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[Tech Talks] What is Social Listening and How You Can Use It

Social listening often refers to using software to collect public online discussions regarding a specific topic, then analyse the discussions for a variety of use cases. The types of data that can be collected includes posts and comments on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as blogs, forums, news and any other public website.

Vincent Jiang, Director of Sales and Partnership, Magnolia CMS explains what social listening is and how brands and business owners can use it.

The most common use case for social listening is campaign measurement. For upper-funnel awareness and branding campaigns, brands often struggle with measuring their effectiveness.


Traditionally, marketers can either conduct a survey or look at website traffic and search volume data. However, both methods come with significant drawbacks. Surveys are affected by response bias, while website traffic and search volume data won’t work if your brand name is a common word such as Apple.


Social listening allows marketers to measure the volume of mentions, reach, sentiment and engagement of their campaigns, as well as the uplift of brand discussions, which allows them to effectively measure the effectiveness of their upper-funnel campaigns.


Another common use case is content strategy. For example, when an airline wants to launch a new route, they can use social listening tools to find out the most discussed topics of that destination, from restaurants/bars, to top sights and experiences, then create relevant content to tap into the conversation and raise awareness.


Brands’ PR teams often use social listening to monitor potential crises. Such crises often break on Twitter and Facebook before they hit news sites. Having a social listening capability gives PR teams the lead time they need to prepare the response to the crisis, and measure the sentiment of public discussions and find out if their crisis management strategy is working.


When choosing a social listening software, there are a few things marketers should focus on:


  1. Data coverage: 96% of brand discussions happen outside of brands’ official social media channels, so it’s crucial to collect these earned mentions and analyze them. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide the same data to 3rd party crawlers, so the difference is in the software’s ability to cover key forums, blogs, and even print media. Don’t just focus on the number of websites covered, but also the depth of the coverage.

  2. Natural language processing capabilities: If the social listening software can’t analyze the data it collects, it won’t be very helpful. Make sure the software you select can analyze information such as topics and sentiments, not just in English but also in languages that are commonly used in your key markets.

  3. Integration with other parts of MarTech stack: The organic conversations collected and analyzed by social listening software should work with data from other parts of your MarTech stack to optimize your campaign strategy and maximize the ROI. Make sure the software can export the metadata via open API.

Magnolia is a leading digital experience software company. We help brands outsmart their competition through better customer experiences and faster DX projects. Global leaders such as CNN Philippines, Midea, NCS and Toshiba rely on Magnolia for maximum reliability, high-speed project implementation and exceptional omnichannel experiences.

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