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Social Listening

Updated: Jan 11, 2023


Social listening is an opportunity for you to track, analyse and respond to conversations that are happening on social media. This might be about your business, a particular product or service, your industry or competitors.

If you think about being in a shop and two customers are talking amongst themselves about your products. Stood in a busy shop, listening in is an opportunity to get feedback and understand what people are thinking. As you hear the conversations you might make notes, look at how you can make changes or promote a certain product based on that conversation. You are tracking, analysing and responding to these conversations.

Social listening is a process of analysing information you collect through your social channels and using this information to guide your future strategy and make change.

Its OK to be posting on social media and answering customer questions but what are you learning from this? How can you enhance your business with the information on social media?

Customer relationships

Many customers are now jumping to social media to ask questions about companies, find opening times, get support or make a complaint.

It can be hard to keep on top of these so social listening tools can help to find these conversations and highlight them to you. This helping you respond in a timely matter and resolving any concerns before they escalate.

Customer want to feel like they are being heard by companies, they like to engage with brands and feel important. By interacting with customers on social media like this they are more likely to then go on a make a purchase with you. Also it can help to increase brand loyalty and retention rates.

Crisis management

As social listening is tracking conversations real time it can alert you to a sudden increase in topics and brand mentions. This helps you to gather more data and insights so when a problem does arise its easier to jump straight on this and stop it from escalating further than is needed.

Quickly jumping on any negative conversation that is building can help to prevent a PR disaster. As this happens look at the conversation, analyse what the concern is and try to plan your response. Avoid jumping straight in with a quick reply as this can escalate concerns, instead reply swiftly but with time for thought and clear action.

Tracking competitors

As well as understand what people are saying about your business you can also track what people are saying about your competitors and what your competitors are doing.

Listening to your competitors lets you see when they are launching new products, different marketing campaigns they are running and when they have a sale for example. This gives you the ability to see threats and opportunities for your business and respond accordingly.

social listening

Sales opportunity

Social listening can enable you to quickly hear when someone is talking about a particular concern your product or service can assist with. This gives you the opportunity to quickly respond with helpful information and guidance which could potentially turn into a sale.

Remember though this is probably someone you have never spoke to before so don’t go in for the hard sale tactics, instead give advice, offer support to show your knowledge and reputation.

The more you can listen into conversations and respond quickly the more connections you will build and the more trust you will gain by sharing knowledge.

This section links into social selling, read our blog post on this topic by clicking here.


By monitoring conversations in your industry you can identify who the influencers are around different topics or subject areas. Connecting with these people and responding to their posts can have a big impact on your own accounts.

People who don’t necessarily follow you or know your business will see your comments and if you post on a regular basis will then begin to follow you as well and build trust with you.

Different conversations for different channels

Each social media channel you manage can have a different audience and create different reactions to what you post. We all know we shouldn’t be posting the same content on each channel but all too often this is done.

By using social listening you can see where a particular concept or topic would be better accepted and engaged with. For example, you might post about hacks, tips and share quick snippets of information on Instagram, Facebook might be about more local events and Twitter for business changes.

By listening to what’s happening around these topics and tracking them you can then analyse your findings and make changes to post the right conversation on the right channel.

Top tips for social listening

To round up this topic I’m going to leave you with 6 top tips on social listening and how you can get started.

1. Create a plan of action before you start monitoring, understand what you are interested in and why. Don’t try take on everything at once try to break this down, plan and focus on one area at a time.

2. Collate data on these topics and analyse it on a regular basis to understand what you are learning. As you go along you might need to tweak keywords – adding additional ones you find or removing irrelevant keywords.

3. Create actions and goals from the data so you are learning, making change and then improving your delivery.

4. Benchmark - Before you put your actions into place make sure to take a benchmark so you can see whether the change is successful or not and the impact it has had.

5. Analyse - Share the data with your team and get different peoples views. There might be something that stands out to someone in a different department about how they can help or create different viewpoints.

6. And the last one - repeat the cycle. Once you have tracked, analysed and responded then repeat the process for another concept. New trends appear and people’s opinions change so social listening will always be a learning tool.


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