What is social listening?

What is social listening?
March 15, 2019 admin

Social listening is a two-step process.

First, you monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and any keywords relevant to your business.

Next, you analyze that information and look for ways to put what you learn into action. Taking action might mean something as simple as responding to a happy customer or something as huge as shifting your overall brand positioning.

Taking action is what makes social listening different from social media monitoring. Social media monitoring is all about collecting data. It allows you to look back at what has already happened.

Social media monitoring is based on metrics like engagement rate and the number of mentions. Social listening looks beyond the numbers to consider the mood behind those social media posts. This helps you understand how people actually feel about you and your competitors, rather than simply counting the number of times your name comes up.

The value of listening

Imagine you work as a writer or creative director for Netflix.

You might have access to data on content viewership rates, most popular genres, most watched actors/actresses and so much more that can significantly help you choose what to create next.

That’s part of how Netflix creates some of the most innovative content there is.

But what if you don’t have scores of user data at your fingertips?

That’s when you can turn to social media listening to find all of that data and more.

  • Audience and trend analysis: Discover audience preferences for different demographics and emerging trends around your topics to inform content strategy.
  • Product and content research: Gather insights from your industry, competitors and target market to generate new product, service and content ideas.
  • Influencer recognition: Identify social influencers and industry thought leaders based on following or post-impact to cultivate brand advocates.
  • Competitor comparison: Identify gaps, track share of voice and examine consumer attitudes toward competitors.
  • Sentiment research: Explore customer feelings and opinions regarding specific topics, products, competitors and more.
  • Tactical differentiation: Detect opportunities to differentiate products and services from competitors.
  • Brand health: Track conversation around your brand to illuminate consumer attitudes and sentiment drivers.
  • Customer experience: Uncover issues and gain visibility into common customer wants and needs around your products or services.
  • Campaign analysis: Capture audience reactions to marketing campaigns in real time and create succinct reports to show success.

Social listening strategies

Do you have a question about your product, customers or competition? Chances are, social listening can help you find your answer. To spark some ideas, we’ve shared some of the top strategies we see customers using to find value with social listening.

Social listening for brand intelligence

Before you peer over the hedges at your competitors’ social strategy, think first about getting your own house in order.

By running social listening for your own organization, you can identify common customer questions, comments, complaints, demographics and general sentiment around your brand, and easily share those insights with the rest of your team.

Once you start absorbing your own social listening data, you can do these tactical things right away.

  • Find your most frequently asked questions. And create a FAQ document or chatbot to help answer questions at scale.
  • Find your customers’ most common issues. And figure out how to solve those issues or create talk tracks to respond quickly.
  • Figure out what your customers love about you. And leverage that information to build campaigns or content you know will resonate.
  • Identify your key social media customers. And figure out how you can utilize their traits to target new social audiences.
  • Get a sense of whether or not followers are positively or negatively mentioning your brand. If it turns out they skew more negative, figure out if those are issues with your social media presence or something you can surface to other parts of your organization, like your product or events teams.

From a thousand feet up, are your customers happy? If not, you may need to pivot your strategy.


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