Social listening is a vital part of social media marketing, where you monitor conversations online related to your business. These conversations are already happening online, and all you need to do is find them and make sure that everything regarding your business is going well with your customers.
Social Listening as a Concept
Listening, in general, is a crucial part of all good communication, and it is no different online. Social media listening pertains to the surveillance of conversations that are going on about your brand or product or regarding relevant industry topics that could affect and market your business really well.
People love to go online and ask everyone, from total strangers to their closest peers, for their opinion on a particular commodity.
Conversations could range from asking for advice and recommending a company to reviewing products or services they loved or hated. Many of these conversations occur online on social media, shopping sites, and blogs.
Importance of Social Media Listening
Tracking mentions and notifications is key to an effective engagement strategy. However, analyzing the context and larger trends around those conversations through social listening can give you valuable insight to better speak to and serve your target audience.
But you may ask: what social conversations should I listen to?
Let’s take a look at Twitter. Over 25 billion social interactions take place on Twitter each day, so it offers a breadth of consumer, industry and cultural insights unlike anything else. With that type of volume, most companies don’t have the ability to go through every Tweet about their brand or industry.
Plus, looking at these Tweets individually makes it difficult to see larger trends or themes.
That’s where listening comes into play. With social listening, you don’t treat every Tweet like a task. You look at the aggregate of a collection of social media messages.
Social Media Listening Statistics and Facts:
Social listening is becoming an essential tool for marketers and brands. Recent surveys show that 58% of marketers plan to increase their social listening budget in 2023 (Source: Social Media Today). The global social listening market is projected to reach $4.2 billion by 2025, growing at an annual rate of 24% (Source: MarketsandMarkets).
According to a Sprout Social report, 97% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing. This highlights the importance of monitoring brand mentions and reviews online through social listening.
Social Media Listening Case Study:
UK retailer John Lewis has successfully leveraged social listening in their marketing strategy. By tracking brand and product mentions on social media, they gain insights into customer feedback and sentiments. This enables them to identify issues proactively and improve customers’ omnichannel experience.
John Lewis also uses social listening to detect emerging trends and influencers. During the Christmas holiday season in 2021, their social listening team detected an uptick in mentions of cheeseboards on TikTok and Instagram. They quickly launched a festive cheeseboard range, which sold out within days.
Here are a few more case studies of businesses that have successfully used social listening:
- Dell: Dell uses social listening to track customer feedback and identify potential problems. By monitoring social media for mentions of Dell products and services, Dell can identify and address customer issues quickly and efficiently.
- Starbucks: Starbucks uses social listening to learn about customer preferences and develop new products and services. By monitoring social media for mentions of Starbucks products and services, Starbucks can identify trends and customer demand.
- Amazon: Amazon uses social listening to improve customer service and develop new products and services. By monitoring social media for mentions of Amazon products and services, Amazon can identify customer problems and develop solutions.
These are just a few examples of how businesses can use social listening to improve their business. By monitoring social media and analyzing the data, businesses can learn more about their customers, competitors, and industry. This information can be used to make better decisions about marketing, product development, and customer service.
Social Listening Could Be the Key to Your Business’s Success
Finding Potential New Customers
People who are already in the mould for your ideal prospect could be typing away on social media, discussing their needs, motivations, and desires. By listening to these conversations, you could fill the role of a problem simply by partaking in the conversation.
Finding the Influencers in Your Industry
If you poke around on social media platforms long enough, you will begin to see some people or brands being mentioned by others or possibly being listed at the top of your queue due to their relevance and content. These influencers are having conversations that are meaningful and relevant to your target audience.
This does include your competitors. If you manage to engage in conversations in the same fashion that these influencers are currently doing, you can have just as much success as these big moguls do.
Help Your Business Remain Socially Relevant
Once you really connect with your target audience and you know what they are most interested in by listening to them, you can get other people to start talking about your brand and communicating about it with others. You can become the go-to source for solving their problem.
Identify Happy Customers and Keep Them That Way
It’s always satisfying when you overhear someone paying you a compliment, isn’t it? Social media is the same way. You want to thank your customers for being brand ambassadors. So, it’s always the best practice to let your customer know you were listening and thank them for their intervention.
