Growing up, my father would always tell me, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, listen before you speak.” Hearing this as frequently as I did, I learned that active listening has a significant impact on a multitude of tasks. From playing sports to running a business, active listening can help improve your communication and allows things to run smoothly.

In a world where running a business tends to include managing social media accounts, it’s important to understand that active listening isn’t only a face to face practice.  Social media strategists must understand the concept of social listening. Never heard of it? No worries- we’re here to help! Read on to learn more about what social listening is and how your brand can benefit from it. 

What is Social Media Listening

The concept of social listening focuses on the bigger picture. It is where you observe the trends surrounding your industry rather than those directly associated with your brand. Unfolding these insights can help you realize why your audience does the things they do, and allows you to target your social content accordingly.

Listening is beneficial because it digs into the roots of where, how, and why people are talking about what they are talking about.

Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring

Often tied together, both social listening and social monitoring are key aspects of a social media strategy. So what’s the difference? Social monitoring has a stronger focus on what your current audience cares about, and zeroes in on the messages targeted directly to your brand. A great example is the content found in your company’s mentions, as well as what people are saying directly about your company. Conversely, listening takes you outside the direct mentions and focuses on the environment in which consumers exist in.

Think of it this way monitoring tells you the what, whereas listening tells you the why. Both are important! Want to learn more about monitoring? We have a blog about that!. Let’s explore a few benefits of how social media listening can help your brand.

Boost rapport with customers by responding to them

Put those active listening ears to work (thanks, Dad) and respond to your audiences’ problems and concerns. Recent studies find that a whopping 83% of people like it when businesses answer questions and concerns, especially on social media. As you may not be able to address everyone’s ideas and problems, audiences realize when effort is put in and notice that you are trying to cater to them.

Opening your ears can open new opportunities

The more you listen, the more you can discover new opportunities. People don’t just talk to talk (well sometimes they do). Generally, though, when people are talking about a brand or an industry, they are expressing their true opinions. This differs from information companies may glean from specific surveys or reviews. Social media has made it easy for people to express how they really feel.

This strategy is beneficial for business. You can see the gaps in your industry, and work to fill them. For example, maybe you work at a yoga studio and you discover through social listening that your customers don’t like how fast classes in the area fill up. This can give you the upper-hand in proactively alleviating the problem, such as running a campaign letting the community know that you will be offering more classes or class spaces. There will always be problems in need of solutions, and listening gives you the ability to help make impactful changes.

Increase your audience

Digging in to find the root of all of your progress and problems will increase the success of your social presence, thus increasing your audience. Through social listening, you can find out what content people like and create relevant posts that match their taste, which in turn, can draw them to your brand. It’s important that you look at what people in your industry post rather than the posts of who you follow.

”Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

Need help getting started with social listening? Drop us a line.