Social Media

Think You’re a Good Listener? Your Social Media Followers Might Disagree

What does word of mouth mean in a world that’s more interconnected than ever? Everything. It literally means everything for brands. And brands that aren’t tracking their online rep can’t contribute to their own narrative. They also miss opportunities better listeners don’t. 

We often pride ourselves on being communicative, raconteurs even, but as we navigate the landscape of online conversations, the question arises: do you consider your brand to be a good listener? Your social media followers may disagree.

What is social listening? Social listening is the umbrella term for keeping an ear to the ground, being aware of how your brand and its products are being talked about online. Its tracking brand mentions, customer feedback, hashtags, and even broader industry trends that relate to what you do. 

Social listening allows brands to understand their audience and improve campaign strategy by accessing the full array of conversations around a particular brand and/or industry. In fact, over half of the most memorable brands on social media respond to their customers.

The Importance of Social Listening


Instead of assuming the wants and needs of your customers (and we all know what happens when you assume), social listening gets you their actual thoughts and sentiments.

By tuning into user’s conversations, brands gain actual, first-hand insights into customer preferences, allowing a tailored approach based on real feedback rather than assumptions.

There are so many benefits to social listening we can only list a few, because who has the time? Alright, let’s get into it. 

Boost Customer Engagement 

Brands that respond to customers on social media foster loyalty and increase the likelihood of purchase. Engaging with the audience on social media is one of the key factors that defines a brand’s reputation online. 

It’s important to remember it’s not JUST about responding, it’s about being thoughtful and providing value to users and customers. 

Don’t just click the heart button or give a retweet to positive feedback: really answer their questions and address their legitimate concerns. 

Address Negativity Head-on

When customers were asked where they prefer customer care came from, social media was the most popular answer by almost 10%.  

People don’t want to call a number or send an email (they definitely don’t want to go into the store: that was the least popular answer, at 5.3%). Customers are on social media a lot, 2 and a half hours a day according to the latest data, and they don’t want to go to another platform to register their dissatisfaction. 

While it feels scary to acknowledge negativity about your brand, ignoring it is much, much worse. Being open and honest with your audience creates authenticity, it often solves the problems the person is complaining about, and it shows everyone watching that you care about quality. 

Also, knowing where the jagged bits of your product are first-hand gives you a strategic advantage: you can get ahead of the problem faster than brands who aren’t listening. 

Monitor Audience Behavior

Social listening helps brands understand their target audience, and tailor their marketing efforts and strategy to audience preferences. 

There are tons of tools to help monitor your audience. Brandwatch, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Mention are all platforms that let you dig deep into what your audience is doing online, and how they’re spending their time. 

Tracking Competitors

All brands are tracking their competitors in one or another, but social listening is going to give you the most accurate data on how your counterparts are fairing in the marketplace. 

Tracking your competitors on social is key for identifying opportunities, learning from their communication strategy, and measuring your brand’s visibility and receptiveness in comparison.

Integrating Social Listening

Here are four quick tips for integrating social listening into your overall digital strategy, and why you want to.

  1. Gain valuable insights into online conversations about your brand. These conversations will help you identify trends and patterns.
  2. Stay ahead with real-time tracking of brand mentions. Consolidating information in one accessible platform helps you acquire authentic and relevant feedback to inform your brand strategies.
  3. Track the volume of online conversations and changes in sentiment. Conducting this kind of market research will help you generate insights to guide your overall business strategy.
  4. Use what you hear to create custom content. Content tailored to your audience’s wants, needs, and pain points enhances engagement. 

Integrating even a few of these strategies can have a massive, measurable, and immediate impact on your brand’s perception and customer satisfaction.

Keep the Conversation Going

There’s no nice way to say this: if social listening isn’t a major part of your strategy, its like stuffing cotton in your ears.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, or you’d like to go more in-depth on social listening strategies, click the button below to get in contact with one of the intelligent, good-looking people at Inspira Marketing today. 

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This article has been published in the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Marketing Knowledge Center. Click here to visit their blog.


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