In the world of social media conversations are extremely important, but what is even more important is “listening” to those conversations, and finding out how people (your audience) think about your brand, your industry, and your competitors online. Simply put this is “social listening.”
Sprout Social defines social listening as “the process of tracking conversations around specific topics, keywords, phrases, brands or industries, and leveraging your insights to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences.”
What makes social listening crucial is the limited attention span of your audience. You want to know what content/ product resonates with your audience or what are their pain points, and plug those insights into your overall marketing or business development strategy.
How you can use social listening and monitoring in your marketing strategy?
Social listening and monitoring can be utilized in many different ways depending on your industry and specific company goals. Here is a quick list of goals that social listening can help fulfill.
- Finding actionable insights and tracking the overall health of their brand
- Creating customized content for your audience
- Identifying key influencers/brand advocates in their space
- Finding opportunities to enhance customer experience,
- Staying on top of trending trends in their industry
- Understanding how your brand is being perceived in comparison with your competitors
How social listening and monitoring differ and complement each other?
The basic difference between social listening and monitoring is that while the former looks at the future, the later looks at the past.
Social Listening is more about studying the bigger picture by tracking the overall trends surrounding your brand, competitors, products or industry at large. It is about being strategic and actively utilizing insights to better engage with your audience.
In its article, Hootsuite notes “The social listening part is more active and strategic. It involves analyzing the data for actionable insights—everything from engaging a happy customer to shifting your overall brand positioning strategy. Social listening uses the data you gather to make your social marketing better.”
However, social media monitoring and social media listening often go hand in hand. For example, if you gathered an aggregate of mentions or hashtags that people are using to talk about your brand over a period of time, and noticed a trend or pain point to create customized content for your audience, then you have transitioned into social listening from social monitoring.