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The Art of Social Media Listening

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: social media listening is an integral part of any social media strategy. There are over 200 million tweets sent per day, even the tiniest percentage of this figure is a huge amount of potential positive engagement that your business could be leveraging.

This post covers the why, where, when, who and how of social media listening (with a nice infographic after the wall of text outlining the post).



Listening in on conversations that are going down in the social media world can give you awesome insight into your target demographics and buyer personas. With this insight you can identify what makes them tick and what content resonates with them. You can adjust your own content strategy accordingly and reap the rewards.

Address Issues

Hearing about a bad experience a customer may have had with your business needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Picking up on negative experiences and addressing them as soon as possible can prevent, what we call in the biz, a social media sh*tstorm.

Identify Opportunities

Your competitors may have just made a GIANT mistake – the sooner you hear about it, the sooner you can identify a gap in the market and fill their shoes. There is also the opportunity to suss out your target demographics’ pain points that will allow you to better pitch your products, generate leads and create customers.


With the release of Facebook hashtags, literally every major social network has mechanisms that allow for social listening. While you’re still trying to find the time for all this social media stuff, go to the channel that your audience frequents most.


ALWAYS. Ok, I know this is unrealistic, but in an ideal world this should be what happens. Chances are, if you’re actually running a business, you probably don’t have the time to infinitely monitor social channels – so instead, make sure you’re having a listen at least twice a day, preferably during your audiences’ peak activity hours.


Microsoft used social listening last week to change the Xbox One before it irreversibly damaged the brand. Maker’s Mark did something similar to change (or in this case, not change) a product as a result of effective social listening. Huge brands are having awesome wins as a result of social listening – you should too.



Hashtags (and keywords) are probably the most useful feature of the social network. They allow you to listen in on and join conversations efficiently and effectively. Make a list of hashtags and keywords that you can search every day (and get Tweetdeck to monitor them effectively).


You should be monitoring the conversations that your competitors are having with their communities at all times. So much can be gained from doing this. Identify gaps in their strategy that can be filled, improve product/service in areas that theirs lack and use creative (and ethical) ways to convert their fans into yours.


Tap into conversations happening in your area to identify local trends and potential customer pain points that can be leveraged to benefit your business. Steve Mullen of Amplified Media wrote a cool guide on how to do this using Hootsuite.

You can use this infographic to remind you of the most important aspects of social media listening.

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