Find and Create Remarkable Content
After listening to the pulse of your industry, you will be able to create some content that your audience finds relevant and share-worthy. This is similar to how all major influencers already do it. If you’re not quite ready to be the creator of all things noteworthy, the next best thing is to find and share useful content that others in the industry have created.
Convert Your Unsatisfied Customers into Satisfied Ones
You will inevitably run into an unhappy customer on one of these social media sites, and you will definitely want to address them head-on. People always want to know their frustrations are being heard, especially if it’s the company that they’re unhappy with.
Once you find and engage with these unhappy customers, you can take the conversation offline and apply whatever reputation management processes your company has in place.
Get Feedback on Products
Social listening also helps you identify potential issues early in a product’s lifecycle. Track your brand name’s mentions, and if someone posts a bug about your product, assign the issue to your development team so it can be fixed as quickly as possible.
Then, respond directly to your customer to nurture transparency. If feasible, use your personal email account rather than your company account to show the human side of your business.
How to use social listening to identify and track competitors
Social listening can be a valuable tool for identifying and tracking competitors. By monitoring social media for mentions of your competitors, you can learn about their strengths and weaknesses, their marketing strategies, and how customers perceive them.
Here are a few tips for using social listening to track competitors:
- Identify your key competitors. Who are the other businesses that are targeting the same customers as you? Once you know who your competitors are, you can start tracking them on social media.
- Set up social listening alerts. Many social listening tools allow you to set up alerts so that you are notified whenever your competitors are mentioned on social media. This can help you stay on top of what they are doing and how customers are responding to them.
- Track key metrics. Pay attention to metrics such as the number of mentions, engagement rate, and sentiment for your competitors. This data can give you insights into their social media performance and how they are perceived by customers.
- Analyze the data. Once you have collected some data on your competitors, take some time to analyze it. What patterns do you see? What are they doing well? What could they be doing better? This information can be used to improve your own social media strategy.
How to use social listening to measure the success of marketing campaigns
Social listening can also be used to measure the success of your marketing campaigns. By tracking social media mentions and engagement for your campaigns, you can learn how people are responding to your messages and what content is resonating most.
Here are a few tips for using social listening to measure the success of marketing campaigns:
- Identify the keywords and hashtags that you are using for your campaigns. This will help you track mentions of your campaigns on social media.
- Set up social listening alerts for your campaign keywords and hashtags. This will notify you whenever your campaigns are mentioned on social media.
- Track key metrics such as the number of mentions, engagement rate, and sentiment. This data can give you insights into how your campaigns are performing and how they are perceived by customers.
- Analyze the data to identify what is working well and what could be improved. This information can be used to optimize your future marketing campaigns.
How to use social listening to manage crises
Social listening can also be a valuable tool for managing crises. By monitoring social media for mentions of your brand, you can identify potential problems early on and take steps to address them.
Here are a few tips for using social listening to manage crises:
- Set up social listening alerts for your brand name and other relevant keywords. This will notify you whenever your brand is mentioned on social media, including in negative contexts.
- Monitor social media for negative sentiment and negative mentions. This can help you identify potential problems early on.
- Respond to negative mentions promptly and professionally. This will show customers that you are taking their concerns seriously.
- Keep your customers informed of the situation. Provide regular updates on social media and your website.
- Use social listening to track the effectiveness of your crisis management efforts. Pay attention to sentiment and mentions of your brand over time to see if the situation is improving.
Tools to Monitor Your Brand Reputation
Google Alerts is a powerful tool for tracking your brand’s mentions, trends and other interesting topics across the internet. To create an email alert, type in your company’s name or the keyword you want to monitor. You can even use advanced operators in the search box for better results, just like you would in Google Search.
Search on Twitter
Twitter Advanced Search is often overlooked, but it’s a valuable tool for refining Twitter search queries and zeroing in on the people talking about your brand or competing brands.
You can use operators—and exclusion operators—to filter your results. There are also options for targeting a specific group of people or a geographic location.
