Jennifer Hanford
June 9, 2015

Using Social Media Listening Enhances Business Conversations

Truth: everyone has opinions.

We all possess a certain need for having conversations with others about those opinions. At the same time, we also hope that someone is listening and hearing about whatever is on our minds.

Social media has become that open forum for many of us. And, as business owners, we can – and should – tap into the millions of conversations taking place on social media every day. Social media listening allows us to do this.

When you think about having conversations, regardless of whether they are business-related or personal, what aspect do you think is most important? Many of us probably agree that listening and being heard takes priority over talking.

Taking that listening concept a step further, we also like when others really focus on what we say, as well as how we say it. Paying close attention during conversations shows the other party or parties that we really care about what they are telling us.

The conversations we have on social media require the same levels of focus. Savvy businesses engaging in active social media listening often gain the upper hand over those organizations that exclusively broadcast their own messages.

Social media listening: Why should your business use it?

Listening contributes to a better understanding of your audience

Social media listening (aka social monitoring) often uncovers extremely valuable insights into the purchasing habits and behaviors of potential clients. Monitoring conversations takes businesses beyond the conversations and allows them the opportunity for even greater engagement with their audiences.

In other words, listening helps businesses better understand their audiences, and consequently helps their audiences feel as if someone is really hearing what they have to say.

Social media listening provides businesses with valuable data and intelligence they can use for delivering the products, services, and/or solutions their audiences really desire. And of course, providing value to your potential clients goes a long way towards converting them into clients who are satisfied with your business and its offerings.

Learning more about your competition helps you do business better

Social media listening can help you (ethically) keep tabs on your competition. From observing how your competition uses social media, to “listening” in on what their clients have to say about them, you can collect and use these insights for your own business.

Tools you can use for social media listening

Fortunately, many tools exist that can help you effectively and efficiently monitor all those online conversations and collect the relevant data you need.

The following social media listening tools are affordable (or FREE!), and super-easy to use:

  • Social MentionType in a keyword or name and this free tool searches for it across 100+ social media networks. You’ll quickly have relevant results which you can easily organize.
  • TopsyThis social listening tool has a free search engine which looks a lot like Google. Its search engine-type capabilities provide accurate and robust results. Another useful feature this tool offers its users is the ability to filter searches within time frames which range from the past hour, and all the way through “all time.” (Edit: Topsy closed December 2015)
  • TrackurAlthough this tool is not free and prices start at $97/month for complete social media monitoring and management, this tool offers probably the broadest and most comprehensive social media listening capabilities in the industry. Trackur also offers a 10-day, no obligation trial. 

Over to you

It’s true that social media listening, just like all other listening, requires time and patience. Many people may find it takes a while before the listening aspect becomes more natural. It may help when you remember that your audience recognizes that you are really listening to them. And, as a result, your business will reap the rewards as well. It’s a win-win either way.

Do you have a strategy for your business’ social media listening? I would love to hear your thoughts and what works for you and your business. Please feel free to leave a comment below…I’m listening.


Related Resource

Greenlight Why you should have a social media listening strategy


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Also published on Medium.

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Jennifer Hanford

Freelance Blogger and Social Media Manager at j+ Media Solutions
Jennifer is a freelance blogger and social media community manager. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking, and pinning on Pinterest.