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Social listening is sometimes confused with social monitoring, but they’re not exactly the same thing. When engaging in social monitoring, data is collected on brand awareness, mentions, and sentiment (tracking if the comments being said about your brand are positive, negative, or neutral) when your brand is mentioned. Social listening dives a bit further and looks at who the people are that mention your brand or product, where they are talking, and how your brand compares to what your competitors are doing and then taking actionable steps.

Why start engaging in a social listening and social monitoring plan? Here are three reasons why:

  1. It helps you to create actionable steps for your brand and allows you to take proactive control of customer service.

Social listening and monitoring allow for proactive customer service. One dissatisfied customer will tell nine to 15 people about their poor experience, and with social media being one of the primary ways that many people communicate, brands need to be in front of stopping the complaint train. In addition, using these techniques also helps you learn more about issues with your product, service, or even field and store staff that you might not have known about (or, on the opposite spectrum, positive feedback about the same!). Look for commonalities in complaints about a certain employee’s service or how a dish in your restaurant tastes. Are people complaining that your product’s too expensive? Or maybe it doesn’t work as advertised. You may not know that anything is wrong, but by implementing social listening and monitoring, you can not only learn more about your business, but help retain customers. Digging even deeper, you can find out who is complaining. Does it tend to be more men than women? Are they younger rather than older? This information not only can assist you with your marketing but also in learning how segments of your audience interact with your business or product and, ultimately, make better decisions about those products and services.

  1. Both listening and monitoring can help generate leads.

Implementing social listening and monitoring can move you past customer service and help you gain new customers. If a potential customer is considering your product or a competitor’s, joining in the conversation with helpful feedback (don’t be too pushy!) may sway the customer to make their purchase with you and not someone else. Even if your brand isn’t being mentioned directly, but rather a service that you provide, by using these tools, you can create brand awareness, and hopefully a sale, by again interjecting into the conversation. For example, if you offer carpet cleaning and someone in your service area tweets that they really need to get their carpets cleaned, there’s no better time than to introduce yourself for their consideration. Again, being mindful that you don’t come off too salesy but rather organically and helpful.

  1. Utilizing social listening and social monitoring to health check your brand versus your competitors.

Once you’re aware of the ongoing conversations about your brand, keep the momentum going and start listening to what consumers are saying about your main competitors, from both their brand names to their product names. Do they have the same kind of complaints or praise? What do they like about your competitor’s product or service that your version doesn’t offer? What do they dislike about it? Turn the knowledge about your competitor into something that works for you.  This also helps you to keep an eye on what type of marketing message that they’re using to gain customers and to find out if it’s working or not.

There are a number of tools that can assist you in both social listening and social monitoring, as well as companies, like Clearbridge Branding Agency, that can do it for you. The first step is to get started. You might just be amazed when you start to learn everything being said about your brand!