How to make social listening work for your digital strategy


It goes without saying; for brands to succeed on social media, they require a detailed, well researched digital strategy that focuses on finding and reaching the right people, at the right time with the most relevant content.

In order to help build a successful digital strategy, brands use social listening and social monitoring tools to help understand their customers in greater detail.

Social listening versus social monitoring

The difference between social listening and social monitoring is not just a case of marketing jargon. Although both terms are often used interchangeably throughout conversation, both strategies offer two very different social outcomes. The first step is identifying the key differences between the two.

  • Social monitoring
    Social Monitoring focuses on key social actions on a micro level to address customer complaints, incoming queries, comments or issues on a daily basis. Social monitoring works well for brands with dedicated social teams who are able to respond quickly in real-time, answering their questions, resolving issues and referring customers to the appropriate departments when required.
  • Social listening
    Social listening, however, looks at the social media landscape from a macro perspective. Social listening takes social monitoring one step further. Instead of replying to queries or comments about your brand, social listening extracts key insights from social conversations that you can apply to your overall strategy from both a content and CRM perspective. In short, social monitoring collects every social mention and interaction, while listening requires analysis and reflection. “Social listening is all about understanding the mindset of the consumer through unbiased and unprompted peer-to-peer conversations.”

The role of social listening within strategy

Social listening can offer two distinct types of insights providing a cost effective and efficient way in understanding conversations and social data. Social media conversations are monitored in real-time and showcase how consumers are forming opinions about your brand. Social data is all about understanding the mindset of the consumer through unbiased and unprompted peer-to-peer conversations.

Measure and use the data

It is important to use social listening as part of your digital strategy to understand consumer attitudes towards your brand and help form insights that drive results for your business.

1. Determining which social channels your customers use the most

It is important to identify and take note of which channels your customers are using the most. Are they following links to your website, or are they engaging with and writing about your brand on your social channels or theirs?

2. Attracting leads from your digital strategy

Is there a lead generation strategy in place? It is important that you tailor your content to capture customer data in order to better track and understand behaviours and sentiment towards your brand from consumers.

3. Obtaining feedback on your products/services

Are you actively listening to your customers on your channels? Take the time to review previous posts and see what your customers are saying about you.

4. Identifying brand advocates or influencers

Are there any brand advocates or influencers who have tagged your brand in a recent post? Or do you know any key influencers who have a follower base that would be interested in the products or services you offer? Does your key brand message align with theirs? These are all important factors to consider when identifying influencers to work with your brand.

5. Improving customer care

Is your brand sentiment positive or negative? Are customers happy with your product or service? Don’t be afraid to ask your customers their thoughts on how you can continually improve your offering to them.

6. Monitoring the competition

Keep track of what your competition is doing. Are they engaging with customers, are there elements you can include in part of your customer engagement strategy?

By following theses six outlined steps, brands can develop digital marketing strategies that not only enable them to make informed decisions in real-time, but also engage with and interact with their customers more effectively through creating content and solving challenges that resonate with them.

Key points

  • Social listening provides actionable insights for businesses to inform your digital strategy based on real-time data presented.
  • Companies are able to better monitor customer engagement and listen closely to what is being said online in understanding their customers further.
  • Social listening provides a great tool for brands and organisations to identify strategic wins or missteps in real time.

Contact us

If you would like help developing your digital strategy, please get in touch with Stephanie Paul.