Hello from the other side: What is social listening?

Social listening is one of those magical, marketing buzzwords that seems to hold the key to customer information, new sales, and social engagement. But what is it? Whether you’re a new digital marketer or a seasoned business owner, understanding social listening (and knowing how to use it) can be a powerful tool in your toolbox. We know that wading through the myriad of marketing blogs and platforms can be daunting, so we’ve stripped down the jargon and confusion to give you the real deal on social listening.

What is social listening?

Social listening is a common marketing practice that involves auditing and collecting information your customers are saying about your brand online. This may include capturing comments about your brand on social media, cataloging reviews, combing through news articles, or monitoring blog posts. Often times, companies will score each comment based on whether it’s positive or negative, and whether it’s coming from an influential source or an insignificant channel. Social listening can give business owners insight into the types of brand associations their customers are organically building by considering who is speaking most frequently (i.e., mommy blogs vs. trade journals) and what their conversations are about.

What do you use social listening for?

Knowing whether your customers and prospective customers have a positive or negative opinion about your products, and what other products they’re comparing them to, can give you a clear picture into whether you’re effectively communicating your unique value proposition. Understanding who your customers are talking to and where they are discussing your products can also help you target a better, more valuable audience and serve them information and content where they are already surfing the web. This information allows you to address customer service issues, generate leads, and encourage viral sharing depending on how you respond to your findings. Social listening gives you an inside look into your customers’ mindset and helps you interact when them in a more authentic way.

Start listening in now

Although there are many tools that can help you conduct your own social listening, such as Hootsuite, the best, most reliable option is to partner with a social marketing agency. Agencies often have access to multiple listening tools, so you’ll get a broader, more holistic picture of the conversations taking place. Every good social marketing agency also has a team of experts monitoring and interpreting data as it comes in, so you can quickly and appropriately respond to positive or negative turns in the conversation. They can make recommendations on how to best respond, and tailor your future marketing campaigns to your customers’ needs.

Buzzwords aside, social listening is truly and incredible way to understand your customers’ psyche and learn how to interact with them. The process is easier than it seems, but immeasurably powerful when put to good use. They say that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason; and this maxim is especially true on the internet as you combat the endless stream of clutter and noise that might otherwise distract your customers…so contact our team of social strategists today to get listening and start learning!


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