how to use social listening to improve your marketing

Marketing a business online is hard work – there is simply too
much content, too much competition fighting for people’s
attention. So, how do you stand out? 

It all starts with research. If you want to stand out, then you
need to understand your audience, the people they follow, the
content they like and the conversations they’re having

And that’s where
social listening
comes in; not only does it help you understand
your audience better to help you improve your digital marketing,
but it’s also a great tool for social selling, brand reputation
monitoring and customer service.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to use social
listening to improve your marketing. 

What exactly is social listening?

Social listening basically means using a technology to monitor
keywords across social media (and the web in general, depending on
the tool you’re using) in order to gather relevant mentions from
an audience.

That said, this definition doesn’t really explain the full
value of
social listening
. While social listening is a great way to
catch mentions of your brand so that you can respond accordingly,
you can actually use social listening in a variety of other
different ways. 

Plus, paid social media listening tools offer a lot more than a
simple keyword search rather — you can create very complex
searches with multiple keywords and use features like Boolean
search to help you gather as much relevant social intelligence as
you can. 

Before you can start leveraging social listening, you first need
a tool to help. Here is a look at a few top options. After
this, I’ll show you how exactly you can leverage these kinds of
tools to improve your marketing:


Awario is a pro social
listening tool that allows you to “listen” to pretty much the
entire web, from social media to blogs and forums. You can use it,
for example, for:

  • Researching your industry and audience
  • Social selling

  • Customer service
    and brand reputation management 
  • Influencer marketing 

awario social listening tool

It’s important to note that it has Boolean search; meaning,
you can create pretty complex searches to make sure you only catch
relevant mentions of your keywords or groups of keywords:

awario social listening tool

For example, you can choose to only monitor certain sources
(including very specific sources, like a website), you can exclude
mentions with certain keywords, and you can make sure you catch
mentions of your groups of keywords, even if the keywords are
separated by other words. For example, if you were a social media
marketing agency looking for potential clients, you could search
for “social media marketing” and make sure you also catch
mentions like “I’m looking for recommendations for a social
media freelancer to help with marketing”.

You can also set up notifications so that you’re alerted every
time there’s a new mention that you need to know about, which is
useful for reputation management and customer service. Plus, you
can set up comparisons between different keyword searches and
access in-depth analytics for your monitored keywords. 

Another way to use Awario is for social selling/lead generation.
The extra module, called Awario Lead, basically pulls up relevant
social media updates from people looking for product
recommendations or from people complaining about your competitors;
all you have to do is enter the relevant keywords and your
competitors’ names to get these engagement opportunities:

awario social listening tool


Another option is Brandwatch. Like the previous
tool, Brandwatch is a pro-level social listening tool that works
with the entire web: social media, forums, blogs, news sites, and
so on. It can handle very complex searches and gather a lot of data
so you can actually segment your data automatically to make things

Brandwatch social listening tool

With Brandwatch, there’s a big focus on data and sentiment
which is useful for brand reputation management, industry/audience
research, and for analyzing the success of your marketing
campaigns. That said, you can also use it to catch any relevant
mentions of your brand so that you can respond in a timely manner,
as well as to discover any top influencers that you could
collaborate with:

brandwatch social listening tool

Additionally, you can also find and analyze your target

brandwatch social listening tool

This is extremely useful information for when you want to put
together a marketing strategy, whether it social media, content
marketing, and pretty much anything else. Because the more you know
about your audience – who they are, where they’re from, where
they spend their time online, what content they read, what their
interests are – the better you will be able to create and deliver
targeted, highly personalized marketing campaigns that resonate
with your audience.


Mention is a real-time
monitoring tool for monitoring your brand name and any other
keywords you want; like both other tools in this list, it works
across the web and it has Boolean search features for those who
want to set up very specific listening searches:

Apart from this, you also get:

  • Competitive analysis – compare 2 competitors to see how they
    stack up against each other
  • Influencer marketing tool for discovering top influencers on
    the web, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Access to keyword/brand data and automated reporting

As you might’ve noticed, the tools are actually quite similar
in terms of their core features. Now though, here’s how to use
them – and social listening in general – to improve your

Use social listening to monitor your brand name

This is arguably one of the first things you need to do with

social listening
: monitor for any mentions of your brand

That’s because social media tools only catch mentions where
the user actually tagged you; but, what happens when someone
mentions you but doesn’t tag you? How do you find out about it so
you can act? 

Quite simply, you need to set up a search for your brand name.
This will help you with customer service issues, as well as with
brand reputation management, and with helping you discover any
or engagement opportunities. 

Once you’ve created a search for your brand name, you can also
set up alerts; this way, every time you get new mentions of your
brand, you’ll get alerted so that you can react

Use social listening to create better content

Content marketing
is one of the top-performing digital
marketing strategies of our time. Brands need to use content on
their website/blog, on their social media, via email, and on all
kinds of other channels and platforms. 

