Social Listening 101

The online world is full of chatter that can give brands a sneak peek into how they’re being perceived by consumers. So how can these conversations be tapped into and monitored for the most useful insight? Two words: social listening.


Think of it like a comprehensive strategy for effective eavesdropping. By monitoring what’s happening on social media channels, such as social networking sites, blogs, forums, and news sites, companies can understand who their customers are and what they’re saying, what’s going on with competitors, overall brand sentiment, and much more.

Sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it?


Let’s Get Started

Before you jump headfirst into the world of social listening, consider your strategy. These questions can help:

•  What type of information are you monitoring for?
•  What social media channels are you going to monitor?
•  How much time is going to be dedicated to monitoring?

Once you have a strategy in place, you will want to find the right tools to get the ball rolling. Here are a few free (yes, free) tools to get you started.

Google Alerts: Track brand mentions and trends and get updates via email alerts. Just type in your company’s name or keywords you want to monitor.

Social Mention: The Social Mention platform searches user-generated content allowing you to track and measure what people are saying about your company across the web in real-time.

If your company is willing to invest some money, you’ll have more options and be able to gain deeper insight. Our current favorite is…

Synthesio: The Synthesio platform offers social media monitoring and in-depth analytic capabilities.


“Social Listening is like a free focus group!”


Once you have your strategy and tools in place, it’s time to get to listening. Here are a few areas where you can reap some major benefits.

Customer Support

Go beyond providing support on owned channels and listen for potential issues across the entire social landscape. For example, if someone is on Twitter and uses your brand name, but doesn’t tag (# or @mention), you might not see it. Through listening, you can set up a query to identify potential problems or frustrations your customers might be experiencing.

Sample query: [brand name] AND “not happy” OR “help” OR “frustrated” OR “problem”

TIP: Track common misspellings of your brand name to pull in posts you might normally miss.

Generate Leads

Similar to identifying potential customer support issues, use social listening to identify potential new customers and generate leads.

Sample query: [brand name] AND “want” OR “need” OR “buy”

Positive Community Engagement

Find additional opportunities for positively interacting with your customers or potential customers. When appropriate, join in on the conversation.

Business and Product Development

Guess what? Social listening is like a free focus group! You can hear exactly what people are saying about your company or product and use this valuable information to make improvements.

For example, if your company sells sunglasses and you notice that people are saying the lenses keep popping off a particular style of glasses, you can bring that insight to your product development team to see if there are improvements that can be made.

Competitive Analysis

Get a pulse on how your competitors are doing by taking a deep dive into what their customers are saying. Is the sentiment negative or positive? This information can help guide your company strategy.

The saying is true: Knowledge is power. And with all the nuggets of wisdom you can gather from social listening, you’ll be seeing the payback in no time.

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