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What is social listening and how can I apply it?

05 Sep 2022. 15:51
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5 min.
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  • SME maturity
    1. Marketing digital y redes sociales
    Scope to digitize
    1. Relationship with clients

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Social networks form an essential part of the communication channels between companies and customers. For this reason, it is important that you are up to date and know the conversations that are generated in these media. Keep reading and we'll tell you how!

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social listening

Social networks are becoming increasingly important in people's lives. This is demonstrated by the IAB's Annual Study of Social Networks, which indicates that 85% of Internet users between 12 and 70 years old use social networks. This figure represents around 28 million people in Spain.

All these users have one aspect in common and that is that they share their experiences, opinions and experiences about products and brands with different online communities. In fact, digital communities are increasingly important in consumers' lives, according to Hootsuite's 2022 Social Media Trends report. For this reason, it is important that your company does an active listening exercise to understand what are the preferences and needs of the users who are part of these communities and thus be able to apply this learning in future improvements.


What is social listening?

Social listening consists of monitoring and tracking, mainly on social networks, who is talking about your company, brand, product or service and what is saying about it. This practice also focuses on detecting conversations on topics related to your business, such as competition, arrival of new trends, identification of opportunities and changes in the behavior of your audience.


Are social media monitoring and social listening the same thing?

It is easy to confuse both practices since, in a way, monitoring is part of social listening. Still, it's important to understand the difference between social listening and social monitoring so you can do them optimally.

Social media monitoring focuses on collecting data reactively, first your customers interact and then the brand responds. Instead, social listening goes a step further. In this practice you should try to listen to users on all social channels, whether social networks, blogs or forums. The information from this listening must be used strategically, trying to understand what the needs of your audience are and what actions you can take to improve their experience in advance.


Why should you use social listening in your SME?

Active listening not only helps to improve the relationship with the customer, but also has other benefits that may be of great interest to your SME:

  • It makes it easier to obtain objective opinions since social networks are channels in which your users usually leave their comments and ratings.
  • It allows to improve customer service by identifying their needs thanks to the active listening of their conversations.
  • It helps to better understand the competition and know what the audience thinks of it.
  • It allows you to generate better ideas and marketing strategies thanks to the conversations you hear on the network. 
  • You can avoid an online reputation crisis  before it happens.
  • It helps identify opportunities for collaboration with creators and influencers that you might otherwise overlook.


Step by step to successfully perform social listening

Social listening always follows these four key steps, regardless of the size or activity of your SME:

  1. Social monitoring. As we mentioned before, in this phase you will collect interaction data, keywords or mentions of your brand.
  2. Listen.  In this step you should focus on classifying the different interactions of users according to the "feeling" they manifest, which can be positive, neutral or negative.
  3. Analysis.  Once the previous two steps have been completed, you must analyze the results keeping in mind what is the context of the sector, the market and most importantly, your SME.
  4. Definition of the strategy.  This step refers to the design of actions that we will perform. It can range from social media responses to continuous improvement of the user experience.


Performing social listening of all the networks of your company can be a bit complicated and tedious, so it is important to know that there are a lot of tools that can facilitate this process. The best known are, among others, Hootsuite, Sprout social, Mention, Brandwatch or Keyhole. In any case, we recommend that you do an extensive search and study which tool best suits your SME.

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