Up your brand intelligence game with social listening

Zest guests' marketing takes April 14, 2020
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Up your brand intelligence game with social listening

Being a marketer might not be the loneliest job ever, but it’s definitely up there. Most of the time, being a marketer feels like a One vs. the World type of deal. The World is the ever-changing everything outside of one marketer’s powers. Our job is to not only keep up but also stay atop the waves.

Every time a new strategy or tool pops up, we marketers have to do our homework to see how to use it, if at all. It’s a lifetime deal, too. New thing after new thing, the world never leaves you hanging. Luckily, you can always turn to the expertise of other marketers who are out there trying and testing whatever strategy is getting the hype to find out what’s up. 

Social media monitoring and social listening is a perfect example of a cool new thing that buzzed around for a while. And now it has become clear that this marketing strategy is staying. Just think about it: scanning social media + the web for mentions of any keyword. There are at least a good dozen unique marketing insights to be drawn from the intel you can gather from this method. In fact, there are many social listening benefits to be gained by brands that pick up this new habit. 

Here are just some of the things social listening lets you do:

  • Monitor your brand and marketing campaigns,
  • Collect competitor intel,
  • Improve customer care,
  • Find leads and influencers,
  • Conduct research of any scope.

Did I mention this can all be done for you? Social listening tools available today are mighty enough to collect all the mentions of your company and transform them into actionable analytics. All you have to do is ask. Meanwhile, you get to catch your breath and enjoy a moment of peace. With social listening analytics on hand, it’s for you to decide how (and if) you act on the information you gain.

To help cut your listening learning curve, I’ve gathered some of the best social listening use cases from my fellow marketers. Check them out. 

1. Get a fair assessment of your reputation

Brand reputation is important to your business’s bottom line. Yet it’s not always clear what exactly goes into the notion. Plus, reputation building is never quite finished. How do you measure, track, and benchmark your brand reputation then? Easy: by examining everything that’s being said about your brand online.

Because social listening goes beyond social media and right into the rest of the web, you get a 360° overview of your brand. How much is being said about you over time, what kind of buzz that is, and how it all changes across languages, locations, and platforms. 

Some social listening tools, such as Awario, will not only monitor mentions of your brand but also provide actionable insights on the data, such as overall sentiment and key topics behind your mentions. While a spike in negative mentions is a self-explanatory reason for a follow-up, positive or neutral mentions are valuable too. A new word in the topic cloud may give you new ideas for a product feature or marketing campaign.

Image of a word cloud depicting various terms related to oat or oatly includes words such as: oat milk, head of oatly, oatly barista, copywriter
Example of a social listening topic cloud

Tracking your reputation over time doesn’t have to be an all-consuming task. Leave the job to social listening tools and have your brand or campaign performance insights delivered right to you. Once you start brand monitoring, reputation insights can be fetched at any point, instantly.

2. Measure competitor market share

Brand monitoring doesn’t discriminate. You can track competitors’ brands in the same way you track your own. Ultimately, by gathering information about yours and other brands, social listening tools give you a comprehensive picture of your niche. You can discover the share of voice — next of kin to market share — of every player in your industry. 

Share of voice shows how much a brand is talked about. It reflects total online visibility, i.e. how many mentions you get vs. how many mentions each of your competitors get. Because social listening tools offer data analytics, you get to look into the mentions and see the sentiment and contexts behind them. There’s always something to learn from your competitors’ wins and losses. 

Listening tools let you dive into competitor mentions as deep as you want, filtering by a keyword or any of the metrics that might be of relevance to you. This way, you get to collect real-user feedback on your competition and tailor your product and marketing moves accordingly.

3. Leverage customer support requests

Customer support might not seem like your department, but that’s no reason it can’t work for you. Is there a greater marketing asset than happy customers? Perhaps, perhaps not. What we know for sure is that non-stop social media monitoring translates into happier customers and a slew of marketing opportunities to go along with it.

Continuous social listening enables you to see customer support requests as soon as they land online. There are many ways you can use the customer voice, whether they are posting a question, comment or complaint. Social listening tools let you interact with your brand mentions (including untagged or misspelled ones) in-app, which means that you get to handle support requests instantly.

Screenshot of a twitter post from a potential customer who mentions a company but does not tag it
Customers don’t always tag your brand when they talk about it online

Addressing customer concerns right away does two things: it improves your response and resolution time and establishes you as the brand that listens. Since customers are already talking about your company, you can make sure they leave happy and spread the good word about your brand to all of the social media.

4. Master leads and influencers

Leads and influencers are the true jewels of web monitoring. And, much like jewels, they are rare and precious. It is hard to find the perfect match for your brand in the vortex of billions of online conversations. Yet these are your potential customers and brand ambassadors we’re talking about. All it takes to find them is firing up your social listening tool. 

Today’s social media monitoring and listening tools have baked-in leads and influencer marketing features. In addition to identifying people who are looking for a product like yours, social listening helps you locate niche influencers who can amplify your reach and ultimately bring even more customers. 

Influencers feed on Awario showing all social media mentions of the company "Oatly" even when not tagged
Influencers feed for Oatly. Screenshot from Awario.

Using a social listening tool allows you to dig up influencers and leads every which way: go right into respective modules or filter all mentions by your own criteria to target highly specific crowds. In both cases, you get to engage with leads and influencers right away, replying publicly or via DMs.

5. Research away 

To many curious minds, social listening sounds like the opportunity to channel their inner researcher. Seeing how you can track any keyword, anywhere, always, there’s no reason why you can’t learn what people online think of Greta Thunberg or coronavirus.

It’s not all play though. Getting to know your audience in as much detail as possible is an essential part of planning any marketing move. And social listening gives you all the tools to conduct research of any scale — no focus groups or opinion polls involved. Yet the findings might be even more reliable than what offline research methods produce.

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Also, social media monitoring and listening tools let you get around the infamous social desirability bias, that’s the tendency of people to underreport bad or socially undesirable behaviors. Everything you want to know about your customers is already out there. It’s only a matter of tapping into online conversations and mining your research gold.

Implementing social media monitoring and social listening for your brand

In the world of ever-changing everything, there’s only so much you can learn. This is why learning from your colleagues’ experiences whenever you can is the only way to go. I hope you will use this article as a starting point to explore social listening and eventually incorporate it into your daily work.

Being a marketer might be a lonely job, but you don’t have to be a one-man army. By adopting the tools approved by the marketing community, you get to see every cool new strategy for what it is and use it to your advantage.


Julia Miashkova is a social data analyst with a background in public relations and SEO. She’s a member of Awario’s marketing team. Julia focuses on social media listening, data journalism, research, and analytics.