7 great ways to unleash the power of social listening to help you know a lot more about your audience

social listening


  • What is social listening?
  • 7 great uses of social listening
  • Tips to get Social Listening right
  • The best Social Listening tools for 2022
  • Use social listening to build your marketing success

What (on earth) is social listening?

Social listening is, in its simplest form, the idea that a brand can use social media to listen to what is being said about them.

What is said will likely be gold dust for any marketer – but this is qualitative rather than quantitative. So rather than any amazing metrics you’ll be getting that vital ‘real world’ feel for your prospects and clients.

To get metrics, Social Media Monitoring is the the thing

Social Media Monitoring – this tends to be the preserve of larger organisations where the larger numbers make statistics more meaningful. They can generally afford to invest in monitoring – i.e. they use software to show that they had 15,000 mentions on social media in the last month and the overall sentiment was 84% positive.

The 7 ways you can use Social Listening right now to drive your business to success.

1. Use Social Listening to spot any problems before they become a real crisis.

It’s a strange thing but very often people will complain more readily on social media than to you directly. If your customer service is not great, you’ll likely see it mentioned on Twitter before anyone gets angry enough to complain!

As this TIME article shows – people often tweet as a way to get a response from a company BEFORE they try another route. Don’t be the company that is deaf to such people – that’s the way to have something small blow up into a full scale PR Crisis.

It’s not all bad news – Good news is great to share as well

We all know the old adage, bad news spreads fast. Well, good news does too, when it relates to a positive experience with a brand. As Oberlo reports, many of us like to share recommendations and praise where it’s due. If you see these on Social Media then go ahead and share them .


2. Use Social Listening to improve your business

You might be missing out on some great advice from the best possible source: Your prospects and customers. In this example Nordstrom got a really useful UX Insight – for free.

3. Use Social Listening to nurture relationships and bring more people into your sales pipeline.

In 2021 Facebook and Instagram both went down for much of a day. Snickers responded with a quick Tweet.

Hootsuite ( A great tool for Social Media Listening and Marketing) understands that people definitely do not want a brand to jump in and start selling to them – but they’re quite happy with a brand offering a connection or perhaps some useful advice

4. Keep an eye on the market & the competition with Social Listening

Social Listening is a great way to stay alert to trends and changes in your marketplace. Are your rivals having great success with something that you’ve not thought of ?  Are people actually annoyed by some aspect of the service provided by the market ? That’s a great opportunity to innovate and build a whole new revenue stream perhaps.

5. Use Social Listening to deliver a flow of great content ideas

We all know we need to be answering peoples’ questions when we write our content, right? But it can be tough to know what those questions and concerns are. Certainly part of the solution is to keep an ear out on social media. You’ll find out what the real concerns are out there and be able to jump in with some precisely targeted content.

You may even want to share a relevant post with the person who asked the question – how amazed would they be to see someone had taken the trouble to answer their question?

6. Use Social Listening to direct your advertising efforts

What if you find out that you are regularly discussed on Twitter but never on Facebook? Wouldn’t that mean that your audience are to be found on Twitter and indicate that you’d be better off advertising there rather than anywhere else? Pretty useful stuff.

7. Use Social Listening to find great collaborators

Social Listening might mean you discover a really powerful influencer in your sector. What if this lead to a collaboration that could add a whole new dimension to your marketing?

There may be a business that would be a perfect match for yours and a great collaboration would benefit both parties. Social Listening is how you find them.

Social Listening: Tips to get it right

Get started with a list of subjects to monitor:

  • Your company name, your products or services names and the same for all your competition
  • Any industry specific hashtags
  • People in your business and your rivals

Narrow your search

You’ll likely get bombarded with results from all over the world at first so if you’re in Southampton then likely results from South Africa will not be much use.

Keep Listening

Social Listening can provide such a rush of ideas that you forget to keep going. By monitoring over time you will spot any changes that your marketing is driving – what works and what doesn’t.

You might want to use a hashtag

Starting your own hashtag can be a great way to gather relevant conversations into one place.  So for example Harry Howard’s Houseplants Ltd could start a hashtag  #HHhouseplantsmakemehappy

It’s a quite a complex subject so let’s leave it to the well known experts in this field to really explain it

The best Social listening tools in 2022

A variety of social listening tools have been developed that can help you monitor and track conversations on social media.

These can be helpful, though often a bit costly. However, some have free or cheap plan options.

Social listening apps with some free element, include:

There are tons of different apps but these are some of the main names:

It’s also possible to track social media mentions manually – although this is very time-consuming, it can be brilliant for a small or medium sized business.

Use social listening to make your marketing successful

The basis for all truly excellent marketing – the type that delivers leads into inboxes or sales on eCommerce websites – is a solid understanding of your prospects mindset.

Be clear on what their concerns and hopes are and your marketing will be off to a great start.

BUT we’ve seen many businesses fall at the final hurdle: They know all about their buyers but somehow their marketing ploughs on regardless.

As a business owner or leader it is your responsibility to build in the agility and to have the courage required to actually respond to what you learn.

Find out how we can help you build a powerful marketing team that unifies sales and marketing into a powerful signal team >

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