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Quick Tips for Listening in Social Media

 



social media listening

Listening in social media is more than jumping online, setting up a Twitter or Facebook and reading the instructions and then pumping out updates. Listening in social media is monitoring, reading and comprehending the conversations online. You have to know about the conversation through monitoring, read what is being said and understanding it to be able to engage. Listening. There are conversations happening everywhere – some are brand direct where others are indirect as they are specific to the industry or a competitor. Both are equally important to listen to.

How to Start Listening

How do you listen? You listen for opportunity to engage. In social media we are here to engage and build relationships with people. Hearing their conversation allows us to be able to jump in and engage in a non-intrustive way.  The first step in learning how to listen is to set up a listening station where you monitor the conversations about your brand, competitor and industry as a whole.

Where to Listen

Setting up a listening station by knowing where to listen is a tough one as there is not a clear cut answer. This varies for each client and industry and each has its own community. Everywhere is pretty much the overall answer but this is not always practical as a small business owner. There are some excellent monitoring companies that do capture the conversations online but for those that are just starting out or have budget constraints, a great place to start listening is where your customers are by cross checking on platforms. Jay Baer discusses the 4 Ways to Find out where your customers are in social media in his article on Social Media Examiner.

What Should You Listen For?

Opportunity. We are listening for opportunity. Mentions of our brand whether positive or negative need to be heard; mentions of our competitors need to be heard as well as what is going on in the industry. Ignoring these is passing up opportunity. What should you listen for as it relates to your brand, competitor and industry?

Your Brand & Competitors

  • Inquiries
  • Praise
  • Complaints
  • Recommendations/referrals to others
  • Mentions of: company name, abbreviations, key players, product and specific services.

When we listen we find a wealth of information. People talk this we know. The gal who just got laid off from  her job will be talking.

Postive: Ugh, Just got laid off at ABC Company. Sucks. Wish them well with the launch of (new product) as it is a really cool product.

Negative: Dumb asses at ABC Company just laid  me off. Let’s see how much of a disaster the launch of (new product) will be without me.

Both mention the name of the company and also the product. People talk. By listening you have learned what they are up to and also if this gal is someone you would consider hiring when her resume comes across your desk.

Listening in your industry is a bit different as it is on a broader scale. This should yield more results however analyzing the conversations and filtering them over time will bring the desired results. In the beginning, you would listen for:

Industry

  • Broad keywords that are used to describe your industry
  • Targeted core keywords for your specific services and/or product
  • Non-industry used terms – if the general public calls it something different or abbreviates you listen for that as well.
  • Industry leaders

Listening in social media is the foundation for any social media plan. How do you know how to even begin engaging if you have no idea what the online community is talking about, how they liked to be talked to or where to best place your message? Success in social media does not come from a free for all. It is about listening and engaging but you cannot engage until you listen and continue to listen. Every conversation is opportunity. Your customer service team has to listen for inquiries, your lead gen team  has to listen for brand and industry mentions so that they can be proactive and also reactive.

How do you listen? Is listening a big part of your social media strategy?

photo credit: Thibodeau

Join The Conversation

  • SuzanneVara's picture
    Jul 26 Posted 6 years ago SuzanneVara

    Don

     

    It is true that the listening does seem to resonate as a little light seems to go off when you explain listening in social media. When we talka bout the platforms especially for a new company, they are a bit overwhelmed but bring into closer together in explaining listening seems to allow them to wrap their arms around it better and understand. We listen to learn and continue to listen to learn more but also share what we have learned.

  • SuzanneVara's picture
    Jul 26 Posted 6 years ago SuzanneVara

    Craig


    Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. I am starting to wonder is listening is the secret marketing magic. I see so many publishing and not engaging. This is not to say that they are not listening but a little more engagement with people does go a long way. 

  • SuzanneVara's picture
    Jul 26 Posted 6 years ago SuzanneVara

    Derek

    Listening is the first, middle and last thing you should do - meaning it is ongoing. We have to constantly listen to the conversations around us in our industry, for our brand and for the competitors.  There is no slacking here as engagement comes from listening.

    I like the way that you say - there's really no barrier to it as you are right. There are free and paid tools so there is no excuse to not listen. Well said Derek.

