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Social Listening: What is it, Why it's Important, & Benefits

Have you ever really listened to your customers talk about your business or industry? Sure, you’ve seen comments or conversations online of customers talking about what they love about your brand… a product, an offering, a post. Or maybe you’re tracking feedback and posts about things your audience wishes were different. Well, that’s what social listening is all about.

What is Social Listening and Why is it Important? 

Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels and looking for mentions of your brand, your products or services, your competitors, and more. Social listening is an incredible tool and becoming increasingly more valuable. 63% of social media marketers believe social listening will become even more important with the next upcoming year. It allows you and your business to track, analyze, and respond to conversations held online about your business - both good and bad.

Social listening offers an opportunity for your business to make positive changes by listening to what your customers have to say and making adjustments. Paying attention to your social media channels, in general, is important. 54% of social browsers use social media specifically for product research. Maybe, there’s a downside to one of your products that a lot of your customers are complaining about. Don’t be discouraged! Social listening is your opportunity to listen to your customers and make a change. You want to show customers, new and potential, that you care about what they’re saying and want to make your business the best it can be for them.


Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring 

Social listening can seem awfully similar to social monitoring, but they’re actually quite different. Social media monitoring looks at the basic metrics like brand mentions, relevant hashtags, competitor mentions, and industry trends. Social listening looks at those metrics, but the more important part is taking action and that’s what makes it such an amazing tool. Social listening can really be broken down into a simple, two-step process. 

Step 1: Monitor various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for mentions of your brand and its products or services, your competitors, and other keywords that may be associated with your business. You can listen for product names, brand names, hashtags, common issues that lead to your solution, and more. Think as your current and prospective customers!

Step 2: Take a step back and take a hard look at the information you collected and begin analyzing the data. Consider how you can use the information to make changes or take action to make improvements. It could be something as simple and small as responding to a happy customer review or something bigger like making tweaks to your product or service. 


6 Benefits of Social Listening: 

1. Brand Reputation and Loyalty

When you take the time to respond to customer reviews, good and bad, you’re showing customers that you care about their opinion and their experience with your company. Social media is a great way for businesses to handle customer service complaints because it's all out in the open. Your brand has the opportunity to be totally transparent and authentic with customers which can keep people coming back. Answering a complaint on social media can actually increase customer advocacy by 25%. 

2. Social Media Strategy 

If your business is looking to really improve its social media strategy, social listening could be the key. 71% of social media marketers say they’re able to provide better consumer insights from social media channels to other departments within their business. Utilizing social listening can help your business determine what kind of content your audience wants to see. Not only that, but it also can help you see what platforms are creating the most engagement and are most actively used by your buyer personas

3. Performance Measurement

In addition to helping your business perfect its social media strategy, social listening also is great for measuring overall performance. Social listening can help your business measure tactics on other campaigns. It offers the ability to measure quantitative metrics, like volume of conversation or number of mentions, as well as qualitative (the amount of good and bad reviews). When launching a new campaign or marketing effort, pay attention to mentions of your brand or product before and after the launch. This can help you further determine which content is effective and which content is not. You can also make adjustments to your campaign content in real-time by taking the feedback and making changes. 

4. Product Development 

One of the best benefits of social listening is the ability to receive direct customer feedback about what your brand is doing, the content it's creating, and the products it's developing. Take a look at the feedback your customers are offering you and think of it as you would a focus group. Social listening can help you discover valuable insights and help you to adjust your direction with various campaigns. Plus, customers want to feel like their opinions are valued! Customers who feel truly engaged by various companies on social media will spend up to 40% more time with them.

5. Competitive Insights 

Social listening can also help you take a closer look at the competition in your industry. It can aid in discovering common problems customers have with competitors or within your industry in general. When you really pay attention to what people are saying, you can get ahead in the industry by leaning into feedback, conversations, and competitive analysis.. Your customers will take notice of your adjustments and see your business as more attractive and that you really care for your customers. This can also help you find new customers and opportunities for your business.

6. Get Inspired

Social listening can also help you follow brands that are also popular with your customers. See what those brands are doing right and what adjustments you can make to mimic their efforts. You can also follow brands you aspire to be like. Maybe these brands are forward-thinking or stay on top of trends well. Using social listening to keep tabs on other brands can help you get inspired to make changes within your business. Look for brands that are doing things you want to try out and learn from them


How to Get Started

There are a number of great tools and resources available - both free and paid - that your brand can take advantage of to make social listening a little bit easier. These include:

All of these tools can help your brand track keywords that relate to your business or mentions of your brand. Instead of aimlessly searching, these resources can pinpoint where, when, and how customers are talking about your business. 

Social listening can be an extremely powerful and beneficial strategy that can help develop deeper relationships with customers and better your business overall. Take a look at the various resources and tools to see what people are saying about your business today!

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Topics: Social Media Marketing, Marketing Strategy