Business Intelligence for Social Media – An Intro to Social Listening

| Updated on February 14, 2024

Social media is one of the most fast-paced faucets that a modern business has to contend with, with whole careers being built off managing these social systems. The size of social media really cannot be understated, with over 500 million Tweets being sent on Twitter alone per day. The huge volume of conversation is so overwhelming that it can be hard to know where to begin.

Social listening is the practice of following this social noise and discovering trends and feedback that relate to your business. As social media continues to rise in popularity, creating effective tools and systems that can help you manage your online presence is vital.

In this article, we’ll be exploring social listening, demonstrating how to get started, and outlining some of the major benefits that your business is set to receive. Let’s get right into it. 

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is the act of using social media websites to construct a system that tracks interactions, mentions, and keywords that are related to your brand. By monitoring the presence of your brand on social media sites, you’re able to understand public favor, get a detailed understanding of how your accounts are performing, and see how industry trends are currently moving.

Think of social listening as pulling information from all your social accounts into one dashboard. From this dashboard, you’ll then be able to conduct analysis, getting concrete data on the current condition of your company. 

Yet, going beyond just monitoring, social listening is also about trying to find the reasons behind why certain metrics related to your social pages look as they do. For example, if you’ve recently noticed that more people are mentioning your company on social media, what could have caused that? By tracking when these mentions started and tracing their progression, you could then move through company news or marketing campaigns until something lines up, giving you further insight into how your company is performing and why.

How to Set Up Social Listening

The first step of setting up a social listening network is to make sure that you have a social network to monitor. Alongside your own accounts, you should have general, even unbranded social media accounts that allow you to access search functions. These will allow you to search through posts and monitor certain keywords whenever they’re mentioned.

From there, you’ll need to connect to whichever format of data capture that your company uses. Considering the vast amount of data that you’ll be using, we recommend that you use a cloud data warehouse, as these can hold huge amounts of data which you’ll then be able to run analysis on.

If you haven’t already got a unanimous platform where all of your company data can be stored, we recommend you read through comparisons of some leading companies like Snowflake vs Clickhouse to find out which would suit your business best.

Once you’ve decided on a cloud data storage network, you’re able to begin harvesting data from your social sites, pulling it into this one single location for analysis.

What are the Benefits of Social Listening?

When you create an application, business, or platform, it’s incredibly difficult to gauge public favor. Social listening overcomes this, providing a central method for farming information related to your company, whether that be mentions online, public sentiment, or competitor actions. 

With this information, your business can put social listening to work to better develop your products, services, and communication styles in response to live feedback. Over time, this will help you increase the profitability of your company as you continually refine what you’re offering.

Just some of the benefits of social listening are as follows:

  • Understanding Brand Reputation
  • Analyze Competition
  • Get Feedback

Let’s break these down further.

Understanding Brand Reputation

While everyone understands what brand reputation means, few understand how to accurately track it. Initially, brands would send out surveys that asked people for feedback or general responses to their company. However, only people that used the brand actively would respond, typically skewing the results in a positive manner.

This practice can still be seen within the majority of applications, with them asking for people to rate their application on the device’s application store. However, while this is certainly one way of getting information about how people are feeling about your brand, it is far from the most effective one. 

Social listening allows you to analyze the context and sentiment of public discussions on social media about your brand. By moving through mentions, not just to get an idea of how many people are talking about your company, but rather what they’re saying, you’re able to build up a much more accurate idea of what people think.

By using corpus linguistics, social listening allows for semantics and context to be included in searching, generating overall sentiment scores and relaying more accurately how people feel about your brand at that moment. By using social listening, companies are able to turn the fairly amorphous idea of reputation into something traceable, and, therefore, improvable.

Analyze Competition

Another huge part of operating in any industry is understanding exactly how your competition is navigating the space. By conducting social listening on both your own company and similar platforms, you’re then able to create an industry-wide understanding of how you stack up. Especially if a competitor is getting a higher percentage of favorable comments about their brand, you can use social listening to explore exactly why that is.

Equally, this provides you the opportunity to create a benchmark for your company, easily monitoring yourself against industry averages to find out where you currently are in comparison to your biggest competitors. If there are continual points of feedback that your competitors get, you can work on emulating their product or style to make sure you get similar reviews.

Get Feedback

When brands make big changes, there is always a flood of posts on social media, with people all having an opinion that they want to share. Back in 2018, IHOP changed its name to IHOB as a marketing stunt to promote its burgers. They claimed this would be a permanent change, and people took to social media to share what they thought. 

Through social listening, IHOP was able to directly track the overall impression that was being given off by the general public, helping them to modify and rectify their marketing strategies. This tactic is commonly used when brands decide to change their logo or the style of a specific feature, as the social commentary allows a wave of feedback to come in through social listening.

This feedback can then be put to work to refine the product, change the feature, or develop the idea even further. Quite simply, social listening provides more information that then allows companies to make better decisions about their brand and its public representation.

Final Thoughts

Social media is a complex landscape to navigate, especially for brands that don’t know where to begin. Social listening acts as a way of, using machine learning, data harvesting, and corpus linguistics to give companies a better idea of what people think about them online and why.

By using social listening, companies are able to refine their products and services in reaction to public response. Considering social listening can be created with only a data management platform and warehouse, this is an easy-access system that can have huge results. 

As a recently established business intelligence tool, we’ll likely see much more social listening being deployed by companies as social media continues to dominate modern culture.

Also Read: Promoting Your Business in 2022

Khushboo Chhibber

Senior Web Writer and Video Creator

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