What is social listening?

While digital marketers, content producers and copywriters excel at crafting compelling messages and narratives, would you believe the key to online success actually begins with silence? You’ve heard it before – listening is more valuable than speaking because you learn when you listen.

In the digital landscape, we gather the best insights through social listening. Without them, your entire digital marketing strategy may miss the mark.

How can you understand your audience’s thoughts, desires and requirements if you’re not actively listening to them? Social listening is your modern-day marketing crystal ball, offering an awareness that better caters to your target market’s wants and needs.

woman's ear and hand through a torn hole in the paper

An important tool in the digital age

Have you ever felt guilty about eavesdropping? Social listening is socially acceptable eavesdropping. No guilt is necessary. It’s the art of monitoring online conversations and tracking brand mentions across social media and digital platforms to discover what people are saying and what they really think about your business, product or industry.

Social listening is an invaluable tool that offers a real competitive edge. By monitoring conversations and feedback, companies can build strong customer relationships, identify emerging trends for content production and effectively manage their reputation proactively during crisis situations. You can use the gathered data to measure the effectiveness of your current marketing campaigns.

There’s no better way to understand your target market than by listening to what they have to say. This allows you to discover customer sentiments, preferences and pain points, which can then inform product and service development and marketing strategies.

Competitor analysis

Formulating a winning strategy in any game requires a deep understanding of your competition – their thoughts, motivations and actions. The business world may not be a game, but the principle remains unchanged. To gain an advantage, you must know your opponents. Social listening can be a helpful ally in this quest.

Analysing competitor sentiment and discussions, including complaints, suggestions and feedback, provides insights into audience perception and identifies potential shortcomings. This uncovers opportunities to address unmet needs in the marketplace.

Comparing your brand’s social media performance with competitors using metrics like follower growth, engagement rates and content popularity provides a clear view of your competitive position and potential areas for improvement. Additionally, social listening can reveal key topics, influencers and advocates in your industry or niche.

Tools and platforms

Social listening tools, typically available as software platforms and applications, collect data from diverse online sources, including popular social media platforms, blogs, forums, news websites and more. These tools use algorithms for data analysis and generate reports that assist users in making sense of the extracted data.

Some tools offer advanced features like personalised search queries and filters, empowering users to fine-tune data collection for tracking specific keywords, brands or sentiments. Additionally, many of these tools have strong integration capabilities, easily connecting with customer relationship management (CRM) systems and other data analytics platforms. This ensures that you can effortlessly share and utilise the collected data in a broader business context.

Social listening strategies

There are numerous strategies for social listening, depending on the information you’re hoping to attain. Monitoring online conversations can produce a comprehensive list of keywords, hashtags, brand mentions, audience demographics and more.

Social listening strategies include event-driven analysis, which examines conversations around specific events, and feedback loop integration, connecting insights with real-time innovation.

In addition, regional variations in audience and conversations necessitate a localisation strategy to enhance social listening effectiveness.

Turned a wooden cube and changed the word 'listen' to 'learn'

Can you hear it?

Social listening is the sound of learning.

If you’ve ever dreamed of a comprehensive tool that provides insights from market research, competitor analysis and customer feedback to help you stay relevant and grow your business, look no further than social listening.

At Brilliant Digital, we offer data-driven marketing solutions. Social listening provides some of the most valuable data you’ll ever obtain. We can help you decode these conversations and shape them into a robust marketing strategy.

Read our case studies or reach out to discuss partnering with us for all your digital marketing needs.

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