The concept of social listening is not widely understood nor used in all businesses. A quick poll of our friends and family found that many assumed that this is where spies listen to what we say and then we get marketing material about the very thing that we were talking about. 
Not to be confused with social monitoring, social listening is when a brand is so close to it's social platforms that they are monitoring on an ongoing basis for absolutely anything that mentions their brand or is related to it. The key is to then analyse and act upon the opportunity that is presented. 
We have seen brands engage directly with their customers in this way, like train companies who reply to passengers who are delayed. As a customer support tool, for larger brands, this kind of practice is pretty well established. 
Where SMEs can help to identify new opportunities is to keep an ear to the ground to see what people want and what is getting their goat. The next step is to review the information, so how many people are saying this and where. So if you are an electrician who has decided not to fit electric car plugs and then you identify a big enough gap. You then offer out the service with a booking form on your website and all of a sudden you have work in the pipeline and crucially, you have priced that work appropriately. All of a sudden your attitude has changed and according to social listening you may start to get feedback on your new service offering. Then you would keep track of what people are saying and make changes where needed. 
Of course, we have made it all sound super easy and it isn't that straightforward, which is why not many brands do more than monitor their channels. To start, we always recommend knowing what your objective is. Are you looking to find out about your competitors or are you considering launching a new product or service? Once you have a goal, your digital marketeer can then start the task of collating the data based on detailed searches. There are some great tools that you can use to help you to track your content and respond to comments. 
If you would like to boost your digital marketing efforts or outsource some of the work, please give us a shout! 
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