Brad Chuck
Brad Chuck 9 March 2021

A Marketing Guide to Social Listening

In marketing, listening and monitoring has become an essential way of discovering the true feedback of your brand, your business service and your people.

Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone, either in business or life. By listening, we are learning and understanding the fundamental voice of a collective subject matter. We listen to reply with considered judgement based on what we have heard.

In marketing, listening and monitoring has become an essential way of discovering the true feedback of your brand, your business service and your people.  By creating a social listening strategy, you are able to measure the performance of social media, press, PR and product and service feedback. This information then becomes the route of your public response to market changes.

Still with me?

Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and much, much more.  Social listening gives brands an opportunity to track, analyse, and respond to conversations about them on social media and other digital platforms. It's a crucial component of audience research that is the backbone of your company market research strategy. 

Listening vs Monitoring 

Both are equally important and part of your listening strategy, but for simplicity: Monitoring tells you what, listening tells you why. I see no reason to create separate templates for both, the ends justify the means after all. Both social listening and monitoring are critical for brand performance, as there’s not a totally black and white distinction between the two - it’s a spectrum spanning the two. 

Importance of Listening 

Social listening refers to analysing the conversations and trends happening not just around your brand, but around your industry as a whole, and using those insights to make better marketing decisions. It helps you understand why, where and how these conversations are happening, and what people think—not just when they’re tagging or mentioning your brand.

This helps you form future campaigns, improve content strategy and messaging, outpace your competition, construct an effective influencer program and even build more impactful brand partnerships.

While social listening provides many amazing opportunities, Let us boil it down to 5 key use cases that our customers leverage most frequently:

  • Brand health: Gauging the public perception of your brand or products.
  • Industry insights: Analysing discussions or hashtags within an industry.
  • Competitive analysis: Analyse a competing brand or product.
  • Campaign analysis: Report on how a campaign is resonating.
  • Event monitoring: Monitor audience response to a conference or event.

Listening to your Consumers

Social media is so much more than a way to amplify your message—it’s a powerful listening device that your whole company can learn from.  It’s important to understand the difference between social listening and social monitoring, how to build these simple processes into your routine, how to use social monitoring for competitive intelligence, and how to choose social media technology to fit your business needs. 

Your customers are your lifeblood, the ones who use your products and services and therefore the ones you must listen to in order to woo and gain new customers. Is the customer always right? Perhaps, but with the power of social media persuasions, we need to be alert and ready to solve problems that customers create with open-sourced comments.

Getting Started with Social Listening 

Once you have identified your reasoning for social listening, you need to invest time and money into certain tools that can support your marketing methods.  The ones I suggest are based on experience, but also market recommendations and use for tracking social media, press, PR and customer feedback.

A number of ‘Free’ SaaS tools in the market that are supporting listening efforts - these include:

  • Brand24

Brand24 helps you monitor online mentions about your brand, product, or service, and measure the results of your PR campaigns. Slack integrations and a notifications system will help you react in time to prevent a PR crisis. FREE for 14 days.

  • ANewsTip

ANewsTip is a media search, monitoring, and relationship management tool. You can use it to search media mentions by keyword or handle, reach out to journalists and influencers all over the world, and create a media database of important PR campaign contacts. It offers both paid and free plan options.

  • Google Alerts

Google Alerts is an easy-to-use, free tool that allows you to set up email alerts for certain keyword mentions. When a name, keyword, or link is mentioned online, Google sends you a digest email alerting you of the mention.

  • Mention

Mention helps you track who’s mentioned your brand in media and on social media. You can also use this tool to publish on your social media and manage crisis communications. It offers both free and paid plan options.

  • Monitor Backlinks

Monitor Backlinks is a free tool that helps you track who’s mentioned your brand in coverage and includes a backlink to your site. It’s also valuable for monitoring and disavowing bad backlinks and keeping your website’s SEO and domain authority at its peak.

  • SharedCount

SharedCount shows you engagement data for any social media, blog, or website URL. Once you input a URL, the tool will tally its likes, shares, comments, and other engagement measures. It offers both free and paid plan options.

Is Social Listening Right for my Brand?

The simple answer is yes; no matter the size or impact of the brand, service or product you are responsible for, you will always want to know where the market is going and who is following it.  

The huge advances in digital transformation have produced advanced tools that can support the process of 'listening in' on open social conversations.  There is nothing taboo about it - after all, our friends at Google, Apple, Facebook et al have been listening for years...

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