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Social listening: explanation, importance and 10 examples of tools

Social listening

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Find out how to integrate Social Listening into your digital strategy to track, analyze and participate in online conversations about your brand.

Christina newberry

Social listening is a listening activity: you will be able to follow, analyze and respond to conversations about your brand and your business, directly online. This activity is a fundamental element in audience research.

Implementing a social listening strategy gives you invaluable data: you can find out what customers think about your brand and your competitors.

Our guide will show you all the benefits of social listening, and much more. We will then explain how to take advantage of the results obtained.

Bonus : Our 8-step guide to developing your social media presence will help you build an effective social media strategy!

What is social listening?

Social listening is a two-step process.First, monitor the various social media platforms and look for posts that mention your brand, your competitors, your products, and any keywords related to your business.

Then analyze the results and strategize accordingly. For example, you can simply respond to a satisfied customer or think big and set out to redefine your overall brand positioning.

This aspect is what differentiates social listening from social media monitoring. Media monitoring means collecting data, which then allows a brand to observe previous results.

For example, you can rely on information collected after a social media monitoring to evaluate two different campaigns, or monitor your ROI . This information is also very useful, especially when you want to prove the value of social media when setting your brand’s annual budget.

Social media monitoring is based on metrics such as engagement rate and number of mentions. Social listening, on the contrary, is no longer interested in numbers, but analyzes the feelings behind social media posts. It’s no longer just about listing the number of times your brand is mentioned: social listening helps understand what people might feel and think about you and your competition.

This “online sentiment” is what is more commonly referred to as social media sentiment. Keeping an eye on the feelings expressed on social media is an essential part of social listening. Understanding how an audience feels about your brand helps you design the right ads and products. This feeling also allows you to respond immediately to positive or negative posts.

The most important point to note: social listening is a process that looks not to the past, but to the future. For you, it is a question of analyzing the information gathered, and of relying on it to establish your strategy and your daily actions.

Why is social listening important?

If you are not familiar with this practice, there may be serious flaws in your marketing strategy. On the Internet, people are talking about you and your industry. You would probably like to know what people are saying about you, right?

In other words, if you care about your customers, you also care about the insights that social listening can give you. Find out some of the benefits social listening has for your brand.

Social listening helps you identify the right times to take part in conversations about your brand; both to respond to a customer expressing satisfaction with one of your products and to a request on your customer service platform.

Take Purdue University, for example: During Purdue Day of Giving, an annual fundraising day, the university relies on social listening to identify potential donors. The university then thanks each person who mentioned on a social network to have made a donation.

This strategy stimulates donor engagement and creates enthusiasm, which in turn improves the likelihood of donating the following year. It also allows the university to keep the momentum going on this essential fundraising day.

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