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Social listening Guide

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

Social listening guide

A comprehensive toolkit of insights, tools and benefits to social listening

Social media is invaluable for any companies marketing strategy enabling them to connect with their target audience, gain insights and stay ahead of the competition. However, merely having a social media presence is no longer enough.

To really utilise the power of social media, companies should embrace social listening. In this blog, we will explore the concept of social listening, highlight some popular tools available and delve into the remarkable benefits it brings to businesses.

Understanding social listening

Social listening is the process of monitoring and analysing online conversations and discussions across various social media platforms. It allows businesses to gain a deeper understanding of their audience's sentiments, preferences and needs.

By tracking mentions, hashtags and keywords related to their brand, industry or competitors, companies can extract valuable insights that can guide their marketing strategies, product development, customer service and more.

Tools for social listening

There are numerous tools available to simplify the social listening process and make it more effective. Here are a few notable ones:


Hootsuite offers a comprehensive social media management dashboard that includes listening capabilities. It allows businesses to monitor brand mentions, track industry trends and identify influencers across multiple social networks.


Brandwatch is a robust social listening tool that provides in-depth analytics and sentiment analysis. It helps businesses identify emerging trends, monitor brand reputation and measure the impact of their social media campaigns.


Mention enables real-time monitoring of brand mentions, social media activity, and competitor insights. It also offers sentiment analysis and collaboration features, making it an excellent choice for teams.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social offers a suite of social media management tools, including social listening. With its intuitive interface, businesses can monitor brand mentions, track relevant keywords and engage with their audience effectively.


Talkwalker provides advanced social media analytics and listening capabilities. It offers sentiment analysis, influencer identification and comprehensive reporting to help businesses derive actionable insights from social conversations.

Benefits of social listening

By incorporating social listening into their strategies, companies can unlock a range of benefits including customer insights, brand reputation management, competitive analysis, influencer marketing, crisis management and product and service improvements.

Social listening allows companies to gain valuable insights into customer preferences, needs, and pain points. By understanding these insights, companies can tailor their products, services and messaging to better meet their customers' expectations.

Companies can proactively monitor and manage their brand's reputation. By tracking mentions and sentiment, they can address customer concerns, respond to feedback promptly, and take appropriate actions to protect and enhance their brand image.

Monitoring competitors' online activities and customer interactions means companies can identify gaps in the market, track industry trends and benchmark their own performance.

Identifying influential individuals within a target audience becomes easier with social listening. Businesses can connect with relevant influencers to amplify their brand message and reach a wider audience, building credibility and driving engagement.

In times of crisis, social listening becomes even more critical. By actively monitoring conversations, companies can detect potential crises early, address issues promptly and manage public perception effectively.

Social listening helps companies gather real-time feedback on their products and services. By analysing customer conversations, businesses can identify areas for improvement, address pain points and enhance their offerings to better meet customer needs.

Social listening benefits

Steps to getting started with social listening

Define your objectives: Clearly identify the goals you want to achieve with social listening. It could be understanding customer sentiments, monitoring brand reputation, identifying industry trends or tracking competitor activities.

Choose the right tools: Research and select a social listening tool that aligns with your requirements and budget. Consider factors like data accuracy, real-time monitoring capabilities, sentiment analysis, and reporting features.

Identify relevant keywords and topics: Determine the keywords, hashtags, and topics that are relevant to your brand, industry and target audience. These will serve as the basis for monitoring and analysing conversations.

Set up listening queries: Configure your social listening tool to track and collect data based on the identified keywords and topics. Fine-tune the queries to exclude irrelevant noise and focus on the most valuable conversations.

Monitor mentions and engage: Monitor brand mentions across various social media platforms and engage with users who mention your brand. Respond to queries, address concerns and show appreciation for positive feedback. This proactive approach enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Track competitor activities: Keep an eye on your competitors by monitoring their social media presence and customer interactions. Analyse their strategies, learn from their successes and failures and identify opportunities to differentiate your brand.

Analyse sentiment and themes: Use sentiment analysis tools provided by your social listening platform to understand the overall sentiment associated with your brand, products or industry. Identify common themes, issues or trends within the conversations to gain actionable insights.

Generate reports and extract insights: Regularly generate reports based on the collected data to gain a deeper understanding of your audience, brand perception and industry landscape. Look for patterns, emerging trends and areas for improvement. Extract actionable insights that can drive informed decision-making.

Iterate and adapt: Social listening is an ongoing process. Continuously monitor and assess the results of your efforts and adapt your strategy accordingly. Stay updated with new social listening tools and techniques to enhance your capabilities. The links within the tools sections all have blogs and resources on their websites which can be a great way to keep up to date.

social listening process


Social listening has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to gain valuable insights, manage their brand reputation and outperform their competitors in the digital landscape. By actively monitoring online conversations, businesses can tap into the wealth of information available on social media platforms.

Through social listening, organisations can gain a deeper understanding of their target audience's sentiments, preferences and needs. This knowledge allows businesses to tailor their marketing strategies, improve their products and services and enhance the overall customer experience. By actively engaging with their audience and addressing their concerns, companies can build stronger relationships, foster brand loyalty, and drive customer satisfaction.


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