By Sarah Malone

Being a good listener is an important part of any relationship, including the relationship between a brand and its audiences. In particular, social listening is a critical step in the branding process


Social listening is achieved when organizations track social media platforms for relevant mentions and conversations, allowing them to stay up-to-date on the current trends, emotions and opinions of their audiences. Brands can use various platforms to monitor social media, such as Meltwater or Sprout Social, which help organize and highlight conversations relevant for your organization.


Here are some of the key ways to use social listening tools to boost your brand.


Get a Better Understanding of Your Consumers

In order to properly market your organization and run successful campaigns, it’s critical that you have a strong awareness of who your consumers are. Luckily, in a social media-centered world, brands have the ability to see what people are currently talking about and how they feel through the click of just a few buttons. 


Social listening provides insights into different target audiences’ general interests and attitudes, as well as which demographics are most vocal about your brand. 


Get Ideas for Future Projects and Products

The observations gained from social listening can also help inspire ideas for future campaigns. With a better grasp of who your consumers are and how they feel, you can create messaging that is more specifically tailored to them. Social listening can help brands adapt to the communication styles and preferences of the social media users who are discussing them. 


A brand can also use these tools to create new products or services and improve existing ones based on what people are expressing on social media. 


For example, by using social media tools and analyzing relevant keywords, a restaurant could come up with ideas for new menu items that people are sharing a desire for on social media. Or conversely, if people are using social media to express discontent with a product or service they received, you can make changes at a faster pace. 


Get Insight into Competition

Is your competition reaching a bigger audience than your organization? How can you stand out from other companies in the industry? By closely monitoring social media, you can help answer these questions and better strategize ways to surpass competition. 


Instead of only looking at your company’s social media mentions, make sure to also check out conversations surrounding your competition. This can help your brand adjust its marketing efforts to express what sets your brand apart. 


Curb Negative Reactions Before They Become Crises 

Social listening helps you stay aware of conversations, good or bad, right as they are happening. 


These tools can help prevent crises, or tame them before they become worse. Keeping an eye on social media can help your brand realize early on if they are involved in a dilemma. For example, if a number of consumers had a negative customer-service experience and are expressing their anger on social media, social listening tools can help your brand stay aware of the situation early on, so that you can allow your brand to address the situation before it gets worse.


Overall, social listening allows brands to stay in the loop at the fast pace of social media. Organizations can improve their messaging and better reach audiences when they take advantage of their ability to listen to conversations as they are occurring.