Looking to establish yourself as a leader in your industry? Or turn up in more conversations related to products you sell? One of the best ways to do this is by increasing your share of voice.
Traditionally, share of voice (SOV) measures your brand’s prominence by the visibility of your advertising as compared to your competitors. But that’s not the only way you can measure share of voice.
In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about share of voice, including how it works for SEO, PPC, and social media. We’ll explain why share of voice matters, how to calculate it, and how to increase your visibility across the board.
Bonus: Get a free social media analytics report template that shows you the most important metrics to track for each network.
Share of voice is a way of measuring your brand’s visibility compared to your competitors. It’s a great metric to focus on if you’re looking to increase brand awareness or sales.
In the past, share of voice was used to measure the success of your paid advertising. Now, the definition includes overall online visibility, including social media mentions and where you show up in search results.
What about social share of voice?
Social share of voice is a way to measure how much people are talking about your brand on social media. It’s usually measured as a percentage of total mentions within an industry or among a defined group of competitors.
In other words, traditional share of voice tracks what brands say about themselves, and social share of voice tracks what people say about brands.
You can also think of it as when social listening meets competitive analysis.
For example, if your brand sells running shoes, you should expect to show up in conversations about running, running shoes, and sneakers. Share of voice will give you an idea of how often your brand comes up compared to other brands in the same space.
Understanding your social share of voice puts all of your other social media analytics into context.
If you want to increase your share of voice on social media, you need to get people talking about your brand.
This can be done in a number of ways, such as:
- Creating shareable content
- Earned and paid media
- Running social ads
- Collaborating with influencers
Tracking your share of voice can help you understand how visible your brand is on social media. A higher share of voice usually leads to more sales and brand awareness, so it’s definitely worth paying attention to.
Social share of voice doesn’t just track what people say about your business. It tracks what people say about your competitors, too. Knowing what is happening in the market and how your company stacks up can help you stay ahead.
Maybe your brand owns the conversation on Twitter but doesn’t show up on Facebook. Tracking share of voice can help you figure out where to focus your social dollars and resources.
You can track how successful your social media campaigns are by looking at the number of social shares they get. If your share increases after running a campaign, you likely hit the right mark with your audience.
Show customers you’re listening to them. Insights drawn from sentiment or topic analysis can help inform your brand’s voice, engagement plan, and content.
Tracking and measuring share of voice can also help you attribute value to social media efforts in terms of leads, customers and conversions. This data can then be used to secure budget for social media or make the case for an increase in resources.
Share of voice can be measured using the following formula:
Your brand mentions / total industry mentions = Share of voice
If you’re calculating this for social, you can gather this data using Hootsuite Insights. Insights can help you gather mentions from a variety of platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, and more.
If you don’t have a Hootsuite account, you can sign up for a free trial here.
Once you have a dataset of all industry mentions, try segmenting it to get unique insights. For instance, you could segment mentions by location to see how your brand stacks up against competitors in different regions.
You can also apply other demographic filters, such as gender, age, or occupation. This can help you see if you have a larger social share of voice among one particular gender or age group. You can use these insights to tailor your content and outperform your competitors.
Analyzing social share of voice by sentiment and topic is also important. Your brand may have a high social share of voice, but if people aren’t saying good things, you’ll want to address that.
Social media share of voice
Everything people say about your brand on social media contributes to your share of voice.
This metric shows how well you’re connecting with your audience and participating in the conversations that matter to them.
A high social media share of voice can help you:
- Win new customers
- Increase brand awareness
- Boost sales
Use Hootsuite to compare your brand’s social media share of voice to that of your competitors.
Share of voice for SEO
If you want to know how well you’re doing on search engines, you need to calculate your SEO share of voice.
This metric measures the visibility of your website in organic search results compared to your competitors.
To calculate share of voice for SEO, you’ll need a list of relevant industry keywords. These can be keywords that get the most clicks on a certain topic or keywords related to your product or service.
You can use share of voice tools like Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker to compare your website’s visibility on these keywords to that of your competitors. The Competitors tab will show you how often your website is shown in search engine results pages (SERPs) compared to your competition.
A high share of voice on organic search can help you:
- Attract more website visitors
- Get more leads and sales from your website
- Build brand awareness and equity
Share of voice for PPC
To understand how your ads are performing, you need to measure your share of voice for paid search. PPC share of voice refers to the percentage of times your ad is shown compared to all other ads competing for the same keyword.
