Julia Miashkova
Julia Miashkova 19 February 2020

How To Use Social Media Listening For Market Research and Social Selling

Social media is the largest database of consumer insights. Social media listening is, therefore, the most sure-fire way of doing solid market research. By tracking all mentions of your brand and competitor brands on the web, you can boost social selling, research your market, and draw a whole slew of data-informed insights. In this post, we're breaking this down to 5 simple steps.

Sharing marketing wins and needs with management can be tough. No matter how well-received your recent social media campaign has been, it needs to translate into measurable results in order to be endorsed by the company in the long run. 

I’d give you more examples if you weren’t so familiar with the struggle yourself: as long as it’s not in revenue, communicating your successes to business owners might not trigger the reaction you hoped for. So how do you talk marketing in KPIs? By using social listening tools that measure your brand performance while doing solid market research and social selling.

Whatever experience you’ve had with social listening, there’s always more to it. Tracking and analysing mentions of your brand on social networks and the web pays off in very real benefits:

  • Continuous reputation monitoring;
  • Reliable competitor intel;
  • Actionable product feedback;
  • Instant customer support;
  • Spot-on lead generation, and much more.

Put simply, with billions of people going online to talk about the products and services they’re using, social listening is just about the neatest way to do market research and social selling, fast.  

Let’s dive deeper into the use cases of social listening to see exactly how much difference it can make to your marketing work.

1. Continuous reputation monitoring 

If there’s one unquantifiable metric that speaks right into every business owner’s heart, it’s reputation. It’s no coincidence that creating a professional brand is step 1 in achieving social selling success. Social listening tools let you measure and keep track of any fluctuations in your reputation, reacting to crises before they blow up.

If anything, customers are apt to share their bad experiences with a company online. Keeping tabs on the sentiment of conversations around your brand allows you to make sense of any revenue slumps and take action when it’s required.


Sentiment analysis example

At any point of your marketing campaign, you can refer to social media monitoring tools for quick insights on how you’re doing across platforms. It might be that the least resource-demanding platform is the most impactful — insights like these let you save resources and make better informed strategic decisions.

2. Reliable competitor intel

Getting to know your competitors and what they’re up to is the cornerstone of market research. Use social listening tools to get a list of your competitors, measure their market share by looking at the share of voice they have, and get a full picture of your competitive landscape as a result.


Share of voice for airlines 

Once you know your most powerful competitors, tune into conversations around their products to find out what customers like and dislike about them. Examine real user feedback on the most advertised features to see if there’s anything you can learn from your competition’s mistakes (spoiler: there always is). 

Most social listening tools offer intuitive reporting for easy sharing of competitor intel with all stakeholders — use it to communicate your findings to the team. Ultimately, social listening will help you refine your Unique Value Proposition and cover the market segments overlooked by your competition. 

3. Actionable product feedback 

Say, your company launched a new product but the sales aren’t exactly what was anticipated. Most certainly, somebody is in deep investigative mode already, crossing every imaginable mistake off the list. While they’re on it, turn to social media monitoring tools to fetch customer feedback on any given feature you have doubts about.


Design-related conversations around Samsung Note 10

Search your product mentions for any keywords that can give you insights. Packaging, colors, design — no detail is too small when it comes to discussions on social media. You can even conduct comparative research to see how your product stands up against similar products on the market. 

For step-by-step instructions on comparative product analysis using social media monitoring, check out my Samsung vs. iPhone social listening study

4. Instant customer support

More often than not, happy customers means good business. Also true, no customer care team, however outstanding, can cover every user request, especially outside of the traditional support channels. Definitely not as fast as the customers expect it to be.   

Social media listening tools let you minimize both average response and resolution time by tracking all mentions of your brand, including misspellings — any language, any platform, in real-time. 

Better yet, conversations are sorted by priority so that you first see the mentions that need your most urgent feedback, which you can provide right from the app. You can also opt for daily or weekly email notifications to get all your mentions in the inbox.

5. Spot-on lead generation

Unless you sell literal ice to polar bears, somebody is looking for a product or service like yours even as you’re reading this. Chances are, they’re doing it online. Social listening tools are equipped with lead detecting functionality, bringing potential customers directly to you.

Lead detecting example

Once you have your leads, you can start engaging with them: either publicly by replying to their posts or via private messages. The most important thing here is to get in touch with your potential customers before your competitors do. 

Naturally, it’s not only B2C you can cover with social media monitoring tools. Possibly the most inspiring social selling results one can find is IBM’s 400% increase in sales. Even if you’re not exactly IBM budget and resources-wise, you can still learn from its success and run B2B research using social listening for your company as well.

Final thoughts

Market research is the groundwork done by every business owner. It is also a continuous process that happens to be the golden mean of both marketing and business analytics, i.e. a place for marketers and business owners to work together and hear each other out.

That said, social media is where you find most, if not all, of your customers. Therefore, it makes all the sense to go out there and engage in conversations around your industry, brand, products, and services, generating leads and doing social selling as you go.

With the analytics that social media listening tools provide, you’ll be able to communicate KPI-driven insights to the management and measure just how much your marketing efforts translate into sales.

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