Social listening (or social media monitoring) is paying attention to your brand’s social media channels for:
– customer feedback
– direct mentions of your brand
– discussions regarding specific keywords, topics
– those same things in your competitors and industry
Of course, monitoring alone isn’t of much value if it is not followed by an analysis to gain insights that you can act on.
Some people refer to this as “conversational research” because it is kind of like listening in on other people’s conversations about you – which in real life is hard to resist.
Though a starting place can be a simple “vanity search” on your name or the name of your company, most professionals will use social listening tools to monitor all four items noted above.
Tools can filter the data in more granular grouping conversations by fields such as geographical locations, online channels (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, etc.), positivity, recency, language, and by specific groups based on sex, age and many other demographics.
Not doing social listening is the equivalent of not listening to your friends and co-workers’ comments about you. “I don’t want to know what they think of me,” is not really a good attitude.
Marketing is certainly a part of any organization and specialized software is needed to complete complex searches and scan the 80+ million online sources for mentions. Depending on your budget and goals “listening” can start small and free and go all the way up to being a full time job.