What Is Social Listening?

If you were asked, “What is social listening,” would you know the answer? If you do not, you must learn how to implement a social listening strategy sooner rather than later. After all, how can you know what plans are working or what plans to implement if you are not analyzing what people are saying about your business on social media? Success comes when you listen before taking action. In this article, you will learn the answer to the question of what is social listening, as well as some great tools you can use to improve your social listening strategy. 

social media listening

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening, sometimes called social media listening, refers to the monitoring of social media platforms for mentions related to your business or your industry. This includes reviews, suggestions, conversations, and any other way someone might give you information about how customers are reacting to your business choices. You then analyze that information to make new plans or edit old plans. 

This information you collect through your social media listening efforts should affect what kind of content you post, how you interact with your customers and your overall strategy. An effective social media listening strategy monitors multiple social media platforms to understand how people view your business and makes reaching your goals easier.  

Social Media Listening

What is social listening going to accomplish for your business? Social media listening can be used to meet a variety of goals. You can find new ideas, monitor the success of a marketing campaign, gauge brand awareness, brand health, and customer service satisfaction as a result of the information gathered through social media listening.

New Ideas

Social media listening is a great way to generate new ideas. You can find new ideas through your customers and conversions within and about your industry. For example, a clothing company finds that many customers are talking about how cool it would be if the company’s most popular shirt came in blue. The company can implement a plan to release the popular shirt in blue. Sales of the shirts explode and the company achieves its profit goal. If they had not been monitoring social media, the company would have likely missed out on this opportunity. Pay attention to what people want and need. You might just find a sizable market that no one is serving yet. 

Monitor a Marketing Campaign

How is your recent marketing campaign resonating with your audience? Social media listening is a great way to find out. Perhaps you can find no messages about your campaign at all. This is a good indicator that it did not reach your audience as you wanted it to. Maybe you used the wrong platform or the messaging was irrelevant to your target market. Either way, now you know that you have some work to do to reach customers.

Are people abuzz about how inspiring the message of your campaign was, but can not mention a single thing about what your product or service is for? Now you can shift the message of your campaign to be clearer or start making plans for a new campaign with a more balanced message. 

Maybe people are talking about how cool your product or service is after watching an advertisement. What exactly are they talking about? Do they love how it looks, how innovative it is, or do they love it for a million different reasons? Even when a marketing campaign is a success, it is important to find out what people are saying about the product.

What is social listening if not a way to see if your intended message is getting through, being obscured by complex ideas, or a total success?  

social media listening strategy

Gauge Brand Awareness and Health

Social media listening can give you a good idea of how many people know about your business. Not only should you keep track of how many people are talking about your brand, but you should also keep track of how they are talking about your business. Just because they know that your brand exists does not mean that they see it favorably. Through social listening, not only can you gauge brand awareness, but you can also gauge the health of your brand by paying attention and measuring the amount of negative, positive, and neutral sentiments expressed on social media. 

Improve Customer Service

Find the most frequently asked questions about your company online. Are multiple people talking about the same problem they have with your business? Once you know what social listening is, you know that you not only need to monitor social media mentions but also take action informed by the gathered information. Answering questions and attentive customer service in response to negative feedback are vital. Communicate with customers and rectify the problems you can. Using social media listening to identify where customers need help will go a long way when it comes to establishing trust with your customers. It might even create life-long customer relationships.

Avoid Crisis

It might not be possible to avoid all public relations issues, but if you are actively social media listening, you should start hearing about negative public sentiment before it gets out of hand. From there you can find the root cause of the decline and address the issue. From there you can take steps to avoid similar mistakes.

social monitoring

Social Listening Tools

So now that you know the answer to the question, “What is social listening,” you are probably wondering what kinds of social listening tools are available to make the task easier. Below is a list of some of the best social media listening tools.

Hootsuite

You can use Hootsuite to monitor conversations, keywords, mentions, and hashtags. This platform has one dashboard for both monitoring and responding to mentions. You can also monitor your competition and connect with social media influencers.

Hootsuite has another program called Hootsuite Insights. This program collects data from sixteen billion social media posts a month that you can use to see what people are saying about your business and your industry as a whole. You can search for the relevant data and then filter it by date, demographics, and location so you do not have to wade through all the information yourself to find the most relevant. Hootsuite plans range from $49 to $739 a month.

Hubspot

Another social listening tool comes from Hubspot. They have tools to monitor interactions with your contacts, monitor keywords, and set up email alerts for whenever your prospects mention your business. Pricing starts at $890 a month.

Sprout Social

With Sprout Social, you can learn about your audience, monitor what people are talking about and the trends within those conversations with their social listening tools. Sprout Social has a feature called a Smart Inbox. With this feature, you can both monitor and manage engagement on social media from one place. Sprout Social starts at $89 per user per month.

Falcon

Falcon offers a variety of social listening tools. This social listening tool provides you with information surrounding trending conversations and topics, helps you identify trending hashtags to follow, and tracks brand name mentions. Falcon offers advanced filtering options to help you wade through all the information you have gathered. Falcon also marks mentions as positive, negative, or neutral to give you an idea of the general sentiment people hold toward your brand. You can set up alerts for trending topics, mentions, and spikes in mentions marked as negative to help keep you up to date on public opinion and know when you need to take fast action. Pricing starts at $129 per month. 

what is social listening

Brand24

Brand24 has a feed where you can see where and when your business is mentioned, making finding posts simple. Like Falcon, Brand24 marks different posts as positive, negative, or neutral to help you understand your company’s public perception and find problems before they spiral out of control. Not only can you see what people are saying about your brand, but you can also respond in real time. This cuts down the time it takes for your business to respond to issues and questions. It also generates charts to give you a visual representation of your mentioned volume. If you are interested in influencer marketing, Brand24 created an influencer score to help users find the right influencers to work with. Brand24 is a social listening tool for businesses of all sizes. Packages are $49 per month, $99 per month, and $199 per month.

Agorapulse

Agorapulse will find mentions of your business and help you search for keywords on Twitter. You can also tag important mentions. This social listening tool can be used with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Pricing starts at $49 a month for the small plan, goes to $199 per month for the large plan, and $299 per month for their enterprise plan. 

Start Social Listening

Now that you can answer the question, “What is social listening,” it is time to craft your social media listening plan. Once you discover what your target market wants, needs, likes, dislikes, and feelings about your brand and industry you can start creating and meeting goals based on this information. The more you know what people are saying about you, the more likely your future marketing endeavors are to find success.

FAQ:

  • What are social listening tools?
  • How does social listening work?
  • Why is social listening important?
  • Can social listening help you find ideas?
  • How is social listening measured?

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