Social Listening 101: How to Monitor and Engage with Your Online Community

Social Listening 101: How to Monitor and Engage with Your Online Community

Let's get one thing straight - in the age of social media, it's not enough to simply create

Let’s get one thing straight – in the age of social media, it’s not enough to simply create content and hope it sticks. To really make an impact, you need to listen to what your audience is saying. That’s where social listening comes in.

Social media’s rule of thumb for businesses is to listen to what customers want.

And then, you are qualified to use one of the absolutely powerful 4-word phrases that every marketer wishes to use: You Asked, We Listened.


In this blog post, we uncover social listening by explaining what it is, how it works, and why it is now essential for brands and their marketing teams to design effective strategies.

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is the process of monitoring and analyzing online conversations to gain insights into customer sentiment, feedback, industry trends, and much more.

It’s not just about counting likes, shares, and mentions, it’s about understanding the nuances of your audience’s behavior, preferences, and attitudes.

The ultimate goal of social listening is to extract actionable insights from this information. This data helps you improve your products, services, and customer experience.

Using social listening, you’ll know who, what, why, where, and how discussions around your brand are taking place. It involves monitoring specific keywords, topics, industries, and brands to learn about how you can improve your social strategy.

How is Social Listening Different from Social Monitoring?

Social listening looks very similar to social media monitoring, right?

Well, not exactly.

Most people have a misconception that social listening is the same as social monitoring — it’s not. While the terms are often used together, they have different jobs to do, just like your company’s CFO and CEO.

Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring - comparison table

Monitoring tells you what, while listening tells you why, and both are essential for a business. The distinction between social listening and social monitoring is not black and white. Instead, it is a spectrum across proactive responses and reactive responses. Social monitoring is about gathering data from social media. Social listening is about transforming this data into insights.

To learn more about the differences between these two, read our article on Social Listening vs Social Monitoring.

10 Benefits of Social Listening

Social listening is already being used on a large scale by many marketers. And there’s a good reason: it works.

Here’s a list of benefits and reasons why it’s an indispensable part of a brand’s marketing strategies.

benefits of social listening

  1. Better understanding of your audience

By listening to what your customers are saying online, you can gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and pain points. This can help you create more effective marketing campaigns, improve your products or services, and build stronger relationships with your audience.

This strong bond can even lead to benefits beyond the usual likes and comments on social media. By doing social listening, you can easily perform UGC marketing and repost the interesting posts to provide social proof for your brand.

Also, keeping a pulse on the online conversations surrounding your brand allows you to track important brand awareness KPIs, ensuring that your efforts are making a meaningful impact in raising awareness and fostering engagement.

  1. Sentiment analysis 

Using social listening, you can analyze the sentiment behind online conversations about your brand or industry. You can tailor your marketing strategy and messaging to better match the needs and preferences of your audience by understanding whether the sentiment is positive, negative, or neutral.

Try Mentionlytics for free sentiment analysis:

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  1. Improved customer service 

It also helps you improve customer service by addressing inquiries, complaints, and feedback through social media. You can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by responding quickly and effectively to concerns.

  1. Competitive advantage 

Social listening can also be a competitive analysis tool. You can identify new market opportunities, track industry trends, and monitor competitor activity to stay ahead of the competition. You can gain a competitive edge and position your brand for long-term success if you use this information to guide your marketing strategy.

  1. Crisis management 

A single negative tweet or post can quickly escalate into a full-blown crisis. Social listening can help you stay ahead of potential issues by monitoring online conversations and addressing concerns before they spiral out of control.

  1. Improved brand reputation

It is important to actively listen to what your customers say about your brand in order to identify areas for improvement and address any negative comments. In this way, your brand’s reputation can be improved and your audience will have a more positive view of it.

  1. Campaign analysis 

Social listening can provide valuable insights into the performance of your marketing campaigns, allowing you to identify what’s working and what’s not, and make data-driven decisions about future campaigns. This can include social media metrics like reach, engagement, sentiment, and conversion rates.

  1. Prospect analysis 

It can also help you identify and analyze potential customers or leads based on their online activity and behaviors. By understanding their needs and preferences, you can create more targeted and personalized marketing messages that are more likely to convert.

  1. Finding influencers

Social listening can help you find key influencers in your industry or niche who are already talking about your brand or related topics. By engaging with these influencers, you can increase your brand’s reach and credibility and potentially tap into new audiences.

  1. Finding new business partners

It’s easy to find potential brand collabs using social media listening. Monitoring social media platforms can let you find out about companies and people in your field that share your interests. You can track their activity, see what they’re talking about, and identify key players in your field.

