Social Listening: The Why and How

What the heck is social listening? Why is it important, and how can you use it? Hubspot defines social listening as “the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities.” Essentially, social listening is exactly what it sounds like: paying attention to what your customers and followers want and need, and then developing a long-term plan to fulfill those desires. This is different from social monitoring, which doesn’t really put emphasis on paying attention to the big picture like social listening does. Utilizing social listening can help you discover and capitalize on current trends, improve customer relationships by interacting directly, and learn how to adapt your strategy to fit the current need. This will take a lot of intuitive analyzing on your part, and possibly the help of a social listening tool, but the payoff is well worth it.


  1. It builds customer relationships and overall positive feelings towards your brand. Sprout Social found that 83% of people like when brands respond to questions, and 68% enjoy when brands join conversations. It makes people feel good to be heard, and helps build loyalty and trust between your brand and your followers.
  2. You can investigate when and why something went wrong. Sudden influx of negative reviews or massive loss of followers? By diving into customer comments, you can analyze what it was that missed the mark, and figure out what not to do in the future.
  3. You can discover new opportunities. Commenters may leave suggestions or wishful thoughts, which can provide a wealth of ideas for future endeavors. Most of the time you won’t even need to survey your customers, because the comment section will do all the work for you — you just have to listen.


There are plenty of social listening tools out there. These applications will help you determine strategic decisions based on in-depth data analytics, streamline and scale engagement efforts, publish content and campaigns, and discover new trends and insight through social listening.They can help you streamline and simplify your social media engagement processes by including things like content calendars, trend reports, and smart inboxes which compile all of your messages across different platforms into one inbox, just to name a few.

Here are some of the best social listening tools you can use to get started:

Sprout Platform

Hubspot Social Media