What is Social Listening in Marketing?

Social listening in marketing is the practice of monitoring your social media channels for conversations around your brand and making informed, strategic decisions with that information. By practicing, you are analyzing direct mentions of your brand, mentions of your competitors, reviews of your products or services, and customer comments or feedback. 

Social Listening Best Practices

Social listening can be a powerful part of your strategy, but how to do it effectively?  Here are our five best tips:

  1. Set Clear Goals. As with any project, you should set some goals and metrics by which to measure your success. Goal setting will also help you identify the specific keywords or audiences for which you are listening.
  2. Cast a Wide Net. Engage in social listening on all platforms! The conversations around your brand will vary by the platform on which they are happening. By casting a wide net, you can get a larger picture of your brand’s perception on social.
  3. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work. Applicable teams within your company or organization should be collaborating on social listening. From your social media team to your customer service team, having the appropriate teams on board will reduce hiccups in the listening process and produce a more efficient customer experience.
  4. Keep Your Eyes on the Competition. Social listening can be a great tool for keeping a close eye on what competing brands are doing well and, perhaps most importantly, doing poorly. By including your competitors in your listening, you can learn from them and stay apprised of industry trends.
  5. Plan for When (or When Not) to Engage. Through social listening, you can quickly engage in conversations with your audience and provide timely, useful feedback. It is also important, though, to understand when not to engage or when to simply apologize. Having a plan in place can help your team decide which response route to take.

Using Social Listening to Build Your Strategy

Now that we understand what social listening is and the social listening best practices, let’s talk about how it relates to your overall strategy. When implementing it into your overall strategy, it’s important to think about the goals you want to achieve. Keep the following social listening objectives in mind:

  1. Connect with your audience. Your audience expects your brand to engage on social media and they want to feel heard by you. According to Sprout Social, 83% of users reported that they like when brands respond to questions. Using social listening best practices, your brand can respond in a valuable manner.  In providing a thoughtful response, you can better connect with your audience and build their affinity with your brand.
  2. Improve the experience with your brand. Not only can social listening help you build a better connection to your audience, but it can help inform improvements to the experience users have when they interact with your brand. For example, if your followers had a bad experience with online shopping, they might post about it online, but when implemented according to best practices, you can address the issue, respond in a timely manner, and correct that issue. Over time, this type of listening can help you identify opportunities for improvement to your brand experience. 
  3. Find new content opportunities. Social listening can help you discover what pieces of content are resonating with your audience. More importantly, though, it can help illuminate what other types of content your audience likes. Using it to monitor your competitor’s pages, for example, can highlight the types of content your users are engaging with outside of your channels.
  4. Increase your acquisition and grow your brand. Social media listening is not just limited to your social media strategy.  You can use it to inform your website, email, and digital strategies as well. Using the learnings to improve your overall content offerings will, in turn, help you acquire more customers. The more relevant the content is to your specific audience, the more likely you are to be able to draw new customers.

Your 2021 Strategy Starts Now

By adopting social listening and implementing social listening best practices, you can begin to optimize your marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond. Social listening is a powerful tool that you can leverage now to help you produce better content and a better experience for your audience.

Best Social Listening Tools

There are tools that you can implement to increase your social listening with your audience. The benefits of these tools are endless, however, depending on your industry, audience, and brand, you will want to figure out which one(s) are best for your business.

  • Hootsuite offers a social media marketing and management dashboard to help build and grow relationships.
  • AgoraPulse offers a Social Inbox to easily find and manage comments and mentions.
  • Sprout Social offers an all-in-one social media management platform built for connection.
  • HubSpot offers management software designed to help you connect and prioritize social interactions.

If you are still unsure about how to implement social listening into your strategy, our team at Serendipit can help you learn how to leverage it to craft a digital and social experience like no other! Contact us to learn more about our social media services.

Written by: Lynda J, Social Media Account Manager