Once you have identified potential partners, you can engage with them on social media by commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and starting conversations. Before even making the first contact, social media listening can help you build relationships and trust with potential partners. Also, you’ll get a better idea of their interests and needs, so you can tailor your approach and get more results.

How does Social Listening Work?

Social listening is great, but how does it work exactly?

Well, to be honest, it’s an ongoing and thorough process, however, it does not have to be a complex one, when you know the process.

Here’s a step-by-step process:

how social listening works step by step

Step 1: Define your goals and keywords

Before you start monitoring social media conversations, you need to define your goals and the keywords you want to track. This might include your brand name, industry terms, competitor names, and product/service names.

Step 2: Choose a social listening tool

There are many social listening tools available, ranging from free to paid options. Choose a tool that fits your budget and provides the features you need, such as sentiment analysis, real-time monitoring, and data visualization.

Since it’s a comprehensive and real-time process, you need to choose a tool that can cover all the necessary steps, from tracking hashtags to creating social media reports. In that case, Mentionlytics can help you with all that is related to performing successful social listening.

Mentionlytics is an all-in-one social listening and media monitoring platform that helps businesses monitor their online reputation and stay ahead of their competition. Social listening is at the heart of Mentionlytics’ mission, as it allows businesses to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, competitors, and market trends.

Try Mentionlytics for FREE

And the best part? You’ll get to meet SIA, Mentionlytics’ social intelligent advisor that can give you custom recommendations along the way.

It also provides advanced analytics and social media reporting tools, which allow brands to measure the impact of their marketing campaigns and track their online reputation over time.

Mentionlytics' Dashboard

Ready to see what people are saying about your brand using Mentionlytics? Book a free demo and enjoy a 14-day trial to access all the social listening features.

Step 3: Monitor social media conversations

Use your social listening tool to monitor social media conversations about your brand, industry, and competitors across various platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This can include direct mentions of your brand, as well as discussions around your niche.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your direct competitors!

Step 4: Analyze the data

Once you’ve gathered social listening data, it’s time to analyze it. Most tools have data visualization and reporting features, where you can take a look at your vital social KPIs.

Find patterns, trends, and insights you can use to inform your marketing and content strategy. This could include identifying popular topics, sentiment analysis, and competitor analysis.

Step 5: It’s time to take action!

Finally, use the insights you’ve gathered to improve your marketing strategies. This might be addressing any complaints about your brand, taking care of your loyal customers, adjusting your product offerings based on feedback, or even finding new partners.

4 Examples of Brands Performing Social Listening at its Finest 

Let’s see how big names are using social listening to make their customers fall in love with their brands!

  1. Hamilton Watch: Less is more

When Hamilton Watch introduced Murph — its new huge screen watch —  it received so many positive reviews from big fans and soon became one of their best-selling watches.

Who doesn’t love a 42mm watch shining on the wrist, right?

Well, those who have a more delicate wrist!

The overall design was flawless; however, it was not a good fit for some customers.

Through social listening, Hamilton Watch realized for many of its customers, the watch was simply too big.

In response, Hamilton introduced Murph 38mm, which has exactly the same design as the previous Murph, only 4mm smaller.


You asked, we listened: the 38mm Khaki Field Murph is here! #hamiltonwatch #hamiltonmurph #khakifieldmurph #murphwatch #moviewatch

♬ original sound – Hamilton Watch

  1. Denny’s: Painting a New Brand Picture

Denny’s, a casual full-service family restaurant with 1600+ locations across the globe recently changed the way it interacts with customers on Twitter, after doing a bit of research and learning through social listening that they were considered to be “a dinner where grandpa’s come to have pancakes”.

To counter this, Denny’s put aside the ‘corporate tone’ and started interacting with its customers through humorous and shareable tweets. It transformed Denny’s social media strategy to fit what suits its target audience, the younger generation.

The results? A refreshing positive outlook of Denny’s among youngsters!

This is a great example of how brands can increase customer engagement and reach out to their target audiences by simply listening to what they are saying and adjusting their marketing strategy accordingly.

  1. Sephora: New brand? Checked

Sephora is an excellent example of a beauty brand leveraging social monitoring. It regularly responds to its audience queries through social media. As an example of their latest social media listening, after receiving many requests from customers, they added Paula’s Choice to their collection in stores.


You asked, we listened! Make way for a new brand at Sephora…  Say hello to @paulaschoice ✨ Coming to Sephora 3/1. Get early access on 2/28 by downloading the Sephora app! 📲 #PaulasChoicexSephora #PaulasChoice #newatsephora

♬ Yotube AstroCapella – AstroCapella

  1. Netflix: Binge-Watching Made Simple

When Netflix learned through social listening that most of its users loved binge-watching series on its platform, it was all great news. But it soon discovered that users would often fall asleep while binge-watching.

