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Social Listening 101

Social Listening 101

What is Social Listening?

To put it simply, social listening is the practice of monitoring and analyzing the many conversations, interactions, and trends that occur online. Social listening is accomplished using specialized tools and software. 

Also commonly referred to as social media monitoring or social media listening, the ultimate goal of social listening is to learn what people are saying about brands, products, industries, and topics of interest online. Understanding consumer preferences, how they interact with businesses, and how they perceive certain products, brands, and industries helps companies better serve their customers, attract new customers, improve brand image, and influence sentiment favorably. 

A phone with social media icons pulled up and many notifications

As you can imagine, social listening produces a lot of data. This data is incredibly valuable to building any business and will influence marketing strategy, among other things. Businesses can use all this data to form insights into the state of the market and the minds of consumers, eventually acting on the opportunities they discover. Social listening can also help businesses be better prepared to react when issues or emergencies arise. 

What do Businesses Look For?

Businesses will monitor different things depending on their goals, digital marketing strategy, and what kind of information they value the most. However, every business should be paying close attention to the following: 

  1. Their brand name
  2. The name of their products 
  3. Their slogan
  4. Their branded hashtags
  5. Names of important people within their organization (i.e., CEO, spokesperson, brand ambassador) 
  6. The names of competitors and competitor’s products
  7. The slogans of competitors
  8. Hashtags related to their industry
  9. Industry buzzwords 
  10. Trending topics in their industry
Various big brand logos in a list

The Benefits of Social Listening for Businesses

Every kind of business can benefit from social listening, and it’s essential for any brand that wants to thrive in our increasingly digital world. Some of the key advantages of social listening include:

  1. Improved understanding of customers: Social listening allows businesses to understand their audience by tracking engagement on social platforms. This data-driven approach reveals preferences, pain points, and expectations, aiding tailored product and marketing enhancements for stronger relationships and brand loyalty.
  2. Reputation management and crisis mitigation: Reputation management and crisis control: Swiftly addressing positive and negative sentiments through social listening safeguards brand image. Responding promptly to feedback prevents crises, upholds credibility and trust, and proactively manages reputation.
  3. Competitive analysis and market intelligence: Social listening extracts competitor strategies and strengths, informing market gaps and differentiation. Brands refine value propositions using consumer perceptions, shaping effective marketing strategies.
  4. Identification of influencers and brand advocates: Social listening spots impactful influencers, elevating brand awareness and messaging. Engagement fosters loyalty, turning them into valuable advocates.
  5. Real-time customer service and support: Social listening aids real-time responses to inquiries, boosting brand perception. Proactive customer service enhances satisfaction and loyalty, paralleling reputation management.
  6. Data-driven decision-making: Social listening furnishes ongoing data for informed decision-making. Brands rely on this insight for product innovation, marketing campaigns, and efficient strategies, reducing guesswork.

Key Aspects of Social Listening

Several people sitting in a circle, checking social media engagement on their phones

With so many different online spaces for monitoring and hundreds, if not thousands, of forms of engagement specific to each, it’s no surprise that there are numerous aspects to social listening. Businesses need to have a good understanding of each if they want to truly get a grasp on the underlying mood or sentiment consumers have on various topics. Here are some of the things your business should know: 

  1. Social media monitoring: Social listening involves monitoring Facebook, Twitter (now X), Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok, and many more. Companies closely follow mentions, hashtags, comments, and other forms of engagement related to specific keywords or topics on these platforms.
  2. Brand perception: Businesses must use social listening to understand the perception of their brand. By monitoring online interactions, companies can gauge this attitude – positive, negative, or neutral – and identify potential issues or areas where they need to improve to get to where they want to be. Social listening can also help a brand maintain its image after they’ve improved it.
  3. Competitor analysis: Social listening helps businesses keep an eye – and ear – on their competitors and their competitor’s customers. It also provides a lot of helpful data to help a company stand out and gain a competitive advantage over other brands in their industry. 
  4. Trends: By engaging in social listening, businesses can stay up-to-date on trends that can be capitalized on. By monitoring trends, emerging topics, and discussions in their industry, brands gain valuable information they can use to create content, develop new products, and implement new marketing strategies. 
  5. Customer insights: Understanding the customer is crucial for any business endeavor. Social listening helps businesses understand who their customers are, their wants, needs, preferences, common pain points, and much more. All this information can drive campaigns to reach customers more effectively and make products or services more readily available. 
  6. Crisis management: By monitoring various social media channels and online platforms amid a crisis, businesses can quickly identify issues and their solutions. Social monitoring also allows companies to respond to customer concerns and mitigate potential damage to their image or reputation. 
  7. Influencer marketing: Social listening can identify influencers across numerous social media platforms who have dedicated followings within a specific niche or among a target audience. Influencers can then help promote a business’s products or services more effectively. 
  8. Market research: The data and insights gathered by monitoring the behavior and preferences of consumers online will benefit traditional market research greatly.
  9. Social customer service: Social media platforms and other online spaces enable companies to address customer questions, concerns, and complaints promptly, and social listening helps them do this effectively even when they haven’t been tagged or mentioned.  
  10. Campaign effectiveness: Social listening provides a wide variety of data and insights that can help measure the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns. It also can help businesses make data-driven decisions on future campaigns. 
 A person using a social listening application to determine business engagement

Helpful Social Listening Tools

Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter (now X) Tik Tok, YouTube, and others are essential social listening tools, but some platforms and applications make it easier to monitor the different conversations, interactions, and trends across them all. Some tools that all businesses should at the very least consider using include:

  1. Mandala AI
  2. Sprout Social
  3. Brandwatch
  4. Brand24
  5. BuzzSumo
  6. Keyhole
  7. Meltwater
  8. YouScan
  9. Exolyt
  10. Analisa

Social Listening with Mandala AI

Considering the many social media platforms that are popular today and how many regular users each has, it might be daunting for your business to monitor everything you need across all these platforms. But you still want to know what people are saying and identify trends to benefit from social listening. Mandala AI has the artificial intelligence-powered tools you need to capture and analyze more data. 

Mandala Cosmos and Mandala Ripples are social listening essentials that every business needs. Cosmos enables businesses to get creative while staying organized and Ripples takes it to the next level with detailed analytics for social listening, marketing insights, and analysis of campaigns, trends, benchmarks, and competitor tracking. We guarantee both will save your business significant time and money. Mandala AI’s platforms are designed by experienced business veterans in marketing science and digital marketing, and we’ve combined their expertise with business best practices to best serve your needs. Explore our AI social listening tools today!

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