What is Social Listening?


Likes and comments and mentions… OH MY!

You’ve probably heard the social media phrase tossed around, “tune into your audience.” But what exactly does that mean?

So you post on your social media channels and create exciting content, but what else do you need to do to really benefit from what social media has to offer?

Whether your posts are paid or organic, one key element in social media that makes some companies rise above the rest is a strategy called social listening.

What is Social Media Listening?

When we think about social media, we often utilize our media as a megaphone to tell others about our services and business ventures. The term “social listening” switches us from being the speaker to the listener.

Social listening answers the question, “Who is talking about our brand?”

Through this strategy, social listening is the practice of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitor brands, and related keywords. Source: Hootsuite

Your audience wants to connect with your brand, whether that is through keywords, mentions, or comments. By taking the extra step and looking into the discussion, you will not only learn how to better keep your audience engaged, but it will have them coming back for more.

Big Picture vs. Day-to-Day

The difference between social listening and social media monitoring is with social listening, you look at what people say about your brand over a long period, versus with social media monitoring, you look at the day-to-day mentions of your brand.

Applying a proactive social listening strategy will aid your business in the long run versus a reactive monitoring strategy that only helps in the short term.

What are the key benefits of developing a social listening strategy?

So, you may wonder, why should I develop a long-term strategy first? Besides having a stronger social media presence, social listening gives your business a competitive edge. It allows you to take on the latest industry trends in a more timely manner, and get ahead of what your clients are talking about.

Plus, as we see with many large corporations, clients will reach out to your company via social media. Whether they had a negative or positive experience with your brand, with a social listening strategy, your business can gain a better perspective of what is working or not.

How to Develop a Social Listening Strategy

If you haven’t figured it out by now, social listening is equivalent to getting the latest gossip about your business. To tune in to those conversations, you need to be keeping up with these key things:

  1. Keywords and Hashtags– Look on your social media platforms for keywords in the industry. See what topics are trending within your audience so you can provide relevant and timely content.
  2. Monitor Conversations and Mentions– Who is talking about you, and what are they saying? Internally reviewing these conversations can help you learn how to react and respond to future issues or business updates.
  3. Analyze and Feedback– For example, let’s say you recently updated your website, how is your audience responding? Are they having any trouble? With social listening, you can address the issue with your team and respond to your audience in a quick manner, along with solving the issue on the backend.

Social media tools like Hootsuite or SEM Rush are great for developing a strong social listening strategy without having to keep track of every platform separately.


Keeping a listening ear to your audience’s social media experience will allow your business to stay ahead of the curve. (Especially when something trendy hits!) To better your overall social media strategy, I recommend reading my 5 Rules Not to Follow for Social Media blog.

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(Content Marketing Coordinator)

Ashley is the Content Marketing Coordinator at SAGE. She has a true passion for writing and blogging. In her free time, you can find her dancing ballet, cooking up one of her favorite recipes, or spending time with her husband Joe and puppy, named Pickles.

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