But they also need to compete with countless other brands,
bloggers, youtubers, and all kinds of content creators, for their
audience’s attention. And because there is so much competition,
you need to be able to create more personalized content –
meaning, more content that is super relevant to your target
audience. Not only that, but you also need to learn:

  • What types of headlines work – what gets clicks? What gets
    shares on social media? 
  • What types of content formats does your audience prefer? I.e.
    Short/long blog posts, how to guides, listicles, videos,
  • What topics interest your audience, specifically? 
  • What topics does your audience talk about the most? What are
    the most common keywords they use? 

Social listening is the perfect tool for identifying these kinds
of trends and this information about your audience; by using it –
and experimenting with different topics, headlines, and content
formats – you can make sure you’re creating content
specifically for your target audience.

Set up searches for relevant industry topics and track the most
shared content to uncover trends and patterns (as above: headlines,
content formats, topics).

Use social listening for social selling

Another way to use social listening to your advantage is to
discover social selling opportunities: 

  • People searching for products/services (like yours) or
  • People talking about your competitors, such as disgruntled
    customers, people searching for alternatives, or those enquiring
    about features  
  • People who have an issue that your product or service can

Some tools can do this for you automatically – like Awario
Leads, which I talked about earlier – but with most, you need to
search for them yourself:

  • Look up relevant keywords from your niche: what keywords would
    people use to search for products or services like yours? Use a
    keyword research tool like Ubersuggest or the
    Moz Keyword Explorer to see
    what keywords/phrases they’re most likely to use
  • Monitor your competitors brand names: monitoring your
    competitors not only helps you understand what their marketing
    strategy is, as well as what works for them/what doesn’t (more on
    that, next) but it can also help you discover opportunities for
    engagement/lead generation: people discussing your competitors’
    products/services and asking about their pros and cons, looking for
    similar product recommendations, complaining about the
    competitors’ products, and so on 
  • Monitor your brand name: I’ve already talked about the
    importance of monitoring your brand name online, but another
    advantage is that you might catch some potential clients – people
    who are looking at your products or services as an alternative and
    talking about it online. Jump in this conversations to help convert
    these users into customers

If you want to be more proactive about your lead generation,
make sure to set up these types of social listening searches and
set relevant alerts so you can jump in and engage at the right
moment – and generate more leads and make more conversions.

Learn from your competitors

By monitoring your competitors online activity, you can learn a
lot about their marketing strategy: 

  • Where exactly are they active? Which platforms do they use? And
    most of all, where are they most successful – their blog,
    Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • What is their content strategy like? What types of content do
    they create and how frequently? What are their most popular pieces
    of content? 
  • What is their audience engagement like? Does their audience
    engage with them? 
  • What campaigns did they hold? Which ones were most
    successful/least successful and why? What can you learn from their
  • What are people saying about your competitors? What are your
    competitors’ weaknesses? 

This information can help you improve your own marketing
strategies, as you learn more about your own industry and target

Identify potential brand ambassadors and social influencers

Who truly influences your audience? Who in your industry gets
the most shares, the most engagement overall? 

Social listening by definition helps you uncover trends – so
it makes perfect sense that it would also help you discover the top
influencers that your audience follows. In fact, most social
listening tools have built-in influencer marketing tools and tell
you exactly who are the top sharers for the keywords your looked
up; for example, Brandwatch lets you search for relevant users and
gives them an influencer score:

Or Awario, that lists all the top influencers for your

In other words, these tools usually do the work for you once
you’ve set up your search.

Use social listening to learn about your audience

If you want your marketing campaigns to be successful, then you
need to know exactly who you’re targeting. Otherwise, how will
you know where to target them? Or what kind of content they’d be
interested in? 

Social listening can help you learn a lot about your

  • Where do they spend their time online, which platforms do they
    use predominantly? In order to reach more people and deliver a
    better user experience, you need to have a presence wherever your
    audience is active
  • What do they talk about online? Which topics interest them?
    What are they reading and sharing? Follow their conversations to
    learn more about their interests and needs 
  • What do they feel like about certain topics? Social listening
    tools tell you what the overall sentiment is like


There is so much to learn from social listening – and this
knowledge can be easily applied to your marketing strategies to
help improve them: 

  • Learn more about your audience to know who you’re targeting,
  • Monitor your competitors to understand what their strategy is
    like and learn from them on how you can improve your marketing
  • Monitor your own brand name to make sure you never miss any
    important mentions 
  • Use social listening to discover opportunities and improve your
    lead generation
  • Learn what types of content works so that you can improve your
    own content marketing strategy
  • Discover the top social influencers that your audience actually
    follows and engages with

What other ways are there to leverage social listening? 

The post
How to Use Social Listening to Improve Your Marketing
first on Convince and
Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing

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