How to Use Social Listening for Effective Influencer Marketing?

July 28, 2021
10 min
Social Media

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Social listening is not new, in fact, its been around for some time. The boom in social media networks nowadays increases the importance of social listening. The growth of a business is highly dependent on a well-organized marketing team that employs intelligent and unique ways to reach its market so that sales can keep flowing. A good marketing team also knows that marketing is not just about making sales but also making the customers happy. A happy customer will always attract another customer since people tend to appreciate recommendations.

New marketing techniques keep flooding the business arena with the spreading use of the internet. Businesses have channeled their marketing efforts to the digital world through digital marketing by using the internet to attract and maintain customers. One of the most commonly used and effective types of digital marketing is influencer marketing.

lady using her iPhone over a laptop, concept of social listening

Influencer marketing is known to be effective because people usually tend to trust recommendations from third-party sources or well-known personalities. People are more likely to have confidence in a brand that has been endorsed by someone they trust. Influencer marketing is the digital edition of having celebrities promote a brand’s product on a billboard.

Unlike its traditional version, influencer marketing involves sponsoring well-known social media personalities to promote the brand on online platforms. The social media influencer acts as the brand’s ambassador the same way a celebrity endorsement works.

Millions of people use social media today, making influencer marketing beneficial to brands that use it because it significantly improves the brand’s online exposure. In some cases, it has been reported to improve sales more than any traditional marketing method.

Effectively using influencer marketing requires that a brand knows what its consumers and potential clients want, which can be made possible through social listening.

What Exactly is Social Listening?

Social listening is typically the process of analyzing conversations and trends happening around a particular brand and the industry within which the brand is in and using the insights gathered to make better marketing decisions. Social listening helps a brand understand why the conversations are taking place, where and how, and what people think. With this information, a brand can:

  • Improve future campaigns.
  • Improver content strategy and engagements.
  • Have a fair chance and outpacing their competitors
  • Create an operative influencer program and
  • Build more meaningful partnerships.

There usually exist a popular concept that is typically confused with social listening, known as social monitoring.

Listen before you speak has been a lifelong piece of advice for everyone. The essence is that you can only understand the other individual by listening to them. Active listening and thoughtful communication have been the best recipe for all great relationships.

Over the years, brands have only provided their products and services without really paying attention to their customers. While a brand may fill a particular gap in the market, the growth of that brand is only guaranteed if the consumers are satisfied with what the brand offers. Without listening to the consumers, how then shall a brand connect to its consumers?

Listening to the consumers first involves knowing who they are as they are the brand’s target audience. How this target audience feels about the brand and topics related to what is offered by the brand, the issues they are enthusiastic and passionate about, and what they truly want are just several other things that social listening is involved in. All this information ultimately guides a brand into knowing how it can genuinely connect to its consumers and, as such, effectively.

The Difference between Social Monitoring and Social Listening

While social monitoring tells a brand what people are saying, social listening tells why the conversation is as it is. Social monitoring majorly involves tracking and responding to all messages sent to a brand or talking about a brand.

This tracking can quickly be done using Socialays to ensure that nobody talking about the brand or inquiring about it is left hanging. On the contrary, social listening is the use of interactions with customers to draw conclusions about the customer’s sentiments regarding the topic of conversation. Social listening is about understanding the bigger picture.

The Process of Social Listening

For social listening to be correctly executed, the following two steps should be meticulously carried out.

Step 1: A brand should monitor social media platforms for any mentions of the brand, competitors’ brands, products, or services offered by the brand, and keywords related to the business done by the brand.

Step 2: The brand should then analyze the information obtained to put the data collected to good use.

Social Listening Tips

If a brand wants to ensure that they get the most out of social listening, the following tips should come in handy.

1. Listen everywhere

There are so many online platforms where a brand’s customers and potential clients may be. Finding out where the audience talking about the brand is can only be possible by casting a wide net for one’s social listening program. Conversations differ from platform to platform, and knowing where and how people talk about a given brand will provide the brand with a clear strategy for joining the discussions.

2. Learn from competitors

A brand’s competitors always have something innovative up their sleeve, and learning from them may help a brand improve its strategy. One can learn from what people say about the competitors and what they do or why people love them. Learning from a competitor’s mistakes can also help a brand avoid the errors themselves.

3. Collaborate with others

Social listening is beneficial for the whole business franchise and should not just be left to the marketing team. Every section in the business that deals with consumers can significantly improve from social listening, such as customer care service, content marketing, and product development. The reason behind this is that the information obtained from social listening affects every part of the business. Thus any action taken from it should be integrated by the whole company.

