There’s nothing more human than the need to gather together and talk about the things that matter to us. Whether we’re huddling around a bonfire or chatting about a trending topic, there’s always one fundamental issue in the conversation: Who’s commanding everyone’s attention, and who’s stuck trying to get a word in edgewise?
B2B marketers know that social media is where people share their thoughts and opinions. That’s especially true when it comes to where, and on what, to spend their money. Customers expect brands to put themselves out there for scrutiny: 39% will only trust a brand once they’ve had some interactions with it on social media.
Of course, they’re not just going to take brands at their word. For 79% of customers, user-generated content has the most significant impact on their purchasing decisions. The impact can be positive or negative, but the last thing you want is to be ignored. After all, even negative content can be a rich source of insights and valuable feedback.
While it’s vital to lead and inspire discussion, it’s hard to drive the conversation without willing participants. There are many metrics to measure and track on social media marketing, but the one that tells you how much conversational space you’re occupying is Share of Voice.
In this post, we’ll break down exactly how to define and measure Share of Voice, explain why it’s such an important metric for B2B marketers today, and share actionable tips to increase your share of voice on social media.
What is Share of Voice?
Share of Voice is your percentage of mentions on any given topic or platform compared to those of your competitors. It’s a reflection of your brand exposure and influence, and it tracks closely to market share. Just as how the best conversationalists are always good listeners, one key to increasing your Share of Voice is to listen carefully to the discussions people are having about matters relevant to your brand.
When an online conversation about your industry starts, how likely is it that your B2B brand will be mentioned? For companies with a strong Share of Voice, the answer might be “right away, every time.” If the answer is “eventually, we hope,” there’s work to be done.
Share of Voice originated as a metric for paid advertising, where it mostly reflected how much you were outspending your competitors. In a digital marketing context, your customers are full participants in the conversation – and not just a passive audience. Therefore it’s more accurate to measure organic social mentions instead of ad spending.
Analyzing your Share of Voice doesn’t just tell you how much of the conversation is about you. If you’re really listening, it can also tell you a lot about what your customers are thinking. You can discern what they want, where your overall online reputation stands, and where your competitors stack up in comparison.
How to Measure Social Media Share of Voice
There’s a simple formula for calculating Share of Voice as a percentage. To start, you need to take a topic or platform, count all the times your brand is mentioned, and then do the same for your competitors’ mentions. Then divide your mentions by the total number of mentions (both yours plus all of your competitors), then multiply by 100. The resulting figure is your Share of Voice.
MENTIONS / ALL OTHER MENTIONS X 100 = SSoV Percentage
Segmenting your data can yield even deeper insights. Filtering by platform or by different demographics — age, gender, income — can reveal discrepancies between how different audiences view your brand.
Gathering the information needed to measure Share of Voice can be achieved by manual searching. But it’s much more efficient to use a social listening tool that includes built-in features for segmenting, calculating, and analyzing the data. The right tools can also help you factor out bots and other unhelpful, inorganic mentions.
Why Your Share of Voice on Social Media is Important
It’s natural to conclude that a substantial Share of Voice leads to desirable outcomes like greater brand visibility and authority. However, there are many other advantages to be derived from holding the larger percentage. The bigger your share, the easier you can steer the conversation in directions that benefit your brand — but there’s more to it than that.
The listening and analysis that goes into tracking your Share of Voice will help you understand your industry and brand through the consumers you’re trying to reach. It can also help you better understand your competitors.
Brands that are outperforming you in Share of Voice are probably doing the same with market share. You can further analyze those competitors to learn how they’re engaging their customers and dominating social chatter.
Tracking your Share of Voice can also indicate:
- How well your marketing campaigns are performing
- What types of engagement work best on your customers
- Whether you have any festering public relations problems that need to be addressed
- Which social platforms will give you the best return for your marketing dollar
7 Ways to Increase Your Share of Voice on Social
Here are seven things you can start doing right now to boost your Share of Voice, and realize the benefits of establishing a more substantial presence in social conversations.
1. Be Active and Consistent
There’s a time and place for thoughtful silence, but not when you’re trying to grow your Share of Voice. To lead and maintain a powerful presence within a conversation, you have to participate in it – and discussions move quickly on social media.
Customers stay loyal to brands that are responsive and present. One way to keep up a regular posting schedule is by using a social media calendar, but don’t depend on it exclusively. Social media is reactive, and it pays to be spontaneous and agile too.
2. Create Engaging, Shareable Content
Everyone on social media has millions of choices about where to spend their time and attention. Don’t expect users to engage with your content and talk up your brand unless you’re giving them something unique, interesting, and compelling.
The format of your content matters a lot. Video is highly effective at drawing in new business, and the right audiences will respond well to memes and infographics. When you’ve got a lot of dry research and data to get across, bring in storytelling elements to keep things relatable. Since audiences always find people more interesting than abstract brands, employee advocacy campaigns are a valuable way to connect with your customers while keeping your message focused.
3. Be a Conversation Starter
Whoever sets the agenda usually gets to spend the most time talking. It’s often the case that holding a larger Share of Voice goes hand-in-hand with initiating and leading conversations in the first place. Look for opportunities to do so; don’t just jump into discussions already in progress.
One effective way to spark discussion is through real-time marketing. RTM involves engaging audiences by leveraging your social media presence and marketing apparatus to respond to newsworthy or viral events as they happen, making your brand part of the story. As a bonus. RTM’s benefits align nicely with increased Share of Voice.
4. Build Customer Relationships
So much of Share of Voice can hinge on brands leading discussions and providing engaging content. However, never forget that the ultimate goal is to increase organic mentions from your current and future customers.
When someone takes the time to engage with your brand to offer praise, raise a question, or complain about dissatisfactory service? Show them that you’re listening. A thoughtful response is the best reply. It reinforces that engagement and encourages them to come back for future conversations.
5. Collaborate to Win
Brand skepticism can run high among some demographics. Partnerships with the influencers, artists, and industry leaders they trust can help you establish credibility and break down barriers to engagement.
Even a well-placed sponsored post can help jumpstart your Share of Voice. Use your segmented data to target different audiences, then find out where paid content generates the most organic buzz.
6. Go Beyond Social Media
Social media may be where Share of Voice is best measured, but that doesn’t mean that every important conversation begins and ends there. Plenty of social conversations are sparked by events that occur elsewhere – even offline! It’s essential to think creatively about how your other marketing efforts might work to generate engagement and discussion.
7. Build Your Community
Hosting, fostering, and moderating high-quality discussions is one of the most effective ways to cultivate leadership, authority, and a greater Share of Voice. Building an authentic and dedicated brand community isn’t the easiest task on this list. But it’s worth taking the time to connect with active, like-minded individuals on social media and then create spaces where thoughtful discussions can occur.
Chasing success on social media is challenging. Platforms rise and fall, trends quickly come and go, and you still need to keep track of how you’re doing out there. Share of Voice offers a straightforward metric that gives you a clear indication of how well you’re doing at the moment. It can show you the pathways to understanding your customers and optimizing your future efforts to provide engaging content.
Give your social media marketing team the tools to build your Share of Voice and take a more prominent role in social conversations. In this way, you can strengthen your overall reputation, improve customer loyalty, and realize many other great benefits for your B2B brand.