Social Listening: What It Is & How to Incorporate It Into Your Strategy

Are you familiar with social listening?

76% of marketing professionals today say that data drives marketing success. Without it, it’s nearly impossible for businesses — even small ones — to compete.

Sometimes data comes in the form of numbers. You have your statistics, traffic increases, number of shares, conversion rates and revenues. But if you’re only looking at the numbers, you’re missing out on the more human side of data.

That’s social listening.

It’s hearing what the people are saying socially. It’s looking for the trends and opportunities in a sea of noise. It’s leveraging what you find to grow your business.

Let’s explore how to incorporate this more human side of data into your marketing and business strategy.

What Is Social Listening, Exactly?

You’ve been using social media for business for a while. So you’ve likely come to a very important conclusion. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — they’re not just places to broadcast your message.

That doesn’t work!

Instead, listen first. Listen often. Learn about your audience. Social listening is the efficient, data-driven way to do that.

Find out things like… What are their common problems and goals? What do they really think about Product X? How do people compare you to the competition?

Make smarter, more cost-effective decisions when it comes to your customers and business. But don’t confuse social listening with tracking your mentions.

It’s not synonymous with reviewing Facebook analytics to see which posts are most popular.

It goes beyond that. It involves using advanced software to follow relevant social media conversations. You then gather from it useable data on which you can make data-driven decisions.

This is how some of the most successful social media brands create that enviable level of social media success everyone wants to achieve.

Why Do You Need Social Listening?

Popular brands like the one you strive to be are bombarded with messages, comments and mentions. The more popular your brand is, the more interactions you have.

On top of this, just focusing on your own profile is too narrow. You need to know what’s happening across your:

  1. Industry

  2. Region

  3. Target audience culture

  4. Competition

As you can imagine, doing this manually would take endless hours!

Not only would you be sifting through millions of posts in search of important information. Even a team of people could only review a fraction of the information. You’d be leaving a lot on the table.

Automating your listening is essential to getting the most usable data in the most efficient way.

social listening

All of this social chatter influences buying decisions. According to a Sprout Social survey, 74% of people say that social media is a primary driver when they make a purchase.

And even more interestingly, 92% of people trust an opinion of your brand from another consumer on social media over whatever you might say about it.

social media stats

Knowing what people are saying about you has never been more crucial for business success.

When you listen through social media, you hear things customers would never “say to your face” — the good, the bad and the completely embarrassing.

If you don’t know what they’re saying, you run the risk of becoming that unfortunate kid in middle school with the “kick me” sign taped to the back of his sweater.

What you don’t know can hurt — a lot.

Social Listening Impact on Marketing & Your Brand

Use social media listening to:

  1. Track overall brand health & adapt

  2. Build content that your audience can’t get enough of

  3. Get ideas & Develop your next big marketing/ad campaign

  4. Keep your social media marketing and other marketing strategies on course and delivering results

  5. Identify & leverage your competitive advantage

  6. Better track the competition’s efforts to undermine your brand

  7. Increase brand awareness and improve brand sentiment

  8. Improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your branding and marketing efforts

  9. Optimize your ROI!

Social Listening Impact on Business

In the real world, you can’t fully separate marketing and business. But it’s helpful to see how listening impacts the business as a whole.

When listening to your audience on social media, you not only make better decisions in regards to social media.

What you discover may influence broader business decisions like: