Social media listening is keeping tabs on how your customers and leads feel about your product, brand, and competitors. It implies monitoring and analyzing brand mentions, competitor mentions, hashtags, trends, discussions, and reviews to unlock valuable insights and act on them.

In this article, you'll get to know why social media listening matters, the way it differs from social monitoring, uncover its types and learn how to make the most out of social listening tools.

Why is social media listening important?

Think about your favorite coffee shop or bakery. What makes it special? Maybe its staff remembers your name or even your favorite drink, or they know how much sugar you add to your coffee, or are interested in your preferences and allergies to offer you a dessert you're likely to enjoy. Or, they are just not indifferent to your opinion about all these things. One way or another, they care and do their best to provide the best customer service.

Social media listening allows you to do just that without missing any social media information you could use to your advantage. Analyzing how users feel about your brand provides the following benefits.

  • Immediate interaction. Special tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite enable marketers to track their brand mentions on socials. This makes it possible for you to interact quickly with users, provide customer support, react timely to their complaints and negative feedback.
  • Revealing unmet customers’ needs. Monitoring keywords and hashtags related to your industry allow you to find out clients’ pain points that are not solved yet. Keep track of the social media sentiment of your customers to discover their feelings about your brand. If the sentiment is down, you can get to know the reasons and take action immediately.
  • Forecasting hard times for your brand. Luckily, you can predict a crisis before it overtakes your company. Social media listening implies keeping tabs on sentiments. So, if you manage to find out about negative reviews and bad feelings regarding your brand early, you’ll be able to prevent a catastrophe for your company.
  • Analyzing competitors. Knowing how people feel about your competitors is just as important as what they think about your company. Analyzing their campaigns, product releases, and social media strategy will help you uncover their strengths and weaknesses and use the data obtained in your strategy.
  • Discovering prospects. When monitoring your brand and product mentions on socials, you’ll uncover the segment of potential clients who are interested in your services but still have some doubts. These leads may ask questions about your brand in their posts to collect feedback from subscribers who have already worked with your company. The great news is that you can detect these prospects, provide them personalized help, send a demo, make a relevant offer, etc. This is your chance to turn more leads into clients.
  • Identifying brand advocates. While analyzing all the discussions, mentions, and hashtags connected to your brand, you may encounter frequent buyers and people who adore your brand. Satisfied customers are generous with praise. Once you find them, show that you appreciate them, give thanks, make special offers, and offer collaboration.

As you see, social media listening provides businesses with tons of pros. Before you implement this strategy, you need to start with social media monitoring. Let’s make the difference between these two approaches clear.

Social Media Listening vs Social Media Monitoring

These terms are closely related to each other and are implemented together. Still, they have differences.

Social media monitoring is the first step to understanding your customers. It means monitoring brand mentions and competitor mentions, hashtags, and trends to have a clear picture of your brand on socials. Tracking ROI and creating A/B testing campaigns are two primary goals of social media monitoring. Marketers using this approach are generally interested in customers’ engagement towards their brand.

Social media listening implies looking behind the engagement metrics and brand mentions. With the help of this strategy, you can find the answers to questions like “Why are customers feeling this way about our product?” This feeling is called social media sentiment. Tracking it is essential for social media listening. Brands use the data collected to improve their marketing campaigns, customer services, and brand development.

So, both approaches are crucial for maintaining healthy relationships with your audience. Now you might be interested in how to get started with this process. So, let’s consider this.

How to do social media listening?

Since social media monitoring is prior to social listening, it is your starting point. To analyze any data, you need first to collect it.

To make the process less challenging and time-consuming, consider using social media listening tools. While choosing one, make a list of social media platforms you want to gather data on. They can include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc. The more channels you choose, the more helpful data you’ll manage to aggregate, hence, draw more accurate results. Then, find a multichannel tool that can find data across all the platforms. This way, you’ll save money and time since each service requires some time to understand how it works.

To set the ball rolling, you need to create a list of keywords relevant to your business. They should include the following:

  • your brand name;
  • product name;
  • company hashtag;
  • hashtags related to your industry;
  • campaign-specific hashtags;
  • names of your CEO, spokesperson, and other top managers;
  • your slogan;
  • industry keywords;
  • common misspellings of everything mentioned above.

After you add keywords to your tool, the process is launched. You’ll get to know the sentiment around your brand, mentions, comments, reviews, frequently asked questions, discussions, and other insights that you can use to your advantage.

Get to know whether people mention your brand positively or negatively. The majority will reflect the real situation of your brand on socials. If there are a lot of negative mentions, analyze the reasons. Whether these are the problems with your product quality, customer service, or marketing campaigns, take action.

Find out what people admire about your brand. This data will be the key to improvement. You’ll be able to enhance your benefits and invest in things your customers love about your company.

