Feb 26, 2015

Why Your Brand Should Shut Up & Start Social Listening

We bet your favorite friends listen. We bet your favorite boss listens. Then why do we, as brands, think it’s okay to keep talking and pushing, to keep ignoring our customers’ needs, desires and dare we say it – complaints?

No more. You see, the benefits of social listening go far beyond customer satisfaction. A carefully-constructed social listening strategy can help boost your brand’s reputation, result in more recommendations, help you identify new USPs and enable you to track your competitor’s activity with ease.

We’ll show you how to create a killer social listening strategy that can transform your business into a digital marketing superstar, propelling your brand far ahead of your competition.

How to Listen Like a Pro:

  • Step 1 – When anyone talks about your brand you’re going to listen.
  • Step 2 – Set up a social listening system that helps save you time.
  • Step 3 – Spy on your competitors too.
  • Step 4 – Respond to each complaint, comment and compliment in a timely manner.
  • Step 5 – But it doesn’t stop with a response – now you’re going to make notes.
  • Step 6 – Notes alone aren’t going to get you anywhere – now it’s time to take action.

It really is that simple. We’ll explain each step of your brand new social listening strategy below…

1. Identify What to Listen Out For

First identify what your social listening strategy is trying to achieve – this is the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of what you’re going to listen out for. Your social listening objectives should align with your overall digital marketing strategy. Examples of the elements you can select and monitor for your own strategy include:

  • Complaints
  • Compliments
  • Backlinks
  • Retweets & Mentions
  • Questions

2. Get Armed With Social Listening Tools

2. Get Armed With Social Listening Tools | Why Your Brand Should Shut Up & Start Social Listening

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone with your social listening strategy. Instead, get to grips with the following suite of savvy social listening tools that will save you valuable time and help you achieve your objectives:


Hootsuite helps you to monitor and manage all of your social media channels from the one suite, saving you both time and sanity. Hootsuite is the perfect tool to help you monitor and respond to complaints and comments in a timely manner.


BuzzSumo helps you to search for and identify key influencers who are sharing your content and the content of your competitors. Like Google Alerts it allows you to monitor specific keywords with its powerful Content Alerts feature. You can also set up alerts for keywords, authors and domains (including competitor sites).


Followerwonk is a Twitter analytics tool that allows you to search for and analyse your competitors’ followers. What’s more, it enables you to find out vital information such as the user’s location, bio and who they follow.

3. Spy On Your Competitors

Want to spy on your competitors in the sneakiest way possible? Good – then it’s about time you read this post: ‘3 Sneaky Tips to Help You Spy on Your Competitors Online.’

4. Learn How to Respond to Comments

How to Handle Complaints:

Though unpleasant to hear, you can learn a lot from complaints. And, as is so often the case in the offline world, you can learn more from your mistakes than from your accomplishments. So listen carefully and respond promptly and calmly to any online grievances. First apologize (if needed) and next acknowledge your customer’s complaint. However, the most important step is to address the issue directly and try to resolve it as best you can directly with your customer.

How to Respond to Compliments:

Complementing your brand requires effort on the part of your customers and, therefore, each positive comment should be thanked and acknowledged. But how do you know who is raving about your brand to begin with? You can identify the people who are sharing your content using your social listening tools listed above (Hootsuite and BuzzSumo are good for this). Thank them with a comment, a favourite, a retweet or a Like.

5. Take Note

But don’t just stop at responding. Either your digital marketing team or customer service team should create a spreadsheet separated into tabs with one for each comment type – e.g. one for compliments and one for complaints. And then each time you receive a comment worth noting you can pop it into your doc in the appropriate section.

6. Take Action

Take out your newly updated spreadsheet at the end of each month and look at each tab with a fresh eye. Is there a consistent theme that is emerging with your complaints? If so, you should address this with your customer service team and discuss whether you can come up with a sustainable solution to prevent further unrest among your customers.

This is also a great time to take screenshots of your social compliments – these screenshots can be used to add credibility to future marketing materials like sales collateral and even website copy.

Our online Social Media Marketing course teaches you the best practices for marketing through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and more.

Develop a detailed understanding of key social media specialisms including content marketing, and platforms on which you can promote your content.

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