Petra Smith

2 years ago · 2 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Petra blog
How to use social listening to grow your business

How to use social listening to grow your business


Social listening is the process of monitoring online conversations about a particular brand, person or industry. Social listening helps to find out who is talking about your business or industry, identify new leads and see what your competitors are doing. It is an effective way to get feedback that can help to differentiate your brand, product and service; however, it takes time and some data analysis is required as it is not just about the topics of the conversations.

Eavesdropping, in a virtual sense, on consumers’ social media chats provides a real time peek inside people’s lives without a direct interaction. Marketing research suggests that social listening affects sales, brand health and even stock performance and it provides a competitive advantage in the digital age. But despite its potential, social listening remains underleveraged for market intelligence and businesses look at social media conversations as something that needs to be managed instead of listened to. Insights from social listening, however, can drive business growth and innovation.

Whilst social monitoring will tell you what people are saying, social listening provides you with insight on the context of the conversations. Social listening is about understanding the bigger picture - it helps you understand why, how and why these conversations are happening and what people are saying, not just when they are mentioning your brand. This insight can help you to create future campaigns, improve your content marketing strategy and form impactful brand partnerships. However, to understand online conversations fully, you will need to look at the reasons behind what’s being said.  Here are a few tips on how to use social listening to grow your business:

1.  Listen and adjust accordingly

To maximise the potential of social listening, you need to interpret the messages you are seeing online and use your best judgement to adapt your content strategy accordingly. And then you listen and adjust again. Social listening is an ongoing observation and testing process – it is all about observing how people respond to your content or products and then notice how their reactions change over time. This gives you a better understanding of what type of content or product is resonating with your audience, helps to inform your marketing strategy and change your messaging to meet their needs and wants. 

2.  Keep track

Read and track comments on your social media posts and use the search tools on each platform to look up relevant keywords around your content. Keeping track will give you a broader picture and better understanding of why people are interacting with you. Additionally, visit you competitors’ profiles to see the comments about the type of content that is performing well and not performing well on their social media. Tracking relevant information will also help you learn and go back over time to do a comparative analysis.

3.  Engage with followers

Social listening allows you to engage with your customers in real time – for example, if they mention your product or contact you via social media with a customer service request. If you’re seeing a lot of positive engagement, look for the reasons behind it. Your followers share useful information about what they like and dislike and whose lessons can help you shape your strategy in the long term. On the other hand, if engagement is not so positive, social listening will help you to address PR disasters before they get out of hand, by addressing the issue and offering to resolve it.

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