you think was the first headshot that I used. I had this vision for what it meant to be a business professional, what it meant to be somebody that I had to be in order to be a successful woman building my career. And so I wore business suits. I had your, like, clear-cut short haircut, exactly like…went to Banana Republic, bought all my outfits, which for some people is amazing and you look beautiful. For me, wasn’t authentically me. And so I tried to fit myself into this mold of who I thought I should be, versus who I actually was. And as I’ve kind of grown in my career and grown into my own skin, you’ll see I kind of shifted into the person that I am personally.

So I’d go to work and I’d be wearing the suit and feel all uncomfortable in high heels and weird. And then I’d go home and I throw my hat on be like, “Okay, now I’m comfortable and in my own skin. So as I’ve kind of grown in my own authenticity, I’ve learned who I am and that that’s okay. And that’s something that…when I think about that and I think about what it means for businesses and social, it’s kind of an interesting way to correlate it together. Because on social media so many times we try to be that person on the left, we try to be who we think our business is supposed to be or who we think that the person on the other end wants us to be. And people see through that. They absolutely know that like, “Okay, well this sounds to businessy. This sounds too formal. This sounds too awkward.” And it just doesn’t feel right.

Read the full transcript here.