Having a clear idea of how customers feel about products and brands is paramount to competing successfully. Social media and review sites have provided ample opportunities to understand customer preferences and pain points. In 2020, 49% of the world population used social media. Transforming posts into actionable data is the key to successful branding. This brings us to the process of Social Listening.
What Is Social Listening?
As the name implies, social listening involves paying attention to what consumers say about issues relevant to a brand or its products. This could be about a product, a logo, customer service, or a recent ad campaign. Fortunately, these conversations take place on the web, and tools such as rotating residential proxies can help with data crawling and retrieval of information.
We all encounter posts on social media or review sites that are prime examples of the kind of information that provides value to businesses. People often discuss their online shopping adventures and may discuss what they liked about their purchase, what features they would like to see in the future, or whether their experience with customer service was useful.
Of course, it is impossible to access every mention of a specific company or brand without trade tools. In addition to tracking brand mentions, tools such as crawlers find information that is relevant to products. Scapers make it easy to lift and retrieve texts from webpages. To get started, residential proxies are a must to allow anonymous browsing and to bypass geo-restrictions.
What Are Residential Proxies and How to Use Them?
Proxies or proxy servers are an alternate way of reaching websites without showing a user IP address. This is useful to access material that may be restricted by region, and it prevents users from getting blocked while using web crawlers or scrapers to locate and retrieve data.
Activities in scraping and crawling alert the website, which may block an IP address.
Residential IPs are less likely to get blocked than other proxies because their IP addresses seem like regular users. They are issued by internet service providers, just like any other internet service. Residential proxies are easy to install and use and are useful for social listening strategies. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Choose Proxies from the right location or ISP
Residential proxies are issued by an internet service provider. Each one is given a specific IP address, which gives away the user’s location. In the case of a residential proxy, the location may not be the actual place the user is located, but it is the one assigned to the proxy.
The IP address affects search results and the kind of content that will appear. Changing the IP address can alter search results. Therefore, it is essential to select a residential proxy from an internet service provider that offers proxies from the most convenient regions for social listening. Having proxies with locations that correspond to the company’s major markets is an effective means of reaching present and potential customers.
2. Crawl Daily from the Same Location
To get a consistent view of how consumers in a certain market and location feel about brands and products, it isn’t enough to simply visit once. Returning simultaneously with a residential proxy set at the same location over several days to a week will make it easier to observe additional comments on the same thread or related ones.
Observing ongoing conversations consistently can yield as much information as retrieving a large number of pages. Digging down and finding out precisely what customers are talking about, what aggravates and delights them will give you a clearer idea of what they are looking for.
3. Verify You Are Only Collecting Public Data
Many websites are quick to block IP addressed they suspect are crawling or scraping because no one likes the feeling that they are being spied on. According to Pew Research, 64% of Americans expressed anxiety about having personal information accessed and misused. It is important to maintain boundaries and avoid accessing personal data.
There is enough information that is publicly available on social media forums and review sites that there is no reason to hack or do things that are unethical or even illegal. Ensure that all of the information that is being accessed is public and not private to stay on the right side of laws and regulations.
4. Keep Tabs on Competitors
If the competition is intimidating, chances are they may be doing at least a few things right. In addition to a business scraping posts and reviews about its products and brand, it is also useful to discover what people are saying about rival brands. Also, scraping webpages and social media pages of competitors yields useful information about linking, keyword strategy, and hashtags.
Taking a page from competitors can reveal what content is working for them. Use data analysis to track which links their visitors click on, which products they buy and how long they spend on the site. Compare these with your brand, and it may be easier to see what needs to be improved and how to grab market share from rivals.
Effective Social Listening Leads to Successful Branding
The endpoint of any business is sales, so it makes sense that marketers need to pay attention to their present and prospective customers. Gone are the days when marketers needed to simply guess what consumers may want based solely on past activity and future projections.
The web is filled with opinions about what products and brands. Having the right tools to find, retrieve, and analyze this information is key to branding success.