6-minute read

Are you using social media monitoring to grow your business?

The insights you can gather about your customers and prospects through social listening is invaluable. For instance, you can use the data to improve customer service, track campaign progress, identify brand ambassadors, generate qualified leads, and more.

Do you want to improve your results when monitoring social media conversations? Ready to maximize your brand’s presence on social media?

In this article, you’ll discover 19 ways to listen and engage with your customers and prospects on social media.


What’s the difference between social monitoring and social listening?

What is the difference between social media monitoring and social listening?

Before we go any further, it’s worth highlighting the subtle difference between social monitoring and social listening.

Social monitoring refers to the tools and technologies used to gather and notify you about the data you’re tracking:

Social media monitoring is the practice of using a social technology platform to notify you of a conversation so you can react to it.

Social listening refers to how you interpret and respond to the data you’ve gathered:

Social media listening is the practice of using a social technology platform to investigate what is being said in online conversations to learn, question, explore and glean insights to be more informed.

For instance, you could use a social technology tool like Sendible to receive notifications whenever customers mention your brand online (social monitoring). And then delight them with a quick response (social listening).


Why use social listening?

How to use social listening to benefit your brand on social media
Social listening is not just about tracking your brand on social media. Most social monitoring tools allow you to check different websites, like forums, blogs, news sites, and review sites, as well as social networks.

What you decide to monitor, depends on your goals and what data you’re looking to capture. But with the right tools and a little creativity, you can use social listening throughout your organization to gather product feedback, collect customer support queries, and identify lead generation opportunities.

Let’s take a look at how you can use social listening to improve your business.


19 ways to listen and engage with your customers and prospects

Here’s how to monitor and listen to your customers and prospects on social media. We will be looking at the following:

  • How to find your most relevant brand mentions
  • How to respond to brand mentions (negative and positive)
  • How to generate leads for your business
  • How to find relevant industry content


How to find your most relevant brand mentions

How to find your most relevant brand mentions on Twitter

If you track mentions of your brand name only, then you’re going to miss some golden opportunities of interacting with your customers. Here are some ways to extend your search criteria.

1. Monitor without the @ symbol

When people mention brands on Twitter, they often forget to use the @ symbol. Make sure you monitor with and without the @ symbol. For example, we’d need to monitor for the terms ‘sendible’ and ‘@sendible’.

2. Check for misspellings

It’s easy to mistype words, especially with auto-correct features that sometimes guess wrong! You need to account for misspellings and add them to your tracking tool. For example, ‘Flickr’ and ‘Flicker’.

3. Monitor your domain

Similar to misspellings is the way people mention your domain with or without the ‘www.’ prefix. It’s worth monitoring for both variants to catch all occurrences. For example, ‘www.yourbrand.com’ and ‘yourbrand.com’. You might also want to check for the domain suffix too; for example, ‘.com’, ‘.net’, ‘.co.uk’, etc.

4. Check the names of prominent members of your company

Some companies have employees who are more visible and worth tracking. For example, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Media, or Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn.

5. Track mentions of specific campaigns you’re running

If you’re running a marketing campaign, perhaps for a product launch or a promotion, then check for special mentions of that campaign and its hashtag.

6. Don’t forget your catchphrase, slogan or tagline

Some brands are as famous for their motto or tagline; for example, Nike with Just do it. If you have one, then remember to add it to your brand tracking.


How to respond to brand mentions (negative and positive)

Respond to negative and postive mentions of your brand through social listening
Monitoring for brand mentions is only half of your job. Use your social listening skills to engage with people and provide a complete customer experience based on the sentiment of their feedback.

7. Reward positive mentions

Create alerts for ‘your brand’ plus ‘love’ or ‘great’ to find more positive mentions. For example, ‘sendible+love’, or ‘sendible+great’.

You can also use the smiling face 🙂 emoticon to look for positive tweets. For example, sendible 🙂 returns:

Search for a smiling face emoji to discover positive brand mentions on social media

Take the opportunity to engage with your fans and thank them for their support. Here’s how we replied to the above tweet:

Example of an engaging reply to a positive tweet

8. Turn negative feedback into a positive outcome

Likewise, you should monitor for negative words like ‘bad’ or ‘poor’. You can also use the sad face 🙁 emoticon to look for negative tweets.

For example, sendible 🙁 returns:

Try to turn negative feedback into positive engagement by monitoring negative keywords and symbols

When you discover negative feedback, you have the opportunity to turn it into a positive experience. You can demonstrate that you’re listening to customer problems and that you’re willing to help them.

Turn negative feedback into positive by sending a response and engaging with customers

Bonus Tip:

It’s also possible to search for different intent using emojis or punctuation symbols like ‘?’ and ‘!’. For example, searching for the term ‘sendible ?’ found this:

You can monitor intent by searching for punctuation symbols or emojis

Pro Tip: Sendible lets you receive alerts for reviews on Yelp, CitySearch, Glassdoor and others so you can act quickly before issues escalate.


