Social listening has become an important factor within the digital (information) age. Information can now be exchanged at a faster rate through a variety of online platforms. It is for this reason that the term ‘social listening’ is to further be explored. Social listening can be defined as the process of tracking social media channels and following various conversations about certain topics, brands, phrases, keywords or industries along with competitors of a business. This can be used in order to determine various opportunities in order to effectively create content for potential audiences (Jackson, 2017).
For companies, social listening can be incorporated into a business strategy as a successful one is orientated around reaching the right target market at the right time with the right content. This term is not to get confused with ‘social media monitoring’. Social listening goes beyond monitoring online content as it is centred on extracting key insights which can effectively be applied to an overall business strategy (Jackson, 2017).
Social media monitoring examines online situations case by case in which problems are solved on the spot whereas social listening examines the constant trends which are relating to these problems (Jackson, 2017). This would typically be able to prevent any future obstacles by implementing a change.
Consumers are expected to receive a continuous level of satisfaction in order to choose the brand above others, therefore improving revenue and enabling the company to have a sustainable future. Building a level of brand loyalty can also be done by making use of social listening.
Different opinions about the brand can be viewed on different online platforms (such as Twitter and LinkedIn). This can enable a company to create a suitable strategy in order to track the online conversation (Newberry, 2017).
Understanding the wants and the needs of the consumer along with receiving consumer feedback can be classified as an essential part of running almost any business as it establishes a basis for consumers being loyal to the brand – resulting in repeated sales (DeMers, 2013). It also therefore enables businesses to deliver the right products and/or services to the consumer.
Social listening is therefore important in this regard as tracking notifications along with mentions is an integral part of an effective engagement strategy (Jackson, 2017). Insight into successfully serving a target audience along with analysing context and trends around online content (such as conversations) can be provided. Social listening therefore takes a look at a collection of social media messages.
Social listening also enables a business to gain a level of consumer awareness regarding consumer expectations along with how these expectations are being delivered or raised. It is also able to engage within conversations about the brand such as a complaint, praise or a customer service request (Newberry, 2017).
A business can also make use of social listening in order to conduct a competitive analysis. This can be done as not only can a business gain access to what is being said about them on various online platforms but also about what is being said about its competitors, such as what they are busy with (Newberry, 2017). This information will be provided in real time and will therefore be up to date, which can be advantageous to a business as new opportunities and threats can effectively be determined.
In conclusion, social listening is an integral factor in any business as it can effectively be applied to a successful business strategy. It can carry the business forward by providing assistance in decision making related to the future of the business and how future efforts can be applied to ensure success.