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Social Listening - What Is Social Listening And Why It Matters

As one of the best ways to understand what people are really saying about you in their environment, social listening should be an integral part of your brand strategy. This is how it works.

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is the process of tracking conversations and mentions about a specific topic on social media platforms and then analyzing them to gain insights into what actions you can take to improve the experience.

Social listening, more specifically for brands, is the process of understanding the online conversation about your brand, as well as your products and services.

These conversations and mentions may be aimed directly at the brand (e.g., talking about or responding to your brand), or they may be broader in nature, in which the brand is not directly mentioned (talking about your brand).

The concept of social listening has been around for decades.

People frequently solicit feedback through surveys and other means.

However, with technological advancements, it is now possible to surface this seamlessly from social media channels without having to ask, meaning you can effortlessly collect rich data at scale.

Continuous social media monitoring is required for effective strategies because it allows you to constantly learn and uncover new insights, as well as continue to improve your business based on what users are saying.

Monitoring should not be treated as a "moment in time," but rather, like social media, should be "always-on," so that if sentiment or trends shift, you have your finger on the pulse and can adapt quickly where necessary.

This type of social media monitoring can be done manually, but instead of your customer service team sifting through social media data by hand, you can use social listening tools to assist you.

What’sThe Difference Between Social Listening And Social Media Monitoring?

Social Monitoring Vs Soical Listening and various icons at the back
Social Monitoring Vs Soical Listening and various icons at the back

At first glance, social listening may appear to be the same as social media monitoring, but the two concepts differ significantly.

The goal of social media monitoring is to collect data.

It enables you to look back at previous events using metrics such as:

  • Brand mentions
  • Relevant hashtag
  • Competitor mentions
  • Industry trends

Keyword monitoring as part of your social listening strategy is especially important during a crisis when a brand wants to collect all coverage of that incident.

Social listening takes it a step further by acting on the information gathered.

It is more active because it analyzes data and provides insights that will assist you in making better customer-focused business decisions.

Why Is Social Listening Important?

Social media is no longer a platform where you can broadcast farmed content to your followers and expect them to engage with you.

Social listening allows you to learn about what your customers are talking about, what they are thinking, how they are feeling, and what they require from your company.

The key is to pay attention to what is being said in context.

Obtaining context for what your followers are saying about you entails being able to listen to them speak in real-time, combining that data with information about the customers themselves, and using the sentiment to make strategic business decisions.

Here's where social listening comes in.

With the right tools, you can track conversations on social media about specific phrases, words, emojis, and terms relevant to your business and apply context to them to understand how people are talking about your brand.

When done correctly, this allows you to craft conversations and use tones that are likely to resonate with them.

It also enables your team to make strategic decisions that will benefit your company the most.

How Can A Social Listening Strategy Help Your Business?

5 people standing using their phones and connected lines of different social media above them
5 people standing using their phones and connected lines of different social media above them

If you aren't using social listening, you are developing your business strategy while wearing blinders.

Real people actively discuss your brand and industry online.

It is in your best interests to find out what they have to say.

Simply put, if you care about your customers, you care about the insights that social listening can provide.

Here are a few ways social listening can help your business.

When To Use Social Listening

A  hand using cellphone with social media icons popped up
A hand using cellphone with social media icons popped up

Reputation Management

Brands must ensure that the experience they provide is consistent with their reputation.

If there is disagreement between the two, the brand will suffer because of a "experience gap," which can be tarnished – sometimes permanently – during a crisis.

This is why reputation management is essential.

If something has gone wrong with your brand, you must be aware of it and address it as soon as possible.

If there is a problem with your reputation or a crisis, it usually indicates that there is a problem with the experience that needs to be addressed.

Tracking and analyzing brand sentiment is a great way to assess your reputation.

If your brand's popularity is dwindling, something you're doing is at odds with the experience your customers expect and your reputation is being impacted as a result. Analysis of brand sentiment will give you an idea about what that is.

Competitor Analysis

Social media monitoring will help your team understand how you compare to your direct and indirect competitors.

With this data at hand, your insights team will be able to look beyond market share to identify competitors and see where your company falls short in areas such as customer service, customer retention, reputation, and other factors.

You'll also be able to see where you shine in your field.

Do you have the most effective product?

Are you unaffected by timely deliveries?

Do you provide the greatest cost savings?

Knowing where your company lags and where you exceed customer expectations will allow you to perfect the areas where you're already succeeding and build a plan around the areas that are in need of improvement.

You can stay one step ahead of the competition by tracking and analyzing your competitors and their relevance to you. This allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition and create or maintain your competitive advantage.

Engage With Your Customers

Some of the most effective marketing campaigns have made social media listening a key component of their strategy.

By listening to your customers and identifying brand advocates and detractors, you can hear what they have to say and use this opportunity to spark a conversation and bring the community together.

From consumer FMCG goods to football signing announcements or brand product campaigns (such as Apple's Shot on iPhone campaign), social listening allows for brand creativity and elevation.

Campaigns and strategies like these increase engagement and humanize your brand because the concept demonstrates that you listen to them.

Alternatively, you can increase customer engagement by providing better online support.

A brand can quickly turn a bad experience into a good one by listening and acting to resolve any issues that a customer may bring up on social media.

People Also Ask

How Do You Implement Social Listening?

Listening to your audience on social media can help you better understand what they want from your company.

An existing customer, for example, might tweet about how much they enjoy your product.

You might also come across a discussion in which people are looking for solutions that your product or service can provide.

What Is A Social Listening Tool?

A social media listening tool is software that tracks and analyzes online conversations about your brand, a specific topic, your competitors, or anything else related to your business.

It collects mentions of specific keywords and assists marketers in analyzing them.

What Is Social Listening Example?

Keep track of all your brand mentions in real time and from a single location.

Obtain the most accurate and current feedback.

Find out what people are saying about your company online.

Monitor the number of online discussions and changes in sentiment.

Final Thoughts

Social listening is a flexible process.

The insights gained during the process can be applied to a variety of departments.

Social listening is made easy with dedicated tools.

Ready to give it a shot?

Get the information you need from your social media monitoring tool and use your skills to fully understand the effectiveness of your strategies.

It's the quickest way to learn what works and what doesn't, which is exactly what businesses need to succeed in today's fiercely competitive environment.

About The Authors

Keith Peterson

Keith Peterson - I'm an expert IT marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in various Digital Marketing channels such as SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), SMO (social media optimization), ORM (online reputation management), PPC (Google Adwords, Bing Adwords), Lead Generation, Adwords campaign management, Blogging (Corporate and Personal), and so on. Web development and design are unquestionably another of my passions. In fast-paced, high-pressure environments, I excel as an SEO Executive, SEO Analyst, SR SEO Analyst, team leader, and digital marketing strategist, efficiently managing multiple projects, prioritizing and meeting tight deadlines, analyzing and solving problems.

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