Social Mention works in a similar way to Twitter’s Advanced Search, except you get results from all over the social media space in addition to Twitter. To get started, enter the keywords or topic you want to search for and select the type of results from the drop-down menu.
Use the advanced settings for more filtering options like geolocation and language. On the results page, your influence score is divided into four categories: strength, sentiment, passion and reach. You can also see your top keywords and brand advocates.
Tools to Create a Keyword List
Rather than just compiling a list of keywords by trial and error, use tools like these to make the process quicker and easier.
Keyword Tool gives you keyword ideas based on what people type into the Google search box. For example, if you want to track conversations about “social monitoring,” you may see suggestions like “social monitoring software” or “social monitoring service.” Of course, there are many other keyword tools you can check out.
Setting Up a Social Listening Team:
An effective social listening team requires a mix of skills:
- Social media monitoring – find and track relevant conversations.
- Analytics – analyze data and identify insights
- Content creation – respond with engaging social content
- Community management – interact with followers and influencers
- Reporting – document and present findings and recommendations
The team should include members across marketing, customer service, PR, and social media. Dedicated tools like a social command centre help streamline collaboration.
Comparing Social Listening Tools
Selecting the right social listening tool for your needs requires carefully evaluating various factors that impact functionality, analytics, integration, and overall user experience. Here, we provide a structured framework for comparing the key features and capabilities of top tools in this space.
Social Listening Tool Selection
We hand-picked a diverse mix of leading social listening platforms with a strong presence globally or in specific markets. The tools chosen provide an overview of established solutions and emerging innovators.
Key Comparison Metrics
- Platform Coverage – The variety of social networks and online forums monitored.
- Sentiment Analysis – Capabilities to analyze positive, negative and neutral mentions.
- Custom Analytics – Options to create customized reports and dashboards.
- Real-Time Alerts – Ability to set up alerts based on keywords, trends or metrics.
- Pricing Tiers – Free, standard, and enterprise pricing plans are offered.
- Integration – APIs and compatibility with other software platforms.
- Support – Training resources, community forums, and customer service.
- Ease of Use – User interface design and learning curve.
- Customization – Ability to tailor alerts, dashboards, and reports.
|6||Ipsos Synthesio||Global Brands|
|9||Sprout Social||B2B Teams|
- Hootsuite: Ideal for e-commerce, offering extensive platform coverage.
- Buffer: Suited for small businesses, known for ease of use.
- Brandwatch: Favoured by large enterprises for its advanced analytics.
- Awario: Great for solopreneurs, known for real-time alerts.
- Digimind: Suitable for growing teams, it offers custom analytics.
- Ipsos Synthesio: Perfect for global brands, it provides extensive integration.
- BuzzSumo: Ideal for startups, known for content discovery.
- Brand24: Cost-effective with good sentiment analysis.
- Sprout Social: Best for B2B teams, offers comprehensive customer service integration.
- Agorapulse: Known for user-friendliness and robust analytics.
- Keyhole: Renowned for hashtag analytics.
- YouScan: Ideal for market researchers, offering detailed sentiment analysis.
Each tool has unique features that suit different needs and organizational sizes.
Social Listening Tools and Systems FAQ:
Q: What are the main social listening metrics to track?
A: Volume of brand mentions, sentiment, reach, share of voice, key topics and themes, influencer profiles, and competitor activity.
Q: How much should a company invest in social listening?
A: Industry benchmarks range from $5,000-$30,000 annually, depending on needs and volume. Many tools offer free or low-cost plans to start.
Q: How often should we create social listening reports?
A: Daily monitoring with weekly or monthly analysis reports is recommended. Reports should synthesize insights and recommend actions.
Q: What social listening skills are most important?
A: Ability to analyze data, identify trends and insights, create engaging social content, community management, and storytelling.
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In a Nutshell
As you can see, there are multiple benefits of listening on social media platforms. You can’t miss out on this vital step in the tactical process, or whatever messages you send out will be nothing but white noise. No one likes to converse with someone who only talks about themselves. So be the one who listens. It will do nothing but reward you in the end. Interested in learning more about social listening? Why not invest in our agency’s digital training services.