Social Media

What is Social Listening and Why is it Important?

 October 23, 2019

By  Madelyn Young


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A brand’s online reputation is its primary currency. When consumers trust your brand and feel confident purchasing your goods or services, sales and long-term value can be built.

Like most valuable assets in life, trust is earned day-by-day across many years but can be destroyed in a matter of seconds with a viral customer service issue or damaging headline. Therefore,  it’s essential to know what people are saying about your brand in real-time. And that’s where social listening comes in.


What is Social listening?

Social listening is the act of monitoring online conversations about your brand. It gives you the power to track, analyze and respond to conversations about your industry, your brand and your products. Social listening is your chance to show your customers that you are listening to them, and hearing their concerns. Your brand can use social listening tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention to track these conversations across the internet. 

A tool, such as Social Mention, can search a keyword (your company name or campaign name), to deliver a real-time search of brand mentions across 11 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Yelp etc.) 


Why is social listening important?


1. To measure the performance of your social media, web, conversations and content strategy. 


Social Media listening empowers you to measure the results from your social media marketing campaigns. If you monitor brand mentions, comments and, volume and sentiment of conversations around your content, you can discover what campaign elements worked and what didn’t. You can answer questions like “Does video work better than static images?” Once you discover what works best, you can capitalize on that piece of content and use it in targeted ads. 



2. To manage your reputation


Social listening allows you to respond in a timely manner when customers are complaining or providing a product review. A lot of companies see bad reviews or complaints as a threat.  However, you should see this type of feedback as an opportunity to demonstrate that the brand is listening and can solve customer problems. 

Take a look at one of Reviewtracker’s examples of how JetBlue Airways responded to a customer complaint on Twitter in a timely manner: 

JetBlue Airways’ Twitter account serves as one of the company’s main customer service channels. When a customer named Esaí Vélez complained (politely) about his backseat TV not working, JetBlue responded within minutes.   Esaí Vélez mentioned JetBlue Airways in his tweet, and they were listening, allowing them to not only retain a customer but also demonstrate their excellent customer service. 

Social Listening example



3. To identify your biggest fans and influencers


Social listening allows you to thank and reward your superfans for their loyalty and support. A positive review is your chance to engage and make a happy customer a lifelong brand evangelist. 

Take a look at this example courtesy of the Queen of Social Media. You guessed it: Wendy’s.  In this example, Wendy’s identified a superfan, but not just any superfan…a superstar, Chance The Rapper. 

Social Listening example

Wendy’s took this conversation even further…

To keep a long story short, Wendy’s brought back their Spicy Chicken Nuggets. 



4. To discover new product ideas and enhancements


If you are consistently listening to the conversation about your brand you can discover your customer’s pain points. Once you have identified your customer’s pain points you can act on them, by enhancing your product to meet your customer’s needs or even come up with new product ideas. 

Take a look at this example where Zipcar responded to a review with a solution to what seemed to be a common grievance for their customers.   

Social Listening example

According to Hubspot, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. 

Receiving the “Very responsive to messages” badge on Facebook, for example, could be a valuable goal to set for your brand. Facebook gives you the option to display your business’s response time. This means that when your customer goes to ask you a question on Facebook Messenger, you can eventually get a badge that demonstrates your brand’s responsiveness  (that’s if you continually respond in a timely manner):

Facebook responsiveness badge

Let’s wrap it up…

It’s important to always be involved in any conversation about your brand.  Moreover, it’s vital for your brand’s survival to quickly identify and respond to potential threats to your company’s integrity or product performance/satisfaction. Without your brand’s voice, you don’t control the conversation or the subsequent decisions that might result. 

It can be challenging to stay on top of all the online conversations to effectively manage your brand’s reputation, especially if you have a lot on your plate. That’s why it might be in your brand’s best interest to have a dedicated social media and content manager or marketing agency to help you effectively identify and respond to comments, reviews and mentions.


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