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5 ways social listening can help your RTO

April 9, 2019

Everyone knows that millennials flock to social media: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter. The younger the user, the more prominent their social media use - basically everyone in Australia aged 18-39 is on social media (99% aged between 18 and 29 and 96% aged between 30 and 39).

Given the trends in social media use, it’s a ‘no-brainer’ that RTOs should be ‘listening’ to all the conversations related to their organisation and vocational education generally. Particularly because the path to enrolment has now migrated almost entirely online. Today’s prospective students often do not physically visit a campus - they research training options online often months or even years prior to enrolling.

RTOs need to know where potential students are online and capture their attention with responsive and relevant content. Read on for the top 5 reasons why training organisations need a social listening strategy and the tools to get started.

Social Media Monitoring vs. Social Listening

Listening to prospective or current students on social media is not a one-way process - that is called monitoring.

Social listening refers to searching and checking all or key conversations happening on social media that mention your brand, product, name, or various terms defining your industry and analyze, interpret, and eventually apply the newly-gained insight into your marketing strategy.”

Social media monitoring simply involves tracking what people are saying (i.e watching for posts on Facebook or tags on Twitter) and tallying metrics (i.e to assess a marketing campaign). Think of monitoring as a process of passive listening - hearing what is said without necessarily seeking to understand or engage.

Social listening goes one step further. It is an active listening process where conversations are mindfully heard with the intention to gain real insights into what students want and how to better respond to their needs.

Top 5 reasons to start social listening

  1. Know your students in real-time

Use real-time intel from conversations about your training organisation, as well as other topics of interest (i.e VET industry) so you can identify what prospective audiences talk about, where, when and how.

  1. Identify new opportunities

Learn who is talking about your institution, rather than just directly to it (i.e as they would on your own Facebook page) and engage with new audiences.

  1. Preserve brand reputation

Stay on top of emerging issues (think crisis or brand perception challenges) and respond with issue-specific feeds.

  1. Discover pain points

Identify frustrations people have dealing with your organisation. Assess gaps in communication, service delivery and tailor communication strategy to counter negative perceptions.

  1. Identify influencers and advocates

Identify who is talking about your institution and the VET industry generally - who gets the most engagement and who do people really listen to and trust?

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” Scott Cook

Sounds great! But how will it be possible to monitor ALL conversations people are having about a particular RTO online? Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to do the work:

10 social listening tools to get started

  1. Hootsuite

View and respond to messages, comments and brand mentions across social channels in a single dashboard and track influences and leads.

  1. Social Mention

Search a keyword on any social platform as well as pulling up all mentions of the keyword across multiple platforms.

  1. Sprout Social

Find, form and deepen real connections with the people who love your brand.

  1. Tweet Reach

Analyze exactly how many Twitter accounts have reached your selected keyword, person, or hashtag.

  1. BuzzSumo

Analyze the number of impressions and shares certain posts have with a shared domain like Facebook.

  1. How Sociable

Search your brand name across all social media sites.

  1. Keyhole

Understand how people engage with your brand, campaigns and influencers across social media and the web.

  1. SocialWeaver

Actively listen in on (and learn from) any brand in the world, and engage with followers on any network all in one convenient place.

  1. Brandwatch

Analyze conversation, share insights and understand people on a colourful multi-screen display.

  1. Mention

Monitor your brand anywhere online across 42 languages

A social listening strategy takes social monitoring data and pokes and prods it with the aim of gaining a comprehensive understanding of your target student audience. By actively listening to conversations about your training organisation in the digital space you will be well positioned to speak to the needs, sentiments and where necessary, the frustrations, of your audience, in real time.