The Importance of Social Listening in Digital Marketing

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Social listening is the process of using digital tools to monitor what people are saying about brands online. Digital marketers who use social listening are able to gather key insights about their clients’ target audiences, competitors, and any potential issues coming their way.

Social listening helps digital marketers do more than observe. It gives them the ability to engage in and own the conversations around their clients’ sector and customer base. Paid social experts use social listening to discover keywords and hashtags relevant to consumers. These data insights help put together strong strategies as it targets specific audiences who are receptive to their clients’ products on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

One of the main benefits of joining conversations on social media and the web is discovering what people are saying about a particular brand, topic, product, celebrity, or influencer. Paid Social and Digital PR teams can work together by piecing together ‘the messy middle’, which helps gather insights from analytics of key trends and their clients’ sector. Both teams are able to work closely on a strong SEO and Paid Social strategy as it’s focused on relevant topics and content, which the press and customers would engage with online. Social listening helps digital marketers better manage their clients by allowing them to become embedded in the conversations happening online.

Luckily, today there are a wide range of social listening tools such as BuzzSumo and Brandwatch which help digital marketers own the conversations happening around their clients’ sectors. While the capabilities of each tool vary, many social monitoring tools offer band mention tracking and frequency, consumer sentiment analysis, keyword and hashtag discovery, and features to identify the most relevant to the press, influencers, and customers.

What’s the Difference Between Social Listening and Social Monitoring?

Social monitoring focuses on a specific company, brand, product, or campaign, while social listening includes brand mentions as well as trends and sentiment data. Social listening allows you to understand how people are talking about you, your competitors, and the overall market landscape.

How Does Social Listening Help Put Together Digital Marketing Strategies?

Social Listening is the process of understanding the online conversation about a company or brand and its products and services. Social listening allows you to understand what your people are talking about within your client’s target market. You’ll be able to track what they think, how they feel and what content they want to see according to their reactions online. What are the benefits of using social listening? Social listening goes beyond connecting digital marketers and consumers, it allows you to focus on content personalisation by identifying the right publications to pitch for your clients. For example, a digital PR strategist can look at what trends are the most popular in the press and on social media as they can track keywords on topics relevant to their clients’ brand and upcoming collection. Whether that is sustainable or vintage fashion, social listening enables you to see what influencers and the public have been sharing on Instagram or blogging about as you can track hashtags relevant to your clients’ brand. After analysing the conversations through analytics and reporting, digital PR strategists and paid social experts can uncover opportunities with the media. They can leverage influencers to share, respond to or add to their content and brand stories. Another advantage of using social listening tools is the ability to provide better customer service and brand messaging.

Social listening allows digital marketers to monitor what consumers are saying on social media and help give clients guidance on how to respond in the right voice at the right time. It can also help manage their clients’ online reputation more effectively, allowing them to jump on reactive PR opportunities and trends, which are relevant to their brand and can showcase their expertise in their industry.

How is Social Listening Measured?

Social listening is measured on its engagement rate as it’s tracked on how many replies, mentions, retweets, favourites, and shares brands receive on social media platforms. This metric will allow you to determine the probability of posts going viral and brand and messaging repeatability levels as you’re able to track trends and news topics related to your client’s brand.

The following social listening metrics will help you develop a newsworthy social listening strategy:

  • Volume of Conversation – This metric measures how many brand or product mentions your organisation receives in the social media sphere.
  • Topical Trends – This feature on social listening helps you see topical subjects relevant to your client that are currently being discussed on social media and online newspapers and magazines.
  • Rate of Engagement – This will measure what Instagram posts, tweets, articles and Facebook posts customers and the public are engaging with the most online.
  • Sentiment Analysis – This metric will compare reactions on social media and highlight if it’s a positive or negative reaction.

Which Are the Best Tools to Use for Social Listening?

The Embryo team has done some research into social media listening, and we have listed below the best social listening tools that we use the most.


1) Brandwatch

This social listening tool aims to bring structure and meaning to the voices of billions online, and that’s something that we can confirm that this data tool can achieve for your client. No matter how fast things change, their technology follows real-time and can track historical social trends and mentions to help you piece together the perfect Paid Social, Digital PR and SEO strategy for your client.

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2) BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo has been the go-to social listening tool for digital marketers worldwide. This social listening platform helps thousands of businesses create brilliant content, monitor their brand and industry, and discover growth opportunities. But this database can also be used to track breaking news stories, social media trends and posts which are gathering the attention of the press and the public for reactive PR opportunities as you’re able to see the public’s reactions to the news.


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3) Linkfluence

Linkfluence is a social listening tool that gives you the ability to get always-on insight into consumer behaviours and attitudes in real-time, instead of waiting weeks for research studies to be carried out. The tool uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help analyse online consumer discussions and trends such as hashtags and sentiment data to help you visualise what products, places and content people are the most engaged with online across the globe.