4. Evolve with the changes

Paying attention to the conversations around the brand will help one understand it better. In that way, when the conversation begins to change, it is easily noticeable. A change in the engagement or sentiments surrounding a particular brand could mean a whole shift of customer perception. These subtle changes need to be understood so that strategies for adapting can be made appropriately by either riding with a wave of positive change or correcting a misstep to change a negative shift of perception.

5. Take action

The primary and most crucial part of social listening is using information gathered to make better marketing decisions. Without taking action, one shall only be stuck on social monitoring. Social listening takes monitoring a step further by gaining insight into what customers and potential customers want and delivering it to them.

Why It Matters?

Knowing that social listening helps a business know what its customers and potential customers are saying about it and what they would want from it, it won’t be wrong to say that not using it makes a business lose valuable insights. Social listening helps a business:

1. Engage with customers and potential clients

Social listening provides a business with the opportunity to engage with their customers and potential clients about their brand. By responding to customers’ posts about their brand and answering any questions that customers may have, a brand ensures that its customers are never left hanging. This makes customers feel seen by the brand and thus encourages further engagements in terms of business deals.

2. Manage any crisis

Positive social sentiments make sure that a brand’s engagement with the customers keep going. However, social listening tracks views in actual times. Finding the reasons behind positive feelings will help the brand strengthen the aspects of their strategy bringing out such.

Where sentiments are negative, the reasons behind them can guide the brand in changing the narrative and help avoid future similar mistakes. The goodwill and humility of a brand in the face of a crisis can help the brand rise above a negative situation, return things to the positive, and as such maintain the brand’s reputation.

3. Keep track of competitors

As earlier mentioned, knowing what people are saying about one’s competitors helps improve their strategy. Therefore, social listening provides a brand with an effective way of keeping track of their competitors, giving them essential directions on where they fit in the marketplace. Through social listening, a brand can learn what their competitors are up to and therefore advise on their decision-making on the moves they need to make to remain in a competitive space.

4. Find the issues with the brand

Social listening helps find issues with the brand. The things that are not working may be costing the brand their customers, and by paying attention, the brand can make minor tweaks in its delivery to match up to customers’ expectations. Addressing customer issues from their complaints makes customers feel respected by the brand and can further the brand’s campaign through positive feedback.

5. Discover new sales leads

Social listening can help a brand discover potential customers and build relationships with them through their engagement. Relationships are nurtured further which can potentially lead to news sale deals. By reaching out to the people who talk about the brand, making connections, and sharing useful information, a brand establishes itself as the best resource when a customer is making a purchase decision.

6. Develop a solid social media strategy

Knowing what people are saying about one’s brand or the industry at large can help a brand determine the most effective social media strategy to work with. Social listening can lay the foundation during research on one’s target audience, who they are, what they talk about, and which platforms they are more likely to be engaged in.

7. Measure the social media strategy performance

Once the social media strategy is rolling, a brand can still use social listening to know whether the strategy is working as expected. Social listening also provides analysis with regard to a brand’s performance. Performances are then compared with expected results and any recommendations are taken into consideration.

8. Identify key influencers

Social listening can help a brand make sense of who the important influencers are. These influencers should be people who already love the brand, say great things about it, and have a significant social media following. Connecting with such people can significantly influence how their followers view one’s brand as they are already natural brand advocates.

Get Started with Social Media Listening

Decent social listening is majorly about what you’re listening for. Therefore, for a business to start it should:

an individual writing social listening notes on her notebook

1. Determine their goal on social listening

An essential step in any activity is determining the goal one is trying to achieve in doing anything. Therefore, a brand needs to decide ahead of time what they want to achieve from social listening to maximize performance. Determining goals helps a brand define its efforts while social listening since the plans will help them:

a) Monitor the right keywords, including but not limited to:

    1. business’s brand name and social media handle
    2. product names or services provided, including common misspellings
    3. business’s competitor’s brand names, product names, and social media handles
    4.  industry’s common words
    5. business’s slogan
    6. slogans used by the business’s competitors
    7. names of key people in the industry
    8. campaign names
    9. branded and unbranded hashtags related to the industry

b) Choose the correct brand terms

c) Choose the correct way to interact with the audience

As part of the process, it uses the following: market research, lead generation, customer service, and reputation management.

