Social media listening is a marketing buzzword, you likely hear more of these days – and for a good reason.

Modern digital marketing puts customers at the center of everything, and social media listening supports this type of customer-centric strategy.

It allows brands not only to monitor but also analyze and address what customers are saying about them on social media.

Interested to know more about social media marketing strategies? Check out the Advanced Social Media Marketing Training.

Here’s an in-depth explanation:

What is Social Media Listening?

Social media listening is the process of learning what customers are saying and feeling about your brand, competitors, industry, and critical topics on social media. And analyzing and applying those insights to your future marketing strategies to help your brand build a solid reputation and improve customer experiences.

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Social listening is different than social media monitoring, which focuses on what people have already said and done. Social listening anticipates the future needs of customers by taking note of what is being said right now and acting on it.

Why Does Social Media Listening Matter?

Social Listening


Social listening helps you put customers at the center of your digital marketing strategy. Either by directly responding to them on social media or indirectly responding with changes to your business or updated content that relates to a trending topic or ongoing concern.  

For instance, did you know McDonald’s introduction of all-day breakfast was born from social listening? The fast-food company discovered more than 300,000 individual tweets encouraging it to offer breakfast at all times. It responded accordingly, to the delight of many customers.

With social media listening, you can use the information available to you, to guide your strategy – both in everyday actions and in the bigger picture.  

Your Customers Like It

Not only does social media listening help you improve the customer experience, but customers also like when brands respond.

According to research done by MarketingCharts, 55 percent of consumers reported that “liking” or responding to a customer was one such behavior that helps brands connect with consumers. In a separate study from Sprout Social, 68 percent of customers like when brands join conversations. Even more convincing, 48 percent of customers purchase with a brand that is responsive to its customers and prospects on social media.

You Can Manage the Negative

If you’re not listening to what’s being said about your brand on social media, then you could miss negative comments – and the opportunity to respond to them.

On social media, negative brand sentiment happens when customers’ moods around your business are more negative than positive.

To avoid this, you want to check the conversations about your brand on social media consistently. So you can respond right away (83 percent of U.S. adults expect brands to respond to consumers’ comments on social media within 24 hours, according to a report from Clutch).

Doing so helps you maintain a positive brand sentiment by showing customers you care about what they have to say.

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You Can Discover New Opportunities

Just like McDonald’s did with all-day breakfast, your brand can use social listening to uncover opportunities for customer and business growth.

For example, let’s say you are in charge of marketing for a software startup. You discover many of your social media followers are talking about the lack of certain features in business software. Your brand can respond by introducing these features in your next product release, which delights existing customers and may help you attract new ones at the same time.

Without social listening, you may not have realized this opportunity existed. But now that you do, you can act on it by incorporating the information into your marketing strategy. Social media listening is an incredibly valuable process for any brand. That wants to engage its current customers continually, delight existing and new customers, and discover and respond to exciting opportunities.

Want to test your knowledge of social media marketing? Try these Advanced Social Media Practice Test Questions and find out now!

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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