What is social media listening and how to use it

Social media listening is a very important part of your social media plan. In the past, disgruntled customers would have to send an email or a letter to a company regarding its poor service or problematic products. They were never likely to get a favourable response and would mostly express their unhappiness to their friends and people around them. Disgruntled customers posed a very small threat to businesses.

However, with the creation of social media, this has changed drastically. Disgruntled customers are not likely to send you an email or make a call and wait to make a complaint. They are more likely to take to social media to let people know about their bad experience. If the experience is bad, people are going to share it and as more people share it and becomes viral, this will damage your brand image.

Consider how bad taxi driver behaviour is being reported. There are pages on Facebook dedicated to posting videos about bad traffic behaviour. These videos typically can garner about 50 – 100 000 views. This makes it hard for the taxi companies to ignore and typically have to give a response to the video about what they intend to do.

Social media listening basically means to prowl through all the interactions a business has on social media and identify the negative ones and respond as quickly as possible to diffuse the situation.

But how do you go about social media listening?

Tracking the right things

Beyond just tracking your mentions on twitter and comments on Facebook and Instagram, businesses need to be tracking keywords that their customers might be using. Consider that 30% of all tweets mentioning brands do not even tag the brands at all! Monitoring your mentions are great but you might be missing out on some 30% interactions. This does not include spelling mistakes that customers might have when tagging your brand. Tracking your mentions and direct interactions is not enough. There are many social media listening tools that you can use to find out what people are saying about you. Simply add in phrases such as “your brand isn’t working” and you can begin tracking any interactions that go along with that phrase.

Another benefit of tracking these phrases is getting a chance to communicate with potential customers. If you are a printing company, you might search for “Which printing company is the best?”. Replying to these type of messages helps build your brand awareness to potential companies. Always search for mentions of your brand, product or service in order to really find out what customers are saying about you.

Monitor your competition

Although not exactly social media listening, social media monitoring can help you to see what your competitors are doing on social media and creating better content than them. It also gives you a chance to see what works and what isn’t working. Understanding their campaigns gives you a unique opportunity to create campaigns to counter them. Social media is the first-place businesses post updates on prices or new products. Effective monitoring keeps you prepared for production opportunities.

Improve your product or service

Customers take to social media to let their friends know what they think about a product or service. Even though they might not be unhappy with the product or service, they might have some valuable insight as to how to improve your product and service. Listening to your customer and making the necessary changes improve your brand image. People love brands that listen to them and interact with them


People follow influencers because they lead a lifestyle that they want to lead, or they are well-respected individuals. Customers trust these people and listen to their recommendations. However, you should not choose to work with influencer simply because they have a high follower count. Look into the influencers to see if they can fit into your brand image and are they likely to want to use your product. Influencers who genuinely use your products will likely have an audience that would use your product as well. Find these influencers, engage with them and build a relationship with them.

When done right, social media listening can help you to identify opportunities to get ahead of your competition. Always make sure you clearly list your objectives and find tools that can help you with them

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