Your Ultimate Guide to Social Media Listening

Macy is a Content Writer at WebFX. With a Content Marketing Certification, she's an expert in crafting pieces filled with the facts about all things digital marketing. You'll find many of her pieces featured on UpCity's Top Digital Marketing Articles of the Week. When she isn't clacking her keys, she's wondering why her dog is so cute. Follow her on Twitter @iinfinitestorm.

Did you know the average user spends 28% of Internet time on social media? With so much chatter on these social media platforms, you have a prime opportunity to see what people say about your brand. With social media listening, you can better understand how people feel about your brand and what you can do to improve your connection with your audience.

On this page, we’ll cover:

  1. The social listening definition
  2. Why social media listening matters
  3. How to do social media listening

Keep reading to learn more, and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list to get the latest tips and tricks for marketing your business!

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Social listening definition

So, what is social listening? Social listening is when you track social media mentions, comments, and conversations about your brand, products, and industry keywords.

By analyzing social media listening and mentions, you can understand how people feel about your brand and use that information to improve your products, services, and customer experience. When you do social media listening, you implement changes to improve the experience for your audience. Take the game developers from Apex Legends as an example: They constantly listen to feedback from their community and use that information to improve their game and make it better.

The developers don’t just apologize for the problems, but instead, listen to what their community says on social and takes action to provide the experience their audience wants.

Social media listening vs. social media monitoring

When you ask, “what is social listening” and get the answer, the next follow-up question is typically “what’s the difference between social listening and social media monitoring?” Social media listening and social media monitoring are closely intertwined, but they focus on two different aspects of watching social media.

Social media monitoring focuses on looking at data related to your business, like brand mentions, engagement rate, or hashtags. When you do social media monitoring, you focus on what people say about your brand and how they’re saying it. You spend time engaging to resolve individual users’ problems.

Social media listening takes the engagements with your brands and looks deeper into the meaning and mood behind these engagements. This strategy doesn’t focus on the number of people mentioning your brand, but rather, why they’re mentioning your brand or how they feel about your brand. Overall, social media monitoring focuses on hard data and what people say about your business, whereas social media listening focuses on why people say what they say about your company.

Why social media listening matters

Social media listening is fundamental to help your business connect with your audience.

Here are five reasons why social listening is critical to your company’s success online.

1. You understand how people feel about your business

Social media listening helps you know how people feel about your company. Understanding your audience’s perception of your brand is fundamental to your company’s longevity. If you don’t know why people feel a certain way about your brand, you’ll never make room to improve!

You can investigate the positive comments about your business and gain better insight into what people love about your company. Keep track of negative comments to understand what frustrates your customers about your company. Monitoring how people feel about your company helps you understand where you’re succeeding and falling short, so you can improve your brand to provide a better customer experience.

2. You learn what people want from your brand

It’s one thing to be heard, but a completely different thing to be understood. You can easily acknowledge someone’s issues with your company and try to resolve it, but if you don’t listen to the root of the problem, you won’t know how to grow or change. For example, let’s say you own a clothing store, and you find a couple of people complain on social media about your one line of jackets and how they’re horrible.

After doing some digging, you find that customers keep saying the zipper breaks off after a few wears. If you were doing social media monitoring, you’d reply by apologizing and offering to replace the product or give them a refund. You’re providing a quick solution to keep the customers happy.

On the other hand, social media listening would involve going deeper into the root of the problem. You listen to what they’re saying about the zippers breaking off and investigate the issue yourself. You come up with a solution to alter the product so that future customers don’t get frustrated.

When you do social listening, you can understand why people say what they do about your brand or what’s frustrating them and create more opportunities for your brand to grow and get better.

3. You gauge your brand’s health

If you never listen to what people say about your brand, how can you know where you stand in your customers’ eyes? By doing social listening, you understand if people view your brand positively or negatively and what’s causing them to feel that way. Knowing this information is valuable to understanding your brand’s position in the market.

If you find that people view your brand favorably, you can compare that to your competition to see where you stand. When you know your brand’s health, you can take tactful steps towards building a more positive perception of your business.

4. You learn how people feel about your competitors

In addition to understanding your brand’s position in the market, social media listening also enables you to see how people feel about your competition. This insight is valuable to your business because it can help you learn more about what your competition is doing and how your audience perceives them. You can learn if your audience is launching new products or running new campaigns.

Additionally, you can discover if they’re amid a public relations crisis and people aren’t looking favorably at their brand. Learn what people say about your competition and how they feel about the brand. If you find certain aspects people feel negatively about your competition, you can use that as an opportunity to outshine your competitors. For example, let’s say that one of your competitors is getting many negative comments lately.

After looking around, you find that many people are complaining that their orders keep coming late from this company. By doing social listening, you discover that people are feeling unhappy because they want to get their products immediately.  To build your brand more favorably, you decide to start marketing your fast, 2-day shipping to appeal to customers looking for a company that ships products fast. You could sweeten the deal by highlighting some reviews of people who complement your fast and on-time shipping.

By doing social listening, you can outperform your competition by listening to people’s problems with your competitor’s business and providing a favorable option for them instead.

5. You learn where your audience struggles

Social media listening provides you with a prime opportunity to see where your audience is struggling. You can listen to their problems and find a way to solve them. Social media listening enables you to identify pain points for your audience.

Where do they need help, and how can you provide it? When you listen to your audience’s pain points, you can better address them. Additionally, you can learn what’s not working for customers.

You can learn if you need to tweak an existing product or if you need to add a feature to resolve problems. It’s an excellent way to listen to what your audience is saying and put changes into action.

How to do social media listening: Two quick tips for social media listening

So, you’re ready to start doing social media listening. Here are two quick tips for doing social media listening for your business.

Select the right keywords for listening

If you want to do social listening right, start by choosing the right keywords to find what people say about your brand.

You can choose numerous keywords related to your business, including:

  1. Brand name
  2. Your company handles
  3. Your product names
  4. Your slogan
  5. Branded hashtags

You’ll also want to monitor keywords related to your competitor’s, too, such as:

  1. Competitor’s names
  2. Competitor’s social media handles
  3. Competitor product names

Additionally, you can monitor other keyword terms like:

  1. Industry-related terms
  2. Unbranded hashtags

Find the right tools to do social listening

Doing social listening on your own can be a time-consuming task. You must search keywords every day to comb through posts and see what people say about your business. Social listening tools can help make this process easier One of the best social media listening tools is Hootsuite.

Hootsuite enables you to see comments and brand mentions across different social media channels. When you use a tool like Hootsuite, you can track all your interactions in one place. You can input your specific key terms and track them all through Hootsuite.

So, instead of having to search individual terms each day, you can set up your Hootsuite account to monitor these terms and get mentions automatically in your feed. By having all your social mentions in one place, you can expedite the social listening process. Instead of spending time looking for what people say about your brand or how they feel about your brand, you can get that content curated for you, so you can start listening and taking action.

If you want to make social listening easier for you, find a social listening tool like Hootsuite to help you keep your listening organized and easy to track.

Get started with social media listening today

Social media listening is paramount if you want to keep your customers happy. When you listen to what your customers say, you can better serve their needs and make changes that enable you to deliver a better experience. As a result, you’ll have more satisfied and loyal customers.

If you’re ready to start social media listening but don’t have the time to dedicate to do it, WebFX is here to help. We have a team of over 450 marketing experts that can help you do social listening. Our team of experts knows how to create campaigns that help your business grow and thrive online.

We’ve driven over $3 billion in sales and over 7.8 million leads for our clients in the past five years alone. Want to get a comprehensive social media campaign that includes social listening? Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our social media services!

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