     

  • SuzanneVara's picture
    Jul 26 Posted 6 years ago SuzanneVara

    Lauren

    You are so right that listening and creating profiles are just a fraction. Engaging plays a big role as you can listen all day and have the best profile however the more time sensitive engagement is what gets noticed and talked about. Listening we know is ongoing as is engaging. Engagement does have to be timely as if not we know in an instant we can be called out for it OR praised for it. Customers have voices and are not afraid to use them.

     

    Thanks for sharing your experience within your job as we know monitoring is certainly no easy task.

     

  • SuzanneVara's picture
    Jul 26 Posted 6 years ago SuzanneVara

    TJ

    I see it over and over again where people will trash an employer forgetting that others can see it. Why on earth should a new company hire you when you spoke so unprofessionally about another one. I just do not get it. If you need to vent and let it out, write it down on good ole college ruled paper and bury it in the yard.

    I already did refer to yoru tools in another article.  It is a great list and worth sharing around.

  • Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago Craig (not verified)

    Suzanne,

    Bravo!  Good to have others realize the most important aspect of our marketing magic! Listening. It was a refreshing read.

  • Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago Lauren_Hannah (not verified)

    Great post, Suzanne!

    Listening is so crucial in maintaining a brand presence on social media. Creating a profile on a social network is just a fraction of what needs to be done to interact and create a place for engagement for consumers. There are so many people on social networks -- just imagine all the people that are talking about your brand or what your brand offers. It's becoming increasingly important to create Twitter searches and monitor Facebook comments to respond and interact with these users. If you're listening to what people are saying about your brand, you have a much clearer idea of that they're interested interested. Then, when you post about it, they are more likely to engage.

    As Community Genius for Context Optional, a social marketing company in San Francisco, I spend hours trolling social networking sites for comments, tweets, blogs, and other information for our clients. Making sure they're all linked and aware of what's being spoken about, gives the brand a leg up when communicating with their consumers.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago Lauren_Hannah (not verified)

    Great post, Suzanne!

    Listening is so crucial in maintaining a brand presence on social media. Creating a profile on a social network is just a fraction of what needs to be done to interact and create a place for engagement for consumers. There are so many people on social networks -- just imagine all the people that are talking about your brand or what your brand offers. It's becoming increasingly important to create Twitter searches and monitor Facebook comments to respond and interact with these users. If you're listening to what people are saying about your brand, you have a much clearer idea of that they're interested interested. Then, when you post about it, they are more likely to engage.

    As Community Genius for Context Optional, a social marketing company in San Francisco, I spend hours trolling social networking sites for comments, tweets, blogs, and other information for our clients. Making sure they're all linked and aware of what's being spoken about, gives the brand a leg up when communicating with their consumers.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago Derek Markham (not verified)

    In my experience, listening should be the first thing you do, before you even begin with a social media plan. There's a lot to be said for learning what the different social media spaces are like before jumping in.

    And with all of the free listening tools, there's really no barrier to it.

    Thanks!

  • Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago Don Lafferty (not verified)

    Good stuff, Suzanne. Whenever I’m sitting in that first client meeting or teaching a workshop, it’s always the “listening” bit that seems to resonate with people the most, and brings to the forefront exactly how you can mine the gold in these staggeringly enormous online communities.

  • PervaraKapadia's picture
    Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago PervaraKapadia

    Thanks for this. Good Information

  • Jul 15 Posted 6 years ago TJ McCue (not verified)

    I like your reminder to keep it positive. The negative stays around for a long time and probably very few will tell you this is why you didn't get hired for a project or a job, but I'm willing to bet it will impact you. It is too easy to dwell on the negative. 

    For listening tools, I did a roundup list of all the tools i could find for social media measurement, monitoring, listening, tracking.  I have 195+ tools or services listed on this blog post -- if you want to demonstrate Social Media ROI, this is a great place to start your research. 

  • Jul 13 Posted 6 years ago Brian (not verified)

    Hi Suzanne

    Great post - this is spot on.  Here is a recap that I did of the 8 Stages of Listening from Jeremiah Owyang that I think you might enjoy - http://www.b2cmarketinginsider.com/social-media/8-stages-of-listening-social-media-tips-from-jeremiah-owyang-0666

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