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    Social Media 4 min read

    Social listening is the process of monitoring and analyzing digital interactions and communications on the internet, primarily on social media channels, to evaluate an audience’s brand or industry reception. In this definition, learn more about what social listening is, why it’s important, and the top social listening tools on the market.

    What Is Social Listening?

    Through social listening, businesses gather valuable insights about their own products and services, greater industry trends and competitors, and how well they’re engaging social media and other digital audiences. Based on how a business is performing against its competitors in social listening metrics, the company can recalibrate its marketing campaigns and strategy. 

    With the increasing use of hashtags and other social media targeting and audience tracking features, businesses are able to filter data related to their brand, competitors, and other specific targets. A variety of different online platforms, software, and tools can be employed for social listening.

    Social Listening vs Social Monitoring

    While social monitoring is useful for identifying and managing customer feedback or brand perception, social listening gives businesses more granular data that helps them understand the reasons behind customer feedback or brand perception. 

    With social monitoring, businesses can monitor and engage with their customers on social media. In comparison, social listening allows businesses to pull data from social media platforms so they can dig deeper into target audience behavioral data and bigger picture trends.

    How to Get Started with Social Listening

    Businesses should clearly define their business goals as a starting point for social listening. These goals will dictate what kinds of data are sourced from social listening activities.

    Once businesses have determined relevant business goals for their digital marketing and monitoring strategies, they should consider using a social listening tool. In most cases, purchasing an online subscription or buying software is more effective and efficient than building a custom social listening tool.

    Social listening tools allow users to run a deep analysis of what customers think about particular business offerings, analyze how competitors are performing, and identify key social media audiences that need to be targeted. Users can proceed to choose data sources or social media platforms from which they want to extract data. Social listeners are not restricted to any single platform, but their goal should be to pull data that is most relevant and reliable. 

    Data can also be pulled on specific themes or topics for a more targeted approach to social listening. A great benefit of social listening tools is that you can measure results, refine marketing strategy, and continue to grow.

    Why Is Social Listening Important?

    Social media has almost become a necessity for businesses to succeed. It is important to use social listening strategies, as they allow business users to understand and engage with customers, gather competitor and industry intelligence, and improve key business offerings. 

    Social listening offers more than an in-depth knowledge of existing customers. It can be used to identify opportunities for collaboration with influencers and other brands. In some cases, social listening can also help a business avoid PR crises, as social listening can help them identify small problems before they spiral into viral problems.

    Top Social Listening Tools


    Hootsuite Logo

    Hootsuite offers businesses an efficient tool to monitor and manage their social media across different platforms. It offers several useful features, including lead tracking, customization for paid social media campaigns, and reporting and analysis for social media posts.

    Sprout Social

    Sprout Social Logo

    With its integrated social listening tools and analytics features, Sprout Social is one of the best social media tools on the market. It specifically supports social media monitoring and management through its unified Smart Inbox feature. Logo is an all-in-one social media tool that is best suited for mid-market-to-enterprise level companies. It can be used for advertising, publishing, and analyzing content on social media channels. The user interface offers a single dashboard for all social media management.

    Interested in exploring other tools for your digital marketing strategy? Learn more in this guide to the Best Social Media Marketing Software.