The Benefits Of Social Media Listening For Brands (With Examples)

A Social Media Listening Guide For Brands Social media has created a fast-paced world where people constantly create and share content. Businesses can now leverage social media listening tools to keep track of what people say about their brand. 

However, there is a way to monitor and analyze the online conversation about your brand. Read to learn how to create a social listening strategy, as well as the benefits for brands. 

What is Social Listening?

Marketers, researchers, and companies use social listening to track online conversations. It involves tracking social media platforms, blogs, forum websites, as well as other digital spaces. This gives brands key insights into customer sentiment so you can make informed decisions.

For brands, this means tracking:

  • online mentions of your brand
  • brand-specific keywords for your products or services
  • competing brands in your field
  • trending industry-relevant topics

what is social listening

Why is Social Listening Important?

Social listening is important because it allows organizations to listen in on the digital discussions of their target audience. It lets you understand your customers’ pain points, interests, and what they want from you.

We can not overstate the importance of social media monitoring and listening. Ultimately, having these data-driven customer insights has a positive effect on your brand’s bottom line. Knowing how your customers feel about your brand helps you make effective change.

In addition to tracking mentions of your own brand, you can also identify trending topics and track your competition.

How Does Social Media Monitoring Differ From Social Media Listening?

These two terms are similar, and people often use them interchangeably, however, they do vary slightly.

social media listening vs social media monitoring

These two terms, while similar, do differ slightly. Social media listening helps brands understand the bigger picture and overall audience perception over time. Meanwhile, social media monitoring helps brands address immediate concerns and track more specific metrics.

Social media listening

Social media listening is a more proactive and holistic approach to understand your audience. It involves tracking and analyzing social media user interactions over time. This method allows brands to better understand and anticipate trends over time. 

Brands can use listening to:

  • gain insights about the overall perception your audience has about your brand
  • gain an understanding of the bigger picture of your brand and industry
  • guide your brand’s overall content strategy, marketing campaigns, and product development

Social media monitoring

Social media monitoring is a more reactive approach. Brands look specifically at instances when their audience mentions them or tags their profiles. Monitoring allows brands to track mentions in real time. 

Brands can use monitoring to:

  • address immediate concerns, such as customer complaints, queries, and mentions
  • analyze quantitative data, such as the number of mentions or frequency of keywords
  • track specific metrics, such as response time and sentiment analysis of direct mentions
benefits of social media monitoring

Social media monitoring is an important tool for improving the customer experience. According to Sprout Social, 51% of consumers said that brands who responded to customers on social media were more memorable. 76% of customers pay attention to how quickly brands respond to them. A further 70% of consumers want to have a personalized response to their needs from brands. Social media monitoring allows you to address your customers’ concerns.

Benefits of Social Media Listening

Social listening has several benefits for brands to leverage.. Here are three of the most important benefits:

1. Understand your customers’ needs

By paying attention to online conversations, businesses learn about what customers need, want, and expect. Listening allows brands to analyze valuable, authentic insights to make strategic decisions for their social media marketing strategy.

By analyzing these insights, brands can:

  • tailor their products, services, and customer experiences based on direct feedback
  • understand what types of content truly resonates with audiences
  • improve engagement rates and follower growth
  • identify shifts in consumer behavior, preferences, and priorities
  • respond quickly to customer inquiries, complaints, and feedback
  • improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty
social media monitoring statistics

Customers want quick responses when they interact with brands online. According to Everyone Social, social media monitoring allowed brands to increase their activity rate by 25% and decrease their reaction time on social media by 50 minutes.