2. Identify the type of social listening to adopt

There are different ways each business can social listen depending on its needs. There are varying degrees of social listening, and every brand can adopt a particular level of social listening style that can help them meet their goal. The levels build upon each other, with each type requiring an increased level of depth during analysis. A business can choose:

a) Awareness: The awareness type of social listening is used by businesses that are aware of the benefits of social insights. They used things such as share of voice calculations or sentiments to estimate customer awareness and guess their opinions. However, this information is only valuable for brands when it comes to observation.

b) Conversational: The conversational type of social listening requires that brands use tools that help them capitalize on the conversational nature of social media by effectively using keywords to help them find current customers and prospective clients to interact with. To be effective, brands can carefully consider queries that may be used as crucial conversation points. In addition to that, responding to users also builds on the brand by showing that they are effective in customer service.

c) Reactive: Reactive social listening involves a brand reacting to consumer conversations. Such a move evokes honest feedback from the consumer since the issue is still fresh in their mind. Using already existing conversations to further hear what consumers have to say, a business can gain further insight into the ongoing topic.

d) Proactive: Brands that adopt proactive social listening combine all available types of social listening and use the social data to carry out research that may lead to the development of new ideas.

3. Select the best tools to use for one’s social listening

Combining the different levels of social listening can assist a brand is taking part in conversations and being part of the solutions. However, adopting any type of social listening is majorly dependent on why the business is doing its social listening. There are many tools in existence that can help one with social listening. Depending on the goals a brand aims to achieve through social listening, they can use any combination of the tools below.

a) Hootsuite

Hootsuite can set up social media streams that monitor conversations about a brand, any mentions of the brand on social media, keywords, and hashtags. Respond to discussions from its dashboards without accessing different social media platforms individually. Hootsuite also allows a brand to follow influencers and potential customers in addition to helping a brand spread awareness and do campaigns.

b) Hootsuite Insights

It is a tool that builds on Hootsuite’s functionality by providing a brand with data from many social posts in real-time. Save keywords and retrieved them later to prevent missed trends during social monitoring. Hootsuite insights also allow for filtering searches using specifics such as dates, demographics, and geographical areas, helping one attain a deeper insight into their brand’s sentiment globally.

c) Adview

It is a social listening tool explicitly created to listen to Instagram and Facebook ads. It establishes a specialized focus that allows a brand to monitor several Facebook Ad accounts on multiple pages. Adview also allows one to see the analytics behind the ads made on Facebook and Instagram to know the ones getting more engagement. In addition, you can view Adview from Hootsuite. This enables one to reply to and comment on several ads from the Hootsuite dashboard.

d) ReviewTrackers

It is a social listening tool that allows the user to monitor reviews from review sites. Additionally, you can integrate ReviewTrackers with Hootsuite. This allows the user to analyze reviews in streams and filter them into those that matter to the brand. One can also their brand’s reviews on all their social networks.

e) Talkwalker

Talkwalker offers great social listening features. The features of this tool analyze several platforms such as blogs, news, forums, social networks, and review on one dashboard. It allows users to monitor conversations around their brand while consequently analyzing the reach, remarks, engagement, and feelings behind the conversations.

f) Synthesio

It is a social listening tool that helps its user track specific topics in specific audiences. One can use tag mentions in different languages, places, sentiments, or influences. A handy social reputation report accompanies the Synthesio report.

g) Reddit

Reddit keyword monitor is a tool that benefits Reddit users, as the name suggests. Reddit has over 120 million views monthly due to active users who engage in web forums for deep discussions and reviews. The Reddit keyword monitor helps monitor different keywords and allows users to engage in conversations relevant to their brand.

h) Audiense

It is a tool that allows users to identify audience size, no matter how big or small they are. It creates reports which tell the user what their audience is discussing and what they like. Audiense has an audience manager that helps a user find the audience that is a perfect match for their brand.

i) Brandwatch

Consumer Research is a tool that monitors the tone and impact of conversations across millions of data sources. This includes blogs, forums, news sites, review sites, and social networks. It allows the user to set up email alerts and let them know when there are mentions of their brand.

j) Mentionlytics

It is a social listening tool that, as the name suggests, tracks mentions, sentiments, and keywords across sites such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs and news sites. It tracks these mentions in multiple languages. Mentionlytics is integrated with Hootsuite so users can see mentions in the dashboard as well.

Other social listening tools are also available in the market. Companies can select from the many options to ensure that their social listening is thorough.


Social listening is an essential part of the success of any brand’s digital marketing strategy. A brand can get valuable information to help step up it’s content curating, improve messaging and gain a competitive edge. Social listening analytics can provide important information to achieve the goal. As social media platforms’ audience keeps growing, it is important for any business to invest in social media listening. This will prevent them from missing out on critical insights and transformative information necessary for business success.

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