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Social Listening


What is social listening?

Social listening refers to the process of monitoring and analyzing online conversations, comments and discussions to gain insights into consumer behavior. By engaging with social listening on social media platforms, forum websites and other digital channels, marketers and business owners will learn a lot about today’s popular opinions and trends.

Because social listening is a great way to help brands understand customers better, it should be a vital part of your business’s social media marketing strategy. Both short term and long term, it can be used to build stronger relationships with audiences and improve the effectiveness of your social networking efforts.

The evolution of social listening

The concept of social listening has been around since the advent of social media. However, it wasn't until the mid-2000s that businesses began to recognize its significance as a marketing strategy. With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, companies realized they could tap into a vast amount of data on consumer behavior. Shedding light on these preferences ultimately influences the planning of future marketing campaigns, both on and off social media.

Key components of what makes up social listening

  • Monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, products or services. This can be done manually or with tools that automate alerts about comments on social media.

  • Analyzing customer sentiment and feedback, both negative and positive. It’s important to pay attention to both, so you know what works and what doesn’t.

  • Identifying key influencers in your industry or niche who can help be a part of your branding and advertising strategy.

  • Tracking industry trends and competitor activity to make sure your product, service and marketing efforts compete.


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What are the main benefits of social listening?

As you develop your own marketing strategy, social listening can help you:

01. Gain a better understanding of customer needs, preferences and pain points

02. Get insights into industry trends and competitive landscape

03. Improve customer engagement and loyalty by incorporating their preferences into your own marketing strategy and messaging

04. Find opportunities for product development and innovation based on customer needs and feedback

What are the challenges of applying social listening?

One of the biggest challenges of social listening is making sense of the vast amount of data available. Companies may also struggle to identify relevant metrics (often known as social signals), or understand the context behind customer feedback. To overcome these challenges, it's essential to have a clear strategy in place and use tools that can help you analyze data effectively.

Examples of social listening in action

A popular example of social listening in action is when Netflix used customer data to develop their hit show Stranger Things. By analyzing user viewing behavior on their platform, Netflix identified a gap in the market for nostalgic sci-fi shows and created a series that became an instant hit.

Best practices for using social listening

Can your own personal brand or small business benefit from social listening? Probably. If you’re ready to get started with this marketing tactic, considering the following first:

  • Choose the right social media marketing platforms for your business. Whether you already have an established following or not, gain an understanding of where your target audience spends their time so you can develop your strategy on these platforms.

  • Set clear goals and KPIs for your social listening strategy, to ensure you’re able to revisit, measure and optimize it if it needs improvement.

  • Use social media monitoring tools to automate the process and save time.

  • Don’t just listen, respond too. Engage with customers on social media to build relationships and show you're listening.

  • Regularly analyze and report your data to identify trends and social media opportunities among your potential market.

Social listening FAQ

What's the difference between social listening and social monitoring?

Social listening involves analyzing customer sentiment and feedback to gain insights into their needs and preferences. Social monitoring, on the other hand, simply involves tracking mentions of your brand, products or services on social media.

What are some common social listening tools?

How can I use social listening to improve my marketing strategy?


Related Term

Social Media Analytics

Related Term

Social Media Audit

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