Netflix came up with the idea to make socks that would detect dozing-off users and send a message to their TV to pause Netflix. The product was well received and went viral all over.

This is a perfect example of how you can utilize positive feedback about your brand to be creative, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increase sales.

8 Tips to Perform Social Listening Like a Pro

If you care about the insights of your product or service and more importantly, if you care about your customers, you have to adopt social listening and do it right. Here are some effective ways you can make the most of social listening for your brand.

  1. Discover opportunities to Improve

When a considerable number of customers start complaining about the same issue, it’s a sign that you have got some work to do. Social listening not just helps understand when you need to change but it can also provide ideas on how to change as well.

Suppose you are the marketing lead for a fitness center. Your customers have been sharing their frustration about fitness classes being filled up so quickly. Customers even go on to suggest how you can limit individuals or host larger classes to solve the issues.

Each of these options may have pros and cons but social listening helps you identify and bring new ideas to the table that can increase customer satisfaction.

  1. Develop new sales ideas

With social listening, you can identify what your target audiences like and dislike. Once you develop an understanding of what these prospects want, you can reach out to them and establish a connection.

Additionally, it will also help you provide timely and meaningful information to these prospects which will help convert them into customers.

  1. Create content that works

As a marketer, you need to consider not just your loyal fans, but also prospects who enjoy your content on social media.

You can attract them to your brand rather than just bombarding them with ads. After all, it’s hard to approach random strangers and hope they’re interested in what you’re selling. But it’s easier to create interest by posting engaging content that actually helps them and turns them into a lead.

Using social listening, you can discover what type of content your followers love by analyzing their shares, posts, hashtags, and photos. This will help you create relevant and engaging content that will draw them toward your brand and increase conversions.

  1. Adjust your strategy in real-time

Social engagement is not always good, particularly if it comes with negative sentiment. Often, a simple real-time adjustment in your strategy can turn your customer’s sentiments around. But, for this, you need to know what has gone wrong (or right).

You can detect changes in sentiment in real-time using social listening and get an idea of what triggered this change. Look for the reasons behind the positive or negative engagement of your customers. You can use them as guidance for adjusting your strategy across social channels.

  1. Set alarms for important keywords

An alert system for important keywords is a great tactic for social listening.

A fashion brand, for example, might set up an alert for the collection’s name or a relevant hashtag to stay on top of conversations about the collection.

This way, you’ll receive an alert every time someone mentions that keyword or hashtag on social media, allowing you to quickly and easily monitor what people are saying about your brand.

  1. Monitor your competitors

Social listening isn’t just about monitoring what people are saying about your brand; it’s also about keeping tabs on your competitors. By monitoring their social media activity and customer feedback, you can gain valuable insights into their strategies and identify areas where you can differentiate yourself.

  1. Monitor multiple channels

To get a complete picture of what your customers are saying, you need to monitor multiple channels on social media, including Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more.

So, make sure your social media tool covers your main social media channels.

  1. Measure and analyze your results 

Finally, it’s important to measure and analyze the results of your social listening efforts. Use social metrics such as engagement rates, sentiment analysis, and customer satisfaction scores to track your progress and identify areas where you can improve.

Social Listening with Mentionlytics

The most challenging aspect of social listening is to keep track of the hundreds and thousands of things being said about your brand daily. Additionally, if you are new to social listening then terms such as keywords, sentiment scores, and influencers might seem a bit overwhelming. Luckily for you, Mentionlytics has you covered.

Mentionlytics is an award-winning social listening platform that provides you with state-of-the-art intelligent features for supporting your marketing team. Whether you are looking to measure engagement for your brand, analyze trends in the industry, perform a market and prospect analysis, or come up with your next big marketing strategy, Mentionlytics can help you out with its excellent range of features.

Mentionlytics social listening overview report

Social listening empowers you, not just because of the information you collect, but how you perceive that information. Mentionlytics automatically gather information about your brand and transform them into actionable insights and metrics that you can use to shape your next success story.

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Stop Guessing, Start Listening

Social media is a rich source of information in this modern age – it is the home of the digital generation. If you do not pay attention to what is being done, said, or heard on social media then you will greatly fall behind your competition.

Customers, competitors, prospects, and investors express their opinions, needs, and wants on social media. To provide products, services, and content that matters to them and engages them with your product, you need to take up social listening.

The benefits are immense and the time is now because, in this fast-moving age, a day late is a year behind. So, what are you waiting for, get in touch to start your free brand monitoring right away!

Rezvan Golestaneh

About Rezvan Golestaneh

Content manager at Mentionlytics who likes to write about social media! She's a Potterhead, resistant to caffeine overdose, and loves listening to music she's never heard before.