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October 14, 2021

Social Listening 101

Kaitlin Hobbes

Social listening 101

Social media is celebrated for its two-way communication capabilities. It’s one of the most personal methods of advertising in that it allows the advertiser to correspond directly with their audience. In addition to having this means of direct communication and messaging, social media is a vast land of opportunity to learn more about your industry, your audience, and your brand. Social listening has become an important part of digital marketing over the last several years because it allows us to examine these factors to help brands make informed and educated decisions when it comes to their advertising and to their business overall.

There are millions of conversations happening on social media on any given day. As marketers, it’s our job to wade through the clutter and find the conversations that specifically relate to our brand and our industry. What seems like finding a needle in a haystack can be hugely simplified by using a social listening tool.

What Is Social Listening Used For?

Social listening can be used to help respond quickly in times of crises — whether that be a global crisis like we’ve seen with the pandemic over the past two years, or a negative review about your brand going viral. Most often, though, social listening is used to monitor one of the following: Brand, Industry, or Campaign.

Keyword cloud showing COVID-19 related keywords on social for the past month (

Within those overarching topics, we can gather a decent amount of information to help us better manage social media. Most social listening tools collect data such as audience location and demographics, top keywords, hashtags, and more to help you determine insights and action items for your brand.

Top conversation themes and corresponding data surrounding COVID-19 for the past month (

How Do I Use Social Listening Data?

Start every social listening query by asking a question. Ask yourself first what you are trying to accomplish by pulling this data. For example, I might be working with a travel brand to find out if people are more apt to fly or drive for their next vacation in 2022. Or I might be working with a fashion brand to figure out which influencers already have an interest in their brand that we could use for an upcoming influencer campaign. It’s best to always start with a question or goal in mind so that you can make the best use of the data and develop actionable insights for your brand.

Social Media First

Because social media is so widely used, it now sits at the forefront of advertising plans and often becomes the source of data for campaign and brand planning. The level of information that is collected via social media beyond even just general demographics is incredibly useful for making decisions regarding not only future social media endeavors, but also with overall creative, advertising, and business decisions. Because of this, many businesses are gravitating towards a “social media first” approach to advertising, where we use information from tools like social listening to drive their advertising. Social listening is a great way to begin harvesting the data you need to inform your marketing team. If you’re wanting to make better use of your social media efforts and stand out against your competitors, contact us today.