For example, if you have a share of voice of 50%, this means that your ad is being shown half as often as it could be.
If you want to find your paid advertising share of voice, go to your Google Ads account, click Campaigns, then choose Columns from the top of the table.
Choose Competitive metrics, then select the types of impression share columns you want to track.
Improving your PPC share of voice can help you:
- Get more clicks and impressions
- Improve your Quality Score
- Lower your CPC
Share of voice for media
Your media share of voice is the number of times your brand is mentioned across news websites and blogs. For example, if your brand is mentioned in 40 articles and your competitor is mentioned in 100 articles, you have a 40% share of voice.
Social listening tools, like Hootsuite Streams, can also double as share of voice tools. Simply set up a search for your brand name and competitor names, then track the results over time to see how share of voice changes.
Understanding your media share of voice can help you:
- Build relationships with key publications
- Generate earned media coverage
- Improve your SEO
Once you have a good understanding of how your brand stacks up, you can focus on improving.
These are a few ways to boost your social share of voice.
1. Maintain an active presence
A tried and true way to earn your brand’s piece of the pie is to stay active on all your social media channels. Customers will be more likely to reach out and engage if they know someone is there.
A good first step is to create a social media content calendar. Many important dates have higher social traction, and you don’t want to miss out. Use the calendar to make sure you have content ready when you need it and don’t end up repeatedly posting the same thing.
As well, try to post at times when your audience is most active on each network. This will ensure your content gets the greatest reach and potential pick-up.
Here’s an example from Twitter heroes Merriam-Webster, who got users involved in a bit of end-of-week jubilation.
Our word for this Friday afternoon is 'pot-valiant,' defined as "bold or courageous under the influence of alcoholic drink."
Can you use it in a sentence? (please understand that you do not have to draw your sentences from real-life experience)
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 6, 2022
2. Spark conversations
Since social share of voice represents brand mentions, sparking online conversation can be a good way to up your share.
But brands don’t have to tread near controversy to spark social conversation. Bell’s annual Let’s Talk campaign positions the telecommunications company as a leader in the global mental health conversation.
Question prompts are also extremely popular on Twitter and other platforms. When Fenty Beauty launched 40 foundation shades for all, they asked: “What’s yours?” and got hundreds of comments.
Or do as Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky did and just ask for ideas. His call for suggestions received more than 4,000 replies. A little AMA can go a long way.
If Airbnb could launch anything in 2022, what would it be?
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 2, 2022
3. Create shareable content
Another good way to increase social share of voice is to post content that people will want to share. Images, GIFs, and videos tend to be popular. The more original or meme-worthy, the better.
also a santa claus costume pic.twitter.com/voIzM4LieW
— no name (@nonamebrands) November 22, 2021
4. Respond to customers
Joining conversations about your brand is a good way to build customer relationships and make them feel good about your company.
Showing empathy and a touch of humanity can also go a long way. A Harvard Business Review study of airline accounts on Twitter found that when customer service agents signed off with their initials, a customer’s willingness to pay for a future flight increased by $14.
Hello there. Please send us a direct message, so we are better able to assist.
— WestJet (@WestJet) May 17, 2022
5. Budget accordingly
By tracking your social media share of voice, you’ll have a better idea of where to invest in sponsored content, partner with social influencers, or allocate more support resources.
For example, is your voice lacking on Twitter but healthy on Instagram? Consider hosting a Twitter chat or setting up a Twitter profile just for support questions.
Having an informed social media strategy will allow you to focus on growing your share of voice where you need it the most.
Remember: social share of voice is ultimately about tracking conversations, and conversations inspire conversions. Plus, not all conversations take place on social media. Many happen in DMs, private channels, and offline—where they can’t be taken into consideration. So don’t rely on social share of voice alone to determine your success against your competitors.
It’s also important to measure what people say against what people do. Track social share of voice alongside other metrics that matter to your business.
Hootsuite can help you track your brand’s share of voice on social media alongside all the other social media metrics that matter to your business. Analyze your social presence, publish and schedule posts, and engage with followers — all from one dashboard. Try it free today.
Bonus: Download a free guide to learn how to use social media listening to boost sales and conversions today. No tricks or boring tips—just simple, easy-to-follow instructions that really work.