What Is Social Listening and Why It Is Important

social listening

Do you know what social listening is? When we were young, our parents and teachers would tell us: “Listen before you speak”. It turns out that it was very good advice, not just in interactions with others on a personal level, but also in business. Today we will teach you how to listen to your prospects and your intended audience. This is called social listening.

What Exactly Is Social Listening?

Some business owners and marketers believe that social listening and social monitoring are one and the same thing. They are not. With social monitoring, you will find out how people feel about your business, your brand image, your products, and services. Social listening will help you understand:

  • What your prospects talk about in general
  • What hot topics they are focussed on at the moment
  • What they would want to get from companies in your niche
  • How they feel about your business and your competitors.

As you can see, this will offer you a broader image of what your prospects are doing, talking and searching online. To give you a better understanding, social monitoring helps you react to what happens in the cyber world. With social listening, you can be proactive – come up with marketing messages, products, services and promotions just at the right moment, when people want them, not when they complain about their absence.

How Do You Perform Social Listening?

Since you cannot spend every moment of the day or night online, you cannot personally listen to what happens in cyberspace. Instead, you will need tools to do that for you. Some of the most popular tools are Sprout Social, HubSpot, HootSuite and Agorapulse.

But, what exactly do you search for? How do you perform it? There are several things you can do. You can monitor relevant keywords for your field of activity and get notifications when they appear in relevant conversations and curated content. You can discover micro-influencers that generate a lot of traction with their social media posts on a topic of interest. Also, you can monitor what social media users say about your brand and about your competitors.

Reasons to Perform Social Listening

Now, if you are still not convinced, here are just a few reasons why you should consider including social listening among your marketing activities.

1. Your Followers Love to See Instant Responses

Social listening helps you identify questions asked by your followers across various social media channels. When they tag your business name in a question, the social listening tool will notify you. And you will be able to give a prompt reply, instead of waiting until the next day when you check your social media pages.

2. Take the Pulse of the Market

Are your prospects happy with the products and services available right now? Would they be open to a new product, a new brand? Many companies decide to speed up and delay the launch of a new product based on the information they get from social listening.

3. Discover New Product Ideas

When people post freely on social media about what they would want from a product, the tool will pick up that conversation from the keyword. Thus, you can get an amazing idea for a new feature to add to your product or even a whole new product idea.

4. See How Your Competitors Rank in Preferences

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most popular of them all?” There is no magic mirror to tell you how popular your competitors are with your target audience. But social listening will give you a pretty accurate idea.

5. Monitor the Image of Your Own Brand

Last, but not least, it helps you identify problem areas: unhappy clients or even disgruntled former employees who are trying to trash your brand image. Thus, you can perform damage control as soon as possible and minimise the negative impact of these actions.

As you can see, this is one of the simplest and most effective ways to understand what your customers and prospects want and to give them what they want, when they want it and in the manner they want it. And, since the greatest part of the work is performed by software tools, you won’t be spending more time than usual with digital marketing activities.