What is Social Listening and Why is it Important?



Do you know what your customers are saying about you online? If not, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your business. Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand or keywords that are relevant to you. This can help you track customer sentiment analysis, find influencers, and even launch real-time marketing campaigns.


Social media has become an incredibly important part of marketing and communications strategies. Still, it can be challenging to determine how to make the most of social media without understanding social listening. Social media listening allows you to understand what is being said about your brand online, as well as giving you the ability to engage in conversations, track social media mentions, and measure your social media performance.


Social media gathers a lot of unstructured data. You can see how many times you've been retweeted or how many likes your post got, but it doesn't address the bottom line of why you've been retweeted. Social media listening helps you understand this data and what it means for your business.


What is Social Listening?


Social listening, or social media listening, is the act of monitoring your brand's social media presence and analyzing that data to benefit the bottom line. You may be using social monitoring in your social media marketing strategy, but if you're not implementing social listening, you're missing out on an opportunity for growth. According to HubSpot, it can be difficult to determine how to make the most of social media without understanding social listening. Social listening isn't just reading what people say; it's hearing what they're saying and realigning your sails to get in front of new potential customers.


Social listening doesn't only take place on social media platforms. It also encompasses any digital channels where your customers or target audience might talk about you, such as forums, review sites, and blogs. Social media listening tools make it possible to track these conversations in one place so you can get a holistic view of what's being said about your brand online.


There are several metrics with which to measure outcomes of social listening. The social media monitoring tools you use will likely have different capabilities, including which social networks they will analyze, but some things you may want to measure include:

  • Mentions of your brand

  • Content creation

  • Brand awareness

  • New product development

  • Pricing

  • Customer experience


Ensuring that you know what you're listening for is just as important as the act itself. Having goals in place for your social media marketing strategy is vital. Once you know your goals, you can develop social listening metrics to track progress. Social listening should be part of any solid brand strategy.



Why is Social Listening Important?


Social media listening is vital for businesses who use digital marketing (which should be all businesses)! It can provide valuable data that can be used to improve your social media strategy, content creation, product development, and so much more.


There are many benefits of social listening, but some of the most important ones include:


Improved customer experience: By understanding what customers say about your brand online, you can make changes to improve their experience. This could include anything from changing your pricing to developing new products. Social media listening can help track your customers' feelings about your brand.


Plus, people love it when brands respond to them. Engaging with followers or friends is a great way to make your brand relatable and personable. People want to buy from people, not corporations. The more aware you are of customer feedback, the more you can learn and improve.


Increased brand awareness: Social listening can help you track social media mentions of your brand and even find potential customers. Using social listening tools, you can track when people mention your brand or industry keywords and then engage with them.

This is valuable because it allows you to start a conversation with someone who may not have heard of your brand before. It also allows you to keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand so that you can quickly address any negative sentiment. This is brand monitoring and can help you maintain your brand reputation.

Social media listening can help you identify social media influencers – people who have the ability to influence your target audience. These people can be valuable partners in promoting your brand. Influencer marketing has garnered a lot of attention lately, and for a good reason. More and more brand names are engaging in influencer marketing, making it a rising trend.


Improved marketing strategy: Social listening provides valuable data that can be used to improve your marketing strategy. This data can be used to understand industry trends, pain points and even create targeted marketing campaigns. By understanding social media conversations, you can quickly adapt your marketing strategy to address negative sentiment or take advantage of new opportunities.


For example, if you see that people are mentioning your brand concerning a particular pain point, you could create a marketing campaign specifically addressing that pain point. By addressing these pain points, you're able to garner more attention and eyes on your brand.

Improved social media presence: Social listening data can be used to improve your social media presence. This includes understanding which social media channels potential customers are using and what kind of content they respond to. You can use this data to create more effective social media posts and even find new influencers to partner with.

All businesses should aim to have a solid online presence, including social media. While you don't have to be on every platform, you should actively listen on every platform you use. If you're not using social media listening as part of your social media marketing strategy, it's time to implement this.



Social Listening Tips


Now that you understand social media listening and its importance, it's time to learn how to do it. Here are a few social listening tips:

Choose the right social platform: Not all social media platforms are created equal. When choosing which social media platform to use for social listening, consider which one is most popular with your target audience. This is where solid market research comes into play. As part of your business strategy, you should know who your target audience is through thorough market research.


For example, if you're trying to reach millennials, you might want to focus on social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. If you're trying to reach Baby Boomers, Facebook might be a better option. Once you've chosen a social media platform, it's time to start listening.


Monitor key social media metrics: Once you've chosen a social media platform, it's time to start monitoring key social media metrics. This includes things like social mentions, hashtags, and even demographic data. All of this data can be used to improve your social listening strategy.

When you have the key social media metrics you're monitoring; the next step is to gather the data. This can be done manually or with social media monitoring tools. Once you have the data, it's time to start analyzing it. Social media analytics can be applied to this data as well.


Analyze social media data: The next step is to analyze social media data. This data can be used to understand social media conversations, identify social media influencers, and even track brand mentions. All of this data is valuable in social media listening.


When analyzing social media data, it's essential to look for patterns and trends. This data can be used to improve your social media strategy and even create targeted marketing campaigns.


Create a social listening strategy: Now that you understand social media listening and its importance, it's time to create a social listening strategy. This strategy should be tailored to your specific business goals.


Your social listening strategy should include things like which social media platform you will use, what kind of data you will collect, and how you will analyze that data. Creating a social listening strategy ensures you get the most out of social media listening.


Engage with Your Audience: One of the most critical aspects of social media listening is engagement. When you're engaged with your audience, you can build relationships and even create brand ambassadors.

By engaging with your audience, you're able to understand their needs and wants. This data can be used to improve your social media strategy, product development, and even marketing campaigns.

Consider using social listening tools: Social listening tools can make the social listening process much easier. These tools can help you track social media conversations, monitor key social media metrics, and even engage with potential customers.

Social Media Listening Tools


There are several social listening tools designed for tracking social media. Some of the most popular include Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and BuzzSumo.


Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps businesses grow their social media presence. It provides users with social media listening, engagement, and analysis tools.

Sprout Social: Sprout Social is a social media management software that assists companies in growing their social media presence. It offers users tools for monitoring, interacting with, and analyzing social media content.

BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a social media monitoring tool that businesses use to measure critical social media metrics, engage with customers, and track conversations.


HubSpot: HubSpot is a social media management software that helps businesses with social media listening, engagement, and analysis. It offers users tools for social media monitoring, interaction, and measurement.

Social media platforms themselves are starting to offer more tools for social listening. For example, LinkedIn has a social media monitoring tool called Pulse that businesses can use to track social media conversations and even engage with potential customers.

Like every digital marketing tool, it's essential to do your research. Consider what you're looking to get out of social media listening before investing in any social media monitoring tools. What may work for us may not be the best fit for you, so take advantage of the free trials these companies offer.


Looking for more digital marketing advice? Check out our Favorite Free Marketing Tools for Business Owners!