Reveal your clients’ pain points. Firstly, focus on your company’s customers. Monitor the issues they face when dealing with it and react immediately. Then, check out the pain points of your competitors’ clients to be at the right time with your help. Consider assigning a person responsible for tracking these customers on socials. This way, you’ll manage to solve problems quickly and show that your brand cares.

Identify your clients’ frequently asked questions. They will help you understand what common issues they face and fail to find answers on your account or website. Create a list of FAQs and let your chatbot answer them to free up your customer support team. With SendPulse, you can create a chatbot for Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Telegram for free.

Now that you know how to get started with social media listening, let’s look at the 5 most popular tools.

Top 5 Social Media Listening Tools

In this section, we’ll introduce you to the best social listening tools that will help you obtain priceless insights into your brand performance.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a powerful platform for building and managing your relationships with customers on social media platforms. With this service, you can organize your work and ensure a smooth workflow when working with your social accounts. You can create content, publish and schedule it, get in-depth reports, and keep track of analytics.

The social listening tool of Sprout Social enables you to get a deeper understanding of your customers with the help of a user-friendly service. You can get data about your brand, industry, and competitors, identify brand health and customer sentiment. The service makes it possible to find out your brand advocates, opinion leaders and connect with them.

If you are thinking about launching a new product, you can collect user feedback and ideas to create something really valuable. With Sprout Social, you can find out industry gaps and evaluate your opportunities to increase your market share.

Below you can see a customer dashboard on Social Sprout. You can find out sentiment trends in this section.

Sprout Social

Source: Sprout Social

Hootsuite

Hootsuite provides a platform for social media monitoring and social listening. It allows you to manage your profiles on several social networks from one place. Hootsuite offers features for engaging with your customers, scheduling posts and messages, collaborating with your team, delegating messages to the right specialists, monitoring what clients say about your company and competitors, and precise analytics.

From your dashboard, you can quickly respond to your brand messages on several social networks and create a list of leads, most important clients, and influencers to contact them. With Hootsuite Insights, you can discover the sentiment about your brand. ReviewsTrackers is a Hootsuite app that makes it possible to track reviews about your brand on more than 50 sites and share them on socials.

Check out the Hootsuite dashboard below. You can see the several columns in the Steams section. Streams represent the feed of your social media networks connected to Hootsuite.

Hootsuite

Source: GetApp

Brandwatch

Brandwatch is a social media analytic tool that allows you to keep tabs on conversations about your brand on social networks, blogs, forums, news to get a clear picture of brand perception, trends, and influencers. The platform provides smart AI to get deep consumer insights from 100 million sources.

With Brandwatch, you can identify your brand health, monitor brand mentions, and real-time changes in customer sentiment. The platform makes it possible to analyze the trends of your industry even if your brand is not mentioned and improve your brand messaging based on unstable consumer perceptions.

Brandwatch warns you about the impending crises with real-time alerts. This way, you won’t miss any disastrous brand mention and be able to act immediately. You can share helpful reports, insight screens, and email updates with any team member to keep them in the know.

Below you can see an example of market analysis that you can get in your BrandWatch account.

Brandwatch

Source: Brandwatch

Agorapulse

Agorapulse is a social media management platform that helps you keep track of all your messages on socials, publish and schedule content, find key opinion leaders, and stay organized across all the channels with analytics.

Agorapulse enables you to have all the conversations and messages in one place, identify fans, categorize users to give your team some context before contacting them, monitor your Facebook and Instagram comments. You can make use of saved replies, inbox filters, and one-click translations to prevent chaos in your inbox.

Agorapulse provides intuitive publishing features for you to ensure smooth collaboration with your team. They include a big-picture content overview. You can create personalized content, reschedule posts, and publish everything on the go.

You can label any important conversation or competitor activity to have quick access to it. Monitor your customers’ feedback and respond immediately.

Below you can see the comments and messages received to the Agorapulse inbox. You can label them, respond using saved replies, or translate them.

Agorapulse

Source: G2

Buffer

Buffer is a social media marketing tool that allows clients to measure their performance on social media. Its core functionality includes Buffer Publishing for scheduling posts, Buffer Analytics for obtaining actionable reports, and Buffer Engagement for social media listening.

With Buffer, you can schedule posts, tailor and customize them for specific networks, plan and prepare your Stories, respond to comments immediately, and track your progress. You can highlight the most important users’ comments in your dashboard, see unanswered comments, receive alerts once your sentiment becomes negative. You can discover Stories and posts analytics, get insights into audience demographics and boosted posts, monitor each network's most important engagement metrics, get daily updates on your reports, and receive custom reports.

Below you can see the Buffer analytics that shows post engagement. You can find out the time when your audience interacts with your posts better.

Buffer

Source: Fulcrum Forge

Congrats, now you know why social media listening is crucial to your business, and you’ve learned the feature of the top 5 tools that will help you improve your brand performance on socials.

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