Social Listening: What It Is and Why It’s Important

What is social listening?

Social listening – or social media listening – is the process of tracking and analysing online conversations about your firm, the wider industry and any other topics that are relevant to you.

It allows you to find out what your audiences are really thinking, in real time. So you’ll have the information you need to make effective marketing decisions in the future.

For example, you might spot a topic being discussed on social media that relates to the services your firm provides. This could be a great opportunity to share content that demonstrates your expertise and knowledge in this area.

You could also use social listening to find out:

  • What your audiences think of your firm
  • What their desired outcomes are
  • How they see your competitors
  • Any common pain points or problems shared
  • What you could do to better connect with your audience

Social listening often involves a significant amount of data. So it can help to set out points like the ones we’ve listed above to guide you as you decide which information is relevant.

What are the benefits of social listening?

There’s no doubt that social listening plays an important role in any marketing strategy. 65.6% of more than 18,000 marketers said social listening had become a valuable tool for them in 2022, according to Hootsuite’s latest Social Media Trends Survey.

But what are the specific benefits of social listening? Some of the main ones include:

  • Building client relationships
    Social listening is as much about interacting in online conversation as it is about gathering information. If you see a discussion on social media that you think you could add value to, use it as an opportunity to connect with potential clients.
  • Monitoring your competition
    If conversations surrounding your competitors are consistently positive, try to identify what it is they’re doing to achieve this – are they more responsive on social media, for example? Once you find this out, you’ll be better placed to match or even surpass their performance.
  • Understanding what your audience wants
    Rather than making assumptions about what your audience wants, social listening allows you to get real insights from existing and potential clients. This is your chance to hear what problems your audience are facing, so you can offer a solution.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does give an idea of how useful social listening can be when it’s applied correctly.

How does social listening differ from social monitoring?

Social listening and social monitoring are very similar concepts. But they’re not exactly the same.

Social monitoring tends to be much more reactive than social listening. While it still provides an insight into what people are saying about your firm, there is usually more focus on responding to comments, rather than understanding the ‘why’ behind each post or thread.

Social listening, on the other hand, allows you to see the bigger picture. It’s more about taking the information you’ve gathered from online conversations and using it to inform your marketing decisions in the long term.

How to apply a social listening strategy

We’ve looked at what social listening is, but how do you actually incorporate it as part of your marketing strategy? Here are some of our top tips to get you started:

  • Decide which platforms you’ll include
    Think about which social platforms your audience use the most. This is where you will want to initially start collecting data from. Then over time you can start to add other channels to your social listening strategy.
  • Identify keywords and phrases to look out for
    To avoid ending up with information that’s not relevant, set up keywords or phrases that you will monitor as part of your social listening strategy. If your firm specialises in conveyancing, try to incorporate phrases that people would use in a social media conversation, such as ‘selling my house’ or ‘buying my first home’.
  • Set social listening goals
    What is it that you’d like to gain from social listening? Maybe you want to learn more about your clients’ pain points, or perhaps you’re looking to improve brand sentiment. Whatever it is, make sure to set objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect your goals.
  • Set up Google Alerts
    You can set up Google Alerts for any keywords or phrases you’d like to track online. This could relate to your firm, competitors or the wider industry. By using Google Alerts, you’ll be able to monitor conversations outside of social media, too, in the form of online articles or blogs.
  • Use a social listening tool
    There are a number of social listening tools available that can help you. Some are paid – such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Hubspot. But you could also use free programs like TweetDeck – just bear in mind that there may be more ‘noise’ to filter through when using free tools.

After you’ve taken the time to put your social listening strategy in place, it’s important that you continually measure its results. Using your KPIs as a guideline, observe the overall sentiment towards your firm, any trending topics and the amount of mentions you’ve had.

When you do this consistently, you’ll be better placed to make changes and improvements to your marketing strategy that reflect your audience’s wants and needs as time goes on.

To find out more about how we could help you boost your firm’s marketing efforts, get in touch with us today.


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