Nobody can deny the importance of Social Media Listening as a marketing tool. As a refresher, listening is a way of collecting and analysing the chatter surrounding your brand through tracking mentions about you or your peripherals. As businesses get right into social media in large, escalating quantities, latest tools and the number of experts in the field have also increased considerably. However, not everyone has managed to utilise listening to the best of its ability; when not dealing with the strategy with reproach, some become totally dependent on tools.

We don’t want you to be like them.

Simple as it may seem because of the gamut of tools available to you, it is actually really easy to butcher this otherwise effective strategy. However, there is an underlying science to listening that may just catapult your digital marketing initiatives to success.

We’ve gone through establishing the strategic benefits of listening for your brand, but let’s now discover five effective tips that can lead your listening endeavour to success.

1. Clarify Reasons for Listening

Social media listening concerns itself more about the analysis of data to complement strategy instead of providing immediate responses. Businesses should then remember to collect not just for the sake of collecting. You wouldn’t want data dump or to fill your data centers with information that doesn’t really give you anything. Our advice is to set a clear goal in mind for your social media listening endeavour. This could be a few or a combination of the following: monitoring reputation, generating leads, increasing brand awareness, leveraging on competitor data, etc.

It might help to ask yourself these questions when you brainstorm with your team:

  • “How will listening influence the way we strategise for our brand?”
  • “How will data from listening eventually influence our customers?”

2. Use Social Media Monitoring Tools

We mentioned that brands often butcher social listening, and this is because of their failure to initially set their values and goals right (for the audience and the brand).

Now, the internet is teeming with social listening tools that can answer most of the goals you defined for your brand. Just like any other digital tools, they conveniently sweep the internet to help you make informed decisions. They generate real-time information and even provide historical data to help you spot previous trends. Some even include sophisticated features that allow you to view activity in certain areas around the world.

You will never be short of tools to employ for your convenience as there’s one for every social media platform. You can check this list to see some of the best tools in the market today.

Some tools give leeway so you don’t feel forced into making premature commitments. They can offer free trials and demos so you can see what best fits the objective you set for your brand.

However, we advise you to be wary. While tools are proven to make monitoring more convenient, base your decision on the parameters you set: objective, budget, and the capability of your team to handle it.

Also read: Social influence is an essential part of doing business today, and you should engage customers whenever you can

3. Monitor Relevant Keywords

Keywords lie at the heart of social media listening. Initially, keywords guide audience by connecting them to their interests and showing options available to them. They work like connectors that the people use to find services and products that appeal to them the most. Brands, however, create and communicate their messages effectively to the audience by visiting frequently used keywords in social media.

Since the majority of the keywords are created by the market, businesses must consistently update their keyword list or the word combinations that they monitor. However, you must remember that these query words vary per platform and that what’s popular on one platform may not automatically capture the essence of customer sentiment on another. This is because there are notable behavioural differences across the platforms. The “one size fits all” framework will not work in this scenario. Effective listening welcomes and works around the idiosyncrasies within platforms.

4. Benchmark for Progress

To improve your process, you must remember to track not only your movement but your competitions’. Some businesses lose out on the benefits of benchmarking simply because they don’t do it. Others fail remarkably at implementing the insights that they do get (more on this later).

Benchmarking for progress means basically doing a sweep of your industry to see how well (or how bad, even) your competitors are doing. Keep track of the essential dimensions of your business and pit it against your competition. This way, you can improve the quality of your services and products.

Benchmarking doesn’t have to be costly; the key to generating great insights is by, again, setting clear objectives. Ask yourself what aspect of your competitor’s business you want to analyse; it could be the process, their campaigns, latest product innovations, etc. The key here is to make sure that you are moving with the trend of your industry and not lagging behind on improvements. This urges you to not be complacent and to always, always ensure that you maintain your market relevance.

5. Tie-In Customer Chatter with Campaign- and Strategy-Building

Most businesses fail because they dismiss the last step to successful social media listening—tying-in the customer chatter to their strategies. Some brands become too obsessed with classifying labels and providing prompt, yet short-term solutions to maintain brand reputation. Now, we are not dismissing the utility of listening to making real-time responses, but social listening can benefit your company in other ways besides reputation management.

Also read: 4 ways to achieve high-converting engagement with your customers

Grand, longer-term strategies are rooted in data acquired from listening. Companies can use social media listening to monitor and predict emerging trends to aid the brand’s overall strategy. Effective listening doesn’t stop at the collection of data but always makes sure that they capture the whole chatter picture.


Businesses expecting social media listening tools to do all the work for them are in for a very rude awakening. Recognise the importance of the human element and why it has to co-exist perfectly with the digital.

Marketing and translating these goals takes a lot of work, but reliable teams can provide you with solutions that use the valuable insights from your listening.


e27 publishes relevant guest contributions from the community. Share your honest opinions and expert knowledge by submitting your content here.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash