Social Listening: Why Simply Posting on Social Media Isn’t Enough

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Authentic small and youthful marketing agency busy with social listening for their brand

Imagine this: You’re the social media manager for a well-established insurance company, “SecureLife.” You’ve been working diligently to shake up the “stuffy” image of the industry. Your posts feature eye-catching graphics on the importance of coverage, relatable memes about everyday mishaps, and even the occasional TikTok dance challenge with your friendly mascot, the SecureLife Shield. Engagement is decent, but you crave a deeper impact. How do you know if your efforts are truly working and connecting with your audience?

You’re doing everything “right,” yet your results aren’t quite matching the expectation. The missing piece of the puzzle is social listening.

What is Social Listening and Why Does It Matter?

Happy young multiethnic friends students talking with each other about what they discovered with social listening

Social listening goes beyond simply scheduling posts and tracking your own brand mentions. It’s about actively tuning into the conversations happening online – the unfiltered thoughts, opinions, and experiences people are sharing about your brand, competitors, and the industry at large.

Think of it like this: social media is a giant, ongoing focus group with millions of participants. Social listening means taking a seat at that virtual table and gleaning invaluable insights directly from your target audience. These insights help you to;

  • Craft More Effective Marketing: Is your audience actually responding to your carefully staged latte photos, or do they crave posts about how you source your raw materials? Social listening reveals what truly resonates.
  • Improve Customer Service: Someone tweets in frustration about a long wait time at your shop. Social listening allows you to address it promptly, potentially turning a disgruntled customer into a loyal advocate.
  • Refine Products & Services: Do comments consistently suggest the need for a wider selection of products? Social listening gives you the pulse on potential improvements.
  • Stay Ahead of the Competition: What are customers saying about the other coffee shops in town? Social listening helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Manage Your Reputation: A negative comment is starting to gain traction. Social listening gives you an early warning system to mitigate potential crises.

Why You Shouldn’t Post and Disappear

When you solely focus on posting and neglect social listening, you’re talking at your audience instead of engaging with them. It leads to a range of missed opportunities and a host of other issues outlined below;

  • Out-of-Touch Messaging: You might think your audience craves contests and giveaways when they prefer more behind-the-scenes content that highlights your brand story.
  • Unresolved Issues: Customers might be voicing problems with your online ordering system. Without listening, these go unaddressed, leading to frustration and lost sales.
  • Missed Sales Leads: Someone might be commenting how they’re desperate to find a local bakery for a special event. Without social listening, you never enter that conversation.
  • Wasted Resources: You might spend time and money creating content that falls flat because it misses the mark on your customers’ desires.

Where to Listen and What to Track

where you need to be or social listening depicted by Hand drawn young people using technological device pack

The beauty of social listening is that the conversations are already happening; you just need to know where to find them. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Social Media Platforms: Monitor relevant mentions of your brand (with and without direct tagging), competitors, and industry keywords on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok.
  • Review Sites: Keep tabs on what customers are saying on Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor, etc. This is especially crucial for local businesses.
  • Forums and Communities: Niche forums and Reddit are treasure troves of unfiltered opinions relevant to your industry and customer base.
  • Industry Blogs and News Sites: Track discussions where competitors and market trends are discussed.

Social Listening Tools: Your Helping Hand

Manually monitoring every corner of the internet is overwhelming. Social listening tools streamline the process. Examples include

  • Hootsuite, Mention, SproutSocial, Brandwatch (and others): These offer varying levels of sophistication. Look for features like keyword tracking, sentiment analysis, competitor monitoring, and reporting capabilities that meet your needs and budget.
  • Free Options: Even basic tools like Google Alerts can be a good place to start with simple brand mention tracking.

Transforming Insights from Social Listening into Action

Social listening isn’t about collecting data for the sake of it; you must act on the insights you gather. Here are a few areas to do just that

Marketing & Content Strategy

    • Identify Content Gaps: Are people frequently asking questions about certain things? Create content that directly addresses those needs.
    • Refine Messaging: Does sentiment analysis reveal that your lighthearted tone isn’t resonating when it comes to discussing serious topics in your industry? Adjust accordingly.
    • Discover Influencers: Notice smaller accounts with strong engagement related to what you do. Partner with them for sponsored content or collaborations.

Boosting Customer Service

      • Proactive Support: See someone expressing confusion about a matter? Reach out and offer assistance before frustration escalates.
      • Public Acknowledgment: Respond to positive reviews and testimonials publicly, reinforcing your brand’s commitment to customers.
      • Address Concerns: Notice a pattern of complaints? Use that feedback to discuss potential improvements internally.

Generate Product Development Ideas

        • Uncover Pain Points: Are customers consistently venting about the lack of information regarding your products? Pass this valuable feedback to your product team.
        • New Opportunities: Discover an underserved niche within your potential market based on what people are discussing.
        • Competitive Analysis: See what products or features your competitors are offering that generate excitement.

Manage your Reputation

    • Diffuse Negative Sentiment: Is there a misunderstanding about a company product? Proactively address it with clear, factual communication.
    • Highlight Positive Experiences: Share genuine customer testimonials (with permission) to counterbalance any negativity.
    • Learn: Was a negative experience due to a real problem that needs addressing? Use social listening to drive internal change.

Spot Industry Trends Fast

    • Emerging Topics: Are conversations about things like AI in your industry spiking? Start positioning your company as a thought leader in that space.
    • Competitive Insights: Did a competitor launch a viral campaign? Analyze what worked or flopped to inform your own strategy.

Let GrowTally Be Your Ears on Social

Social listening shifts your social media presence from a broadcasting platform to a dynamic two-way conversation. It’s essential to remember that it’s an ongoing process. By consistently monitoring, analyzing, and acting on the insights you glean, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your audience. This empowers you to make smarter business decisions that foster customer loyalty, drive growth, and strengthen your brand’s reputation.

Ready to take your social listening to the next level but lack the time or resources to do it effectively? Our team of social media experts at GrowTally specialises in developing customized social listening strategies and utilizing the latest tools to turn online conversations into actionable insights.

Contact us today to get started and let us show you how social listening can transform your online presence.


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