2. Enhance your brand’s reputation

Social listening doesn’t just equip brands to respond to customer complaints and feedback. It also allows you to take complete ownership of your online presence. This, in turn, helps to preserve a favorable brand image that instills customers with confidence. Brands can:

  • identify and address negative feedback or reputation crises before they escalate
  • demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction
  • humanize themselves by highlighting the brand’s personality and values
  • foster a sense of community engaging with customers, sharing user generated content, and participating in relevant discussions
  • build a loyal follower base that advocates for your brand

3. Analyze your competition

Brands can use social listening to monitor the activities of their competitors and identify industry trends. Understanding where your brand stands in the context of your industry is critical for growth. Brands can:

  • track the successes and failures of competing brands
  • benchmark their own performance against industry standards
  • find gaps in the marketplace to fill
  • identify ways to differentiate from other brands
  • gather data to support decisions to develop new strategies

Comparing Social Listening Tools

The market is full of social media monitoring tools, and each with its own set of features and prices to choose from. The popular ones are Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Mention. A business should consider its needs and budget seriously before choosing the right tool for its needs.

How Organizations Can Approach Social Media Listening

Before you implement social listening, you need a well-outlined strategy for your brand. Follow these steps:

1. Identify what social networks your target audience uses. For this strategy to be effective, you need to know where your audience is having these conversations. Tailor your efforts to the key channels where your audience is the most active.

top data sources for brands

Social listening professionals pull user data from a variety of online sources. Some of the top sources of data include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn. Your brand’s top data sources will vary depending on your target audience.

2. Define your brand’s objectives. This could include improving customer service, understanding market trends, monitoring brand reputation, finding sales opportunities, etc.

3. Identify strategic keywords and topics to focus on. Compile a list of keywords and phrases that your people might use in their online conversations about you and your industry.

4. Identify key metrics to monitor and analyze. This can include sentiment analysis, engagement rate, etc. These metrics will differ depending on your original goals.

5. Choose the right tools depending on the needs and goals of your brand. Find tools that allow you to monitor across various platforms.

6. Configure your tools to send you alerts for mentions of your keywords. That way, you can stay informed in real time about relevant conversations.

7. Set up an assigned team to oversee the system. This team can respond to customer feedback in a timely manner.

3 Successful Social Listening Examples From Brands

starbucks white cup contest

Starbucks White Cup Contest

Starbucks’ #WhiteCupContest is one of the most successful examples of social media listening. In 2014, Starbucks asked their customers to decorate white reusable coffee cups. The coffee giant then chose one winner’s design to create a new, limited edition reusable cup. To enter into the competition, users just had to post a photo of their design with the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.

With nearly 4,000 entries to go through, Starbucks ended up choosing Brita Lynn Thompson’s black and white design as the winner. Not only did this give Starbucks a lot of buzz, but the competition helped to springboard the young art student’s career.

For brands today, this is a great example of how to combine listening with user generated content. When done well, you can create viral hashtags and brand advocates.

netflix diy sock commercial

Netflix DIY Sock Commercial

We’ve all heard the phrase “Netflix and chill” before, and now, so has Netflix itself. By paying attention to their customers, Netflix knows how people interact with their product. People sit down to watch an episode or two, end up binging way more episodes, and are inevitably distracted.

In response, Netflix released their “Socks DIY” ad, where a woman knits a pair of socks that pauses her show when she falls asleep.

This is a great example of how social listening isn’t just about responding to your audience online. It helps brands create new content that resonates with their audience.

spotify AI DJ

Spotify DJ

When Spotify originally released its new AI DJ feature in 2023, only American and Canadian users could access it. Spotify users from the UK and Ireland took to X (Twitter) to declare that they wanted access as well.

The music streaming platform listened to what these users had to say. By May, users in the UK and Ireland were able to use the new feature as well. Spotify also made an X (Twitter) post alerting users of the new rollout. The post included screenshots of users’ original posts that sparked the conversation in the first place.

This example highlights how important social listening helps brands get the user feedback they need to improve their products. Spotify didn’t just say they listened to their customers; they actually implemented what their customers asked for.

Closing Out: Implementing A Social Media Listening Strategy

Social media listening is a valuable tool that brands should leverage. Knowing what your audience thinks helps you establish an online presence and connect with your target audience. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to create an effective strategy. 

Remember to learn from success stories, and continue to innovate. If your brand hasn’t started social media listening already, it is never too late to start.

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About The Author

William DiAntonio is the Founder & CEO of Reputation911, a reputation management firm he founded in 2010 that has earned the trust of its clients for over a decade by helping individuals, businesses and brands control their online search results.

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