Social listening can play a huge role in the success of any marketing strategy. Especially social media market strategies. According to HubSpot, social listening is the most used tactic by companies with a social media marketing strategy. But what is social listening exactly? And why is it considered a great marketing tactic?

In this article, I’m going to cover what social listening is. Plus how you can use it as part of your social media marketing strategy (as well as your overall marketing strategy).


Social Listening: Explained

In simple terms, social listening is the practice of searching for what people are saying about your business on social media. Then you use this feedback to improve your marketing strategy or business offering. When companies observe social media platforms for what people are saying about their business, service, product, or any other praises or criticisms about the company, this is social listening. 

For example, when you are scrolling through replies to your business’s posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, you should look at what people are saying about your company. Look for both positive and negative. However, social listening doesn’t just stop at looking at consumer feedback. Social listening also involves the careful analysis of consumer sentiment about your brand. Use the findings of your analysis to improve either your marketing strategy or overall business strategy.

The combination of observation and careful analysis of sentiment is the key reason why many businesses cite social listening as one of the most important aspects of their marketing strategy. The practice of social listening can help them see gaps in the market. It also shows how they can significantly improve their business. 

Essentially, social listening can help businesses stay ahead of the curve by keeping a close ear to what people are saying on the ground. But what’s the best way to approach social listening as part of your marketing strategy? 


How Should You Approach Social Listening?

To use social listening as part of your marketing strategy, there are a few steps you can take. Keeping a close tab on all of the comments and mentions of your business across different social media platforms. 


Analyzing feedback

You can analyze social media mentions manually on each platform. For example, you can read through all of the latest comments on your Instagram posts and see what feedback people have left. This approach can work. However, the approach mentioned above may be more time-consuming. It could also be difficult to get an overall view of consumer sentiment about your brand. 

This is where social media management software can come in handy. Programs like Buffer & Hootsuite can aggregate all mentions, comments, and replies across all of your social media channels. However, platform-specific tools like TweetDeck (made for Twitter) can perform similar functions. Also giving you a better overview of how people are interacting with your company. 

Either way, you first need to get into the routine of regularly checking all comments and replies to your business’s social media platforms to gauge people’s perceptions and feelings towards your brand.


Engage with your audience

While you are consistently monitoring social media replies and mentions, you should always try to respond to each comment. 

Someone is offering some valuable feedback on your product or service or even the content you’re publishing on social media.  You should always try to respond. Let the person know that their voice is being heard. 

A simple “Thank you!” can be enough. However, I’d encourage you to go deeper. Address exactly what they’re saying. Especially if the feedback is negative or constructive criticism.


Collating feedback

You should also collate all of the important feedback. Use it to inform your marketing and business strategy going forward. Try to dissect each response to get an in-depth understanding of what consumers want. As well as how they’re currently feeling about your product or service. 

If possible, implement the changes that consumers want to see as soon as possible. Keep the consumers informed that changes are in progress or they have been made. 


Making informed changes

Once you have analyzed all of the data and identified what consumers want, you can begin to adjust your marketing strategy or product offering to meet consumer demand.

Typically, unless the changes are a quick fix, it would be a good idea to keep consumers informed on the progress of the changes. 

While keeping consumers informed is good for building rapport and making them feel more engaged with your brand, progression updates can also help to build hype around the launching of a new product or service.


Monitoring responses to changes

After you have implemented the changes, you should then keep an eye on how people are responding to see if you’ve satisfied consumers or if there’s something else you need to do. 

Using the same techniques as above, you can see what people are saying about your business. But I feel it’s also a good idea to follow up with a select number of consumers who initially gave you feedback that informed your changes and ask for their thoughts. 

Following up with people will help you fully understand if you’ve met consumer demands. However, follow-up messages can also help further build trust in your brand, as users who have left feedback feel like they’re once again being heard and taken seriously. 


Staying Engaged With Your Audience

Social listening is a great way of making informed decisions to improve your business. But to go one step further, staying engaged with your audience and building a relationship with them can improve social listening as a tool. 

When you build a rapport with your online audience, you make your business seem more approachable, which in turn makes people feel as if they can be open and honest about what they’d like to see from your business.

How are you going to use social listening as part of your marketing and overall business strategy? Leave a reply in the comment section below if you’d like to share your experience with social listening and how it’s helped improve your business. 

For more tips on how to enhance your marketing strategy and grow your business, read through some of the latest posts on the Intentionally Inspirational blog.


Written by Lewis James