Marketing & Branding Advice

What Is Social Listening?

Social Listening

Social media accounts – like websites – are not “set it and forget it” propositions. Not only do you need to continue to create great content for your social media channels, but you also need to practice social listening.

Social listening involves not only monitoring your company’s social media channels for any feedback or questions but also paying attention to industry trends and using those insights to make better marketing decisions.

Listen to your industry

Social listening enables you to stay on top of industry trends. 

Is there a subject of concern in your industry? If you’re paying attention to the conversation, you can jump in with thoughtful comments or perhaps write an article which addresses the subject. By listening and responding quickly, you can establish your company as a thought leader in the industry.

Listen to Your Competition

Use social listening to monitor your competition to see what works and what doesn’t.

Since you are speaking to a shared audience, identify the content your competition is sharing that outperforms yours and make adjustments. The point isn’t to copy their strategy but to look for ways to differentiate yourself.

By listening to what competitors are saying about themselves as well as what others are saying about them, you can learn what they are up to in real-time. You can find out about new opportunities and threats as they happen so that you can plan and respond accordingly.

In some cases, monitoring your competition may even create an opportunity for a mutually advantageous collaboration.

Listen to Your Clients

According to research done by Sprout Social, 83% of social media users appreciate it when brands respond to questions, and 68% appreciate it when brands join conversations, so pay attention to faithful followers. Mention them in comments or go on their social media accounts and like and follow them. These small interactions will make a huge impact.

Social listening also helps you address PR disasters before they get out of hand. If the general feeling about your company or industry is down, you can quickly identify the cause and react quickly.

How to Do It

Most social media platforms have built-in methods for social listening:

  • Follow your competition on their social media channels
  • Follow industry-specific keywords/hashtags
  • Join industry LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
  • Set up a Google alerts or others (see below) for your company name and names of key people in your organization, and your competitors

Advanced Social Listening Tools

If you want more robust social listening, these three tools offer more comprehensive monitoring:

Keyhole allows you to track keywords or hashtags across Twitter and Instagram and to monitor brand mentions across blogs and news sites.

Mention tracks every major social network, as well as blogs, forums, news, and review sites to give you real-time alerts from the last 24 hours.

Brandwatch is a Hootsuite app which allows you to monitor 95 million online sources to see what people are saying about your company or brand.


By performing social listening, you can respond quickly to changes in the industry, create opportunities to establish your company as a leader, and keep an eye on your brand health.

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