9. Make a list of template responses

It’s useful to have some template answers that you and your team can use when responding to brand mentions. For example:

  • Thanks for the feedback! Much appreciated!
  • Happy to hear you’re using [insert brand]! Let us know your thoughts!
  • Glad you liked [insert brand]! Thanks for sharing your story!
  • We appreciate all your patience and support while we deal with this issue!
  • Our apologies for the inconvenience! We’re doing everything we can to fix the issue!


How to generate leads for your business

How to generate leads for your business

Social media monitoring and listening are an excellent way to create new leads for your business. Take a look at these methods.

10. Monitor for product searches

Add qualifying words like ‘anyone’, ‘recommend’ or ‘suggest’ to product searches to find people who might be searching for a product like yours. People often ask for product recommendations on social media: “Can anyone recommend or suggest a project management tool?”

11. Monitor people searching for similar products or services

Add keywords to your tracking tool that are similar to your products and services. For example, an email marketing service provider might check for phrases like ‘help managing contacts’ or ‘improve open rates’.

It’s also possible to run Boolean searches in Twitter’s free Advanced Search tool. For example, you could combine both phrases with the ‘AND’ operator: ‘help managing contacts’ AND ‘improve open rates’.

Once you’ve found a conversation, join in and offer genuine advice without pushing your product or service.

12. Monitor for competitors and their customers

It’s good practice to monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing and how they’re performing. But you can also take advantage of their customer gripes. For example, you could monitor terms like ‘[competitor’s brand name] can’t’ or ‘[competitor’s brand name] won’t’ to identify pain points. Once you’ve identified these potential leads, you’ll need to engage with them. Find out why they were disappointed with your competitor and ask if you can show them how your product or service would benefit them.

13. Monitor locations

If you run a location-specific business, then it makes sense to monitor for mentions of that place alongside your product or service. For example, a Chicago based web design agency might monitor for ‘web design service + Chicago’. Set up an immediate alert so you can jump in and engage with potential leads in your location.

Where is your business located? Try monitoring keywords related to that location.

14. Discover social influencers

You can find social influencers by monitoring for relevant industry keywords and phrases. As you analyze these results, you’ll notice influencers in your industry – people who generate a lot of comments and shares. Start off by connecting with them and building a relationship. In time, these influencers will mention your brand to their audience and help attract more leads to your business.

15. Discover brand ambassadors

When you monitor for positive brand mentions, you can start building a list of potential brand ambassadors. If possible, offer some loyalty reward, but make sure you engage with these people and ask them to promote your brand. People love seeing recommendations from other clients and customers.


How to find relevant industry content

How to find relevant industry content

You can use social monitoring to find content related to your industry. Curating and sharing relevant industry-related content helps position and strengthen your brand.

16. Monitor for keywords and phrases that describe your industry

For example, at Sendible we might want to monitor for key phrases like ‘social media management’, ‘social media scheduling’, ‘social media reporting’, and ‘social media listening’.

We also check on the latest industry trends by monitoring news from social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ so we can provide the best service and advice.

17. Monitor for keywords and phrases that relate to your industry

Use the Google Suggest Tool to get related keywords and phrases. For example, enter the term ‘web design’, and you get these ideas:

Check for keywords that relate to your brand, subject or industry

18. Monitor for frequently used industry hashtags

Use a tool like Hashtagify to find the most popular hashtags for your industry. For example, when you enter the term ‘social media’ you’ll get results like #SMM, #Marketing, #SEO, #DigitalMarketing, #Twitter, and #Facebook:

Example of related hashtags used for Twitter monitoring

Another way to find the best hashtags is to check what influencers are using. For instance, at Sendible we check posts and tweets from social media influencers like @Mike_Stelzner, @PegFitzpatrick, @NealSchaffer, @jaybaer, ‏@markwschaefer, and @neilpatel.

In this example, Mike Stelzner is using the trending hashtags #videomarketing and #contentmarketing as he shares a post:

Look at hashtags that influencers are using when deciding which ones to monitor

19. Find shareable content

Add specific terms like ‘infographic’ or ‘case study’ to your topic searches to find shareable content to curate and share with your audience. For example, ‘SEO infographic’ or ‘rank tracking case study’.


Final thoughts

Social media monitoring gives you the opportunity to track your brand, your competitors, and key industry terms to stay ahead of the curve. When you apply your social listening skills, too, you’ll be able to respond quickly to your existing customers and new prospects.

How are you using social media monitoring to maximize your brand’s presence? Do you have any social listening tips you’d like to share here?

David Hartshorne

David Hartshorne is a freelance writer working with business owners and marketing teams to create detailed, actionable content that resonates with their audience. When he’s not writing about digital marketing and technology, you’ll find him chilling with a thriller in Spain.

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  • http://guestpostblogging.com Jane Foster – Guest Blogger

    Hi David, I read your post and agree with your mentioned points. I will use your technique for my social media channels.

  • Troy

    Great tips!
    Monitoring your competitors and customers should be an integral part of the social media marketing strategy. You should also track their activity on social networks: likes, comments follows and so on.
    For example, I use Snoopreport tool for Instagram (https://snoopreport.com) that tracks user actions as likes, comments and follows to research users and update the marketing campaigns