Why Listening on Social Media Works Better Than Talking

man with red zipper over his mouth, social listening

I see brands all of the time posting on social media a few times a week, every day, or even multiple times a day. But as they spend all of this time posting pictures, videos, or whatever they have for content, people start to engage with them and the brand never responds. They spend all of this time putting out content and not worrying about what’s coming in. How there can be such a lack of social listening amazes me.

Not only that, but I’m often very surprised to find myself in a conversation about a brand with someone on social media and the brand never chimes in. That is their perfect opportunity to sell me and whoever else I’m speaking to! They can jump in and control the conversation, make sure we have our facts right, offer us a trial to try out their software or whatever they are selling. But, nope, no response.

I’ve even seen multiple conversations on social media where people may be talking about a restaurant they like but got their hours wrong, or maybe said when happy hour is but got that time wrong, yet the restaurant never chimes in. So now there is false information going around about this restaurant and it seems like the restaurant doesn’t care.

WHY?! These are all ideal situations to get involved in the conversation and try to engage with a potential or current customers!

[bctt tweet=”Not social listening is like constantly talking and not caring about what other people say.” username=”andrewmaff”]

Listening on Twitter

screenshot of mobile twitter mountain dew social listening searchTwitter makes social listening incredibly easy. Besides the obvious mentions of your brand, go to the search bar and type in your companies name, misspellings of your company’s name, hashtags or any keyword that may help you get into a conversation with someone who is interested in what your business does.

ALWAYS respond. Talk to people when they are talking about you. It shows you care and it keeps your engagement up as other people get involved in the conversation.

Now, we all know Twitter is dying out a little bit, but there are still some very loyal users. I use Twitter all of the time, mainly because I get a very quick response from brands or influencers I want to speak with. So if I was chatting with an influencer about how frustrated I am that this marketing software I’m using isn’t working the way I wanted it to, wouldn’t it be smart for that brand to want to butt into that conversation and make things right?

Listening on Instagram

screenshot of mobile instagram pepsi social listening searchInstagram is almost the same way except someone has to use a hashtag for you to be able to search it. Searching hashtags on Instagram is simple. Type in your brand’s name in the search field, click “Tags” and there you go! Take a look at everyone that has been using your brand as a hashtag and respond to ALL of them!

On Instagram, it is very important to be doing this because pictures can be incredibly helpful OR incredibly hurtful. I’ve seen profiles where a user posted a picture of a great time they were having at a bar and the bar commented, thanked them for coming and even requested to share the picture on their own profile. This was a great example of a company doing it right.

But, I’ve seen people get pissed off about how unpleasant their food looked at a certain restaurant, took a picture to tell their followers to never go there and the restaurant never responded. They could have chimed in and diffused the situation, offered them something to come back and try again and maybe even have them take the picture down. Nope, there was nothing.

In March of 2015, the average teenager had around 150 followers on Instagram. Granted, I’m sure that’s changed, that still means there are around 150 people who would see this negative post about gross food and that is a lot of business to lose for a restaurant.

This is great proof that social listening is more of a requirement than a strategy, without doing it on Instagram you could really be hurting your business.

Listening on Facebook

screenshot of mobile facebook coca cola social listening searchFacebook will give you a notification if someone is talking to you or your company but if they don’t tag you or post it directly to you, then you may not see it. Well, you can now search through posts, be sure to use the search option to search for your companies name, misspellings of your company’s name, hashtags, keywords and anything else you can think of to try and find every conversation possible.

Social listening on Facebook really should be a given. It’s the largest social media platform by far, the last thing you want is someone bashing your brand on Facebook and you don’t do anything about it so now everyone reading this conversation thinks your company sucks.

Being able to get involved in these conversations not only gives you the chance to give people the facts and make sure everyone leaves happy. But, it also shows that you have great customer service and will show everyone reading this conversation that you do care about your customers, which will most likely result in your getting new customers. It’s a great customer service strategy but it’s also a great way to bring in new customers.

Tools to Help Social Listening

Google Alerts

screenshot of mobile google alertsDo you know what Google Alerts are? If not, you damn well should.

Google allows you to set up an alert where it will email you as often as you want and give you an update if anyone has posted about your company from all over the internet. This is a fantastic tool and if utilized correctly can really help you listen and converse with your customers by seeing where you’re being mentioned on the internet.

If someone mentions your name in a forum or on any website when Google crawls that page if your brand name shows up, they’ll email you the link and a snippet of what was being said. You can have it email you every day, every week or even as it happens. It’s that easy!

Being able to keep an eye on the entire internet and get an email sent to you everytime someone mentions your brand or whatever keyword you want is amazing. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.


screenshot of setting up hootsuite stream for social listeningJust like Google Alerts, Hootsuite is a requirement if you want to do social listening right. Also, just like Google Alerts, Hootsuite is free (for a limited amount of social media accounts, but plenty for one brand).

Hootsuite allows you set up “streams” where you have an array of options to set-up your own personal feed of any keyword you want (I always suggest at minimum doing your brand name for each social media account they offer), or you can set up having your social media information right in front of you like your news feed, posts, messages, etc. from multiple social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube¬†and more.

I think the best part about Hootsuite for social listening is that you don’t have to leave their dashboard. If someone is talking about your brand, it will show up in your stream and you can comment right there, no need to switch back and forth to different social media accounts.


Social listening is one of those things that always shocks me when brands aren’t doing it. It really could severely increase customers and increase customer satisfaction. This is why I am a firm believer of businesses being on as many social media platforms as possible to make sure no matter where the conversation about your brand is headed, you can get involved.

If there are some more social listening tools you think I should add that I don’t have here, let me know, I may add it.

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