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What is social listening and why is it important?

Have you heard of It’s not quite a household name like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. But back in 1997, MMMBop by Hanson was on the radio, Titanic was in the cinema, the first Harry Potter book hit the shelves, and Six Degrees was launched. Considering it was the first social networking site, Six Degrees didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Social media has come a long way since then.

In 2021, Facebook has over 2.8 billion active users and estimates suggest that Instagram has over 1 billion users worldwide.

The explosion of social media has given brands and businesses the power to reach audiences far and wide. But it’s not always about creating content and talking to your audience. Sometimes you have to listen.

What is social listening?

Social listening is the analysis of conversations happening around your brand, products, services, industry and competition. Listening allows you to learn about how your business is being perceived. You’ll gain insights into emerging trends and how your target audience feels and behaves.

When you use social listening effectively, you can create better content, improve the relationship you have with your customers, develop better products and services, and make better marketing decisions.

The value of social listening

Tuning into what people are saying about you on social media gives you the opportunity to find out how people view your brand. Often, you and those involved in your business will be too invested to really see the whole picture. By social listening, you’ll get a neutral perspective.

There’s two key things you can do with the information you find. From any negative feedback, you can find ways to make improvements to your product or service. You can also use what’s being said to inform how you scale up the things you’re doing right. As a bonus, testimonials and positive feedback from social media can serve as great content for you to repost.

Create content that is more engaging

By really listening to what your target audience is talking about, you can create content that puts your brand in the conversation. Social listening gives you the chance to keep track of trends and create content your audience will want to engage with.

When you’re actively listening to the discussions taking place about your brand and your industry, you won’t have to guess what kind of content will work. You’ll know, because you’ve been doing your homework.

Customers like it when brands get involved in the conversation

83% of users like when brands respond to questions, and 68% like when brands join conversations. This means that by getting involved and responding to comments about your business, you’re developing a better relationship with your customers.

Who could forget the Aldi vs M&S (or Cuthbert vs Colin) debate that unravelled on Twitter in April? Aldi played a blinder on social media. Their team is well aware that if you’re not part of the conversation, you can’t take control of it. M&S on the other hand, were perceived to be petty and stuffy with their response. Aldi won the support of the public and came out of the fiasco looking good in the headlines too.

If the social media team at Aldi weren’t listening to the conversation taking place, would they have been able to fashion such a response?

Show your audience you care

Consumer loyalty is something that needs to be earned. Showing your customer you care will help build trust between you and the people who invest their time and money in your business. By listening to their concerns when things aren’t quite right, or by saying thank you when they’ve paid you a compliment, this engagement builds loyalty.

Show appreciation to the people that help make your business successful. And if a customer is unhappy, don’t bury your head in the sand. Answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by 25%.

Access insights about your competitors

Another valuable benefit of social listening is you get an insight into what your competitors are doing. You can find out what they’re excelling at and where they fall short. Social listening gives you a chance to find out about what’s going on in your industry as a whole. This information influences your decision making. Whether that’s decisions relating to your products and services, or ideas for where your strategy should go next. This information is invaluable to the future success of your business.

Find influencers you can partner with

According to Business Insider, the influencer marketing industry is worth just under $15 billion. That figure is set to grow in the coming years. While influencer marketing is still a relatively new concept in a B2B setting, it shouldn’t be ignored. Working with influencers can result in an impressive ROI. 89% of marketers find influencer marketing ROI comparable to, or better than, other channels.

Listening to what’s happening on social media and staying informed of the latest trends means you’ll be able to find the best influencers to work with for your business.

Tools you can use for social listening

Now that you know the importance of social listening, what tools are available to help you tune in?


HubSpot’s social media management tools allow you to create keyword monitoring streams, you can monitor social interactions with contacts in your database, and have the platform set up to send you an email when a prospect mentions you on social media. The offering from HubSpot is an all-rounder, packing more than just social listening capabilities.


Mention enables brands to monitor the web, listen to their audience and manage social media to find out what’s being said about them and their competitors. The best thing about Mention is that it gives you insights into the demographics of the people talking about you. This gives you valuable information you can use to build and refine your target audience.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social helps you access data analytics that can inform strategic decisions when it comes to your social media output. You can use the platform to publish content and find out about trends through social listening.

Social listening is a powerful technique you can use to resolve customer complaints, get an insight into what your competitors are doing, and figure out which steps to take to strengthen your strategy.

Get in touch with us to discuss what we can do to help you create a strategy that is effective, engaging, and one step ahead of the competition.