Defining social listening and why it matters

Engaging with consumers via social media is more than just designing creative posts. If your primary social media strategy is only focused on generating the most likes, followers, comments, and shares there’s a missed opportunity to capture key data. While posting effective and valuable content on your social media channels is certainly an important component, you should also prioritize social listening.

According to HubSpot, social listening is defined as “the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries.” Sounds simple enough? Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes companies don’t realize the importance of regularly attending to their social media channels that they fail to prioritize engaging with their customers or simply don’t allocate the necessary resources to do so. Consequently, with the growing demand and now expectation of quick responses, this could be detrimental to your brand image and reputation.

Benefits of Social Listening

While there is certainly an investment of time that comes with social listening, the benefits are well worth it. By listening to the sentiments posted on social media, your brand may uncover insights you would’ve never expected. From their comments, likes, or even lack of a response to your content, social listening goes beyond just providing quantitative data. You are now privy to qualitative data that explains more of the why, which can help drive new product ideas, improve the customer experience, and uncover previously unknown needs that can lead to a shift in your current marketing strategy.

Real-Life Example

A great example of a company that utilized social listening to adjust its marketing strategy is Ben & Jerry’s. Upon review of their mentions on Twitter and Instagram, they started noticing that several people were posting images of eating their ice cream during cold or rainy weather while also watching Netflix. Rather than following common sense of associating the pleasure of enjoying ice cream when it’s sunny and hot, this opened up a new avenue for Ben & Jerry’s to explore weather forecasting as part of their marketing strategy. Not only that, but this new discovery led to their successful ice cream flavor called Netflix & Chill’d.

Why it Matters

As you can see, there are several benefits and areas of opportunity for your business to grow by using social listening. If you’ve determined that social media is a vital component of your marketing plan, employing the use of social listening tools has become a necessity. With 83% of consumers stating that they want brands to respond to them on social media and 68% want brands to respond to conversations they are mentioned in, you can see that your company’s response or lack thereof will make a statement. If you have several different social media accounts it would be nearly impossible to keep track of everything manually. Make it easier for yourself and your team by using one of these tools to help you keep track of every mention and reference of your company in one place.

As with anything, there are limitations as far as the data that you’ll be able to collect, however, this is a great tool to capture valuable insights you otherwise could’ve missed. In the digital age, consumer expectations are heightened so you must stay relevant and alert to any mentions about your company. Don’t forget to use this as a chance for you to connect, engage, improve, and hopefully even get inspired (like Ben & Jerry’s) to create a brand new product that your customers love!