Social Listening: Transform Your Marketing Strategy

April 18, 2024

Transforming Marketing Strategy with Proactive Social Media Insights

Okay, we’ll admit it: “Social listening” sounds a little creepy. But we at COHN don’t get to name marketing tactics for the entire world! (In this case, we might have gone with “social surveying,” but alas…)

If you aren’t familiar with the term, “social listening” generally refers to the passive tracking and analyzing the conversations and trends happening around your brand and industry online. However, social listening has evolved in recent years to encompass a slightly more active approach—by using influencers to survey and gather data on your behalf.

This new approach, which we innovated and brought to the market in 2020 during the pandemic, provides insights into what customers truly desire, their issues, and their overall sentiment towards your brand or market. In this way, we can take a more proactive approach to gather data that isn’t necessarily directed toward you but is still immensely valuable.

The Strategic Value of Social Listening

Social listening offers a direct line to unfiltered customer feedback. Whether it’s praise, complaints, or general discussion, each piece of information can help refine marketing strategies, product offerings, and overall customer engagement. Understanding these unspoken needs allows companies to respond more effectively and build stronger relationships with their audience.

Here’s how it works: We engage with local social media influencers and work with them to moderate Q&As with their followers around topics that could influence messaging, marketing campaigns, strategies, etc. These exercises are less formal and can feel more natural, yielding more unfiltered perspectives and insights. It’s another lens that we can apply to the situation, and it helps refine how we approach the work.

It’s similar to formal research, but for a fraction of the time or cost.

Benefits of Proactive Social Listening

We already know that engaging proactively with social media content can elevate a brand’s presence and influence. In fact, it better allows businesses to catch potential issues before they escalate and seize opportunities that might not have been apparent without these insights.

In the same way, effective social listening also enables companies to identify industry trends, adapt their content strategy quickly, and meet the evolving expectations of their customers.

You can also reach more specific persona types by working directly with influencers who are archetypes for a persona in your marketing mix.

Tools and Techniques for Effective Social Media Listening

Several platforms and tools can facilitate effective social listening.

From the passive monitoring side of things, setting up alerts for specific keywords, phrases, and industry-related terms can help businesses stay on top of relevant conversations. There are many, many platforms built around tracking social media accounts and keywords.

However, from a more proactive, research-based form of social listening—like the kind we invented and deploy for our clients at COHN—there is no current platform that allows you to do the type of research-based listening we do.

Distinguishing Between Listening and Monitoring

While they are often used interchangeably, social media listening and monitoring serve distinct purposes. Social media monitoring is the process of tracking mentions directly related to your brand or industry, essentially keeping tabs on your public reputation and immediate issues.

On the other hand, social listening is more about understanding the larger conversations taking place that could impact your brand strategy or market position in the long term.

Integrating Insights From Social Listening for Strategy

Finally, merging valuable insights from both listening and monitoring can provide a comprehensive view of your brand’s health and customer sentiment. This integration helps inform areas like content creation, product development, and customer service, ultimately leading to more informed decision-making and strategic planning.

To harness the full potential of social listening for your brand, partnering with our team of experts at COHN can guide and enhance your strategies. Whether you want to quietly observe from afar or actively engage to find out key customer insights from your brand, COHN’s experience in integrating this intel from social listening ensures you can respond, adapt, and pivot for sustained success and growth. Let’s schedule a meeting to discuss further.

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