People Are Talking, Are You Listening? The Importance of Social Media Monitoring

By Alesia Hsiao, writer
May 20, 2015
Image Credit: SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock

Listen, can you hear it? People are talking about you.

Social media has transformed the way we market our businesses. But regardless of what we have to say about our products and services, people are going to have their own take on them, and they may be turning to social media to express that. What if you're not there to hear (and respond to) their commentary?

Numerous tools are available to help you listen in on social media. However, if you do not have a social media listening strategy they are pointless. Listening in on social media is a great way to get ahead of your competitors and keep your customers coming back for more.

In order to help you come up with a social media listening strategy, we’ll be discussing ten ways to listen in on social media.

Related Article: Which Social Media Metrics Actually Matter?

Enhance Current Marketing Efforts with Social Media Tools

Obviously, you have a social media strategy. However, you have to listen in with social media tools. There’s a boatload of social media listening tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Icerocket, Social Mention, and Topsy.

By utilizing these tools, you can find out what your audience wants so you know what to provide them. This is akin to getting feedback from your audience without actually asking for it. Think about the possibilities you can do to improve your marketing efforts by tapping into your audience’s thoughts.

In other words, tapping these tools will help you:

  • Garner invaluable feedback. Seeing your audience’s reaction to your latest marketing campaign, product or announcement will help you immensely to improve your products or services, as you can better tailor them to the needs expressed.
  • Humanize your social voice. Making use of social media listening tools allows you to interact easily with your audience and makes you more approachable.
  • Negate harmful social buzz. Last year, a fire caused by a Keurig-brand coffee maker burned down an apartment in Oregon. At first, Keurig merely wanted to present the homeless family with a new coffee maker, resulting in cries of indignance across major social media channels. As a result of listening to the audience’s reactions, the company paid for fire restoration and the family was able to regain their home. This shows how effective social media listening can be when it comes to reputation management and averting social media disasters.

Spy on Your Competitors 

You have to know what your competitors are doing in order to overtake them. With so many sneaky online tools (like these 25, via KISSmetrics) available to spy on your competitors, you’d naturally feel overwhelmed. However, the key here is to use and choose based on your intentions, which may include:

  • Gather intel on the competition and evaluate their efforts
  • Finding new opportunities to overcome them
  • Set new business goals based on the closest competitors you aim to beat

Spying on your competitors allows you to learn more about their tactics, activity, and customer engagement. Doing so could very well lead you to winning over some of their customers.

Improve Your Efforts by Monitoring Hashtags

When something new is released by a massive consumer brand, social media tends to viral on the subject. For example, on the day that Apple releases a new product, it’s not unusual to see a sudden slew of conversation on Twitter with specific trending hashtags around said product. Apple would naturally monitor these hashtags in order to discover customers’ likes and dislikes.

Some excellent hashtag-tracking tools you can utilize include:

  • Talkwalker: This online tool allows marketers to easily measure the impact of hashtags as a variety of metrics (general buzz, engagement, sentiment and potential reach) are generated
  • Hashtagify: This tool lets you gain insight on top influencers and competitors and presents you with different inks between various hashtags.
  • RiteTag: You can instantly see if the hashtag you’re using in your Tweets are appropriate or not, and at the same time, it improves your hashtag usage to optimize reach.

Leverage Location-based Social Media Monitoring Tools

When it comes to social media listening, most marketers fail to leverage on location-based social tools. Location-based social media solutions such as Geofeedia can easily help marketers connect with their most important customers and understand what’s being said at specific events.

For example, if a New York company wants to listen in on trade shows, parties and events held exclusively in the city, Geofeedia may help in gaining the upperhand in terms of garnering prospects and engaging with the community.

Other location-based social media tools include:

Show Off Your Customer Service Skills

When you respond promptly to mentions of your company on social media, you are showing potential customers that you have great customer service skills. Individuals love to see brands engaging with customers on social media. Always keep in mind when customers have something good or bad to say about your brand, their first spot to share their feelings is going to be on a social media network. A recent study showed that 35% of the participants had asked a brand a question on a social network before.

Related Article: Does Your Business Need Insurance for Social Media? 

Find Employees via LinkedIn

Anyone can put up a job ad and receive responses. However, interviewing and weeding through the applications can be pretty tedious. When listening in on LinkedIn you may come across the ideal employees for your team, enabling you to reach out to them directly with your job offer. LinkedIn allows you to learn more about your future employees because you can look through their recommendations and see what past employers had to say. You can also see their skills and certifications laid out in front of you.

Tip: Participating in LinkedIn discussion can be tedious. To counter that, you may utilize tools like Oktopost, a nifty tool that allows users to listen in on LinkedIn groups and discussions through an intuitive stream.

Find Influencers to Help You Reach a Larger Audience

Influencers are a great way to get your name out to your targeted audience. While listening in on social media you can see who the influencers in your niche are and connect with them.

They are going to do their research on you and if they like your company, they will have no problems telling their audience about you. Influencers will get you better conversion rates because their audience is not only looking for your business but they trust that the influencer would only recommend reputable companies.

Tip: One of the easiest ways to find influencers is to take a peek at who your competitors are following on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy 

While listening on social media you will find yourself engaging in conversations, many that lead to content. When listening to individuals across social networks, you can see what questions they have and then provide them with content that answers their questions.

For example, if you see the hashtag #AskaBlogger trending you could provide your audience with content that came from a blogger and gain views outside of your audience.

Related Article: The 10-Minute Social Media Workday

Bonus Resources: Social Media Listening Tools I Love

Social Mention

With this tool, you can monitor social, video, blogs and more. Just enter the search term and the tool pulls up everything that is being said about it. You don’t even have to download anything to utilize this tool.


Topsy is a tool that allows you to find influencers, measure exposure and more. The free version is very basic so you will have to invest in the PRO version to take advantage of all of the features.

Google Keyword Planner

This tool has everything that you need. It is great for new and existing campaigns. In order to use this tool you have to have an AdWords account.

Alesia Hsiao writes for several finance sites and manages content including market commentary and outlook, featured insights, blog posts and tweets through their main social media channels. When she's not putting her knowledge about marketing, finance and investment to good use, Alesia also pens down her thoughts on the wonders of technology how it changes the world for the better. In her free time, Alesia watches indie movies AND her renewable stock portfolio closely..
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