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Why Your Brand Needs Social Listening

19 Jan 2018 4:15 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

Great post from MarTech Advisor- Helping Marketers Succeed. 


Jennifer Dandy, Analytics Manager at Anexinet, talks about how a well-crafted Social Listening project is a powerful tool for market research, public affairs, and marketing teams. Learn about its incredible benefits and how to overcome common barriers to support 

Social Listening is becoming an increasingly popular market analytics tool. Haven’t heard of it yet? Not quite sure what it is? You’re not alone. But you may be missing out on an incredibly valuable – and economical – the source of market insight!

Social Listening is the practice of listening to, and deriving insights from, the social conversations occurring among consumers online via various social media platforms. Listening endeavors range from basic to incredibly complex; from monitoring conversation and activity around specific events or campaigns, to complex market research studies. While the specifics of project design will vary based on the driving business needs, the benefits of leveraging Social Listening remain consistent.

  • Social media conversations are occurring publically, in real-time, and are actively shaping consumer opinions. Consequently, the consumer opinions expressed can be thought of as the latest iteration of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM); one that has the potential to reach a greater audience than traditional WOMM. This means it is essential for public affairs and marketing teams alike to stay abreast of the evolving perspectives shared on social media that are shaping their consumers’ opinions. Social Listening allows teams to get out in front of evolving opinions and identify key opinion leaders online who may be brand advocates or detractors.
  • Social data provides a unique view into the consumers' mindset by giving marketers insight into unbiased and unprompted peer-to-peer conversations. Unlike the perspectives shared in an interview room, these dialogues are not subject to reporter bias. Online is where consumers speak candidly and honestly about their experiences with their products; be it to share recommendations or scathing reviews of their network. Understanding consumers’ unfiltered reality and natural language empowers marketers to connect organically with their audience.
  • Social Listening is a timely and cost-effective means to gain these consumer insights. This methodology skips the initial steps of traditional market research: discussion guide or survey creation, navigating approvals, recruiting, and conducting.  This enables Social Listening to jump from inception to insights in a matter of weeks. Insights gleaned from this research are fresh and timely. They can also be a cost-effective alternative to traditional research, especially in niche and rare communities where recruitment can be difficult. The internet’s ability to connect disparate individuals into a mutual location affords researchers access to many difficult to recruit consumer cohorts.
  • With all these benefits, some teams face barriers to getting funding for such projects. Perhaps the most common roadblock is the misconception that social data is only for the marketing teams seeking to launch a social campaign. But in fact, there is much to be learned about the consumer group who is not directly engaging with one’s brand.  Additionally, there is tremendous value in gaining insight into the market at large, going beyond mentions of a single brand and competitors. 

The second barrier is the belief that regulations will limit the practice.  On the contrary, Social Listening can be an effective means to circumvent many regulations given the passive nature of the data collection. 

Finally, teams may come to the practice without a clear use case or business question. With any research, Social Listening ought to be conducted with a clear set of goals in mind. Doing so will ensure the most valuable insights are uncovered and that these are impactful to the business.

A well-crafted Social Listening project is a powerful tool for market research, public affairs, and marketing teams alike. The data affords a unique window into the lives of consumers, their opinions and behaviors. The results offer timely and cost-effect insights into the market, informing marketing, customer service, and consumer experience efforts. 

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