How Companies Should Set Up Their Social Listening Function


Ben Myall, CEO (U.S.) and Co-Founder at Three Whiskey

In today’s crowded digital landscape, social listening is an invaluable way to make sure your brand is aligned with the values, interests, and concerns of key stakeholders. Social listening goes beyond brand mentions and engagements, and allows you to tune into broader conversations your target audience is having.  

Whether you plan to use social listening to discover what prospective customers are talking about, understand how current stakeholders feel, or keep an eye on the competition, there are a few key steps involved in setting up social listening to make sure you’re getting the data you need. 

Let’s take a look at the steps to take when setting up the social listening function at your company.

Determine your goal

While social listening is relatively simple to integrate into your current strategy, there needs to be a clear goal in place to get the most out of it. Without one, you risk gathering the wrong data and missing out on opportunities to grow your business. First figure out what you want to get out of your social listening efforts. Do you want to keep up with trending conversations in your industry? Pay attention to what’s being said about your competitors? Or maybe your goal is to better understand the interests or concerns of current stakeholders. Whatever the goal may be, start by focusing on just one so you can strengthen your social listening skills before pursuing other avenues of interest. 

Hone in on the right language

Keyword research is an essential step in this process. When using your social listening tool, it is important to adjust the filters carefully to make sure that you hone in on the right language and limit your keywords enough to drown out irrelevant conversations. 

For example, let’s say you want to know more about what people are saying about your luxury travel company. You would start by plugging your company name into the tool and getting a glimpse into what people are saying about your brand. Next, you’ll need to do a little research into the language and terminology people are using. Having a more fine tuned grasp on the language your audience is using will allow you to gather the right information when capturing these conversations. 

Time frame 

While conversations can be tracked year-round, the time frame you measure is an important consideration, especially if there’s something specific you’re interested in. For instance, is there a certain time of year that your audience is most engaged? Are there any specific events that could skew your results? Make sure to plan ahead in order to get the most out of your efforts. 

Take location into consideration

Location-based data is important for visualizing what’s happening at a defined physical location. This is important for understanding the sentiments of locals in an area you’d like to reach, or maybe even tracking the effects an event had in a certain region. 

While you can limit location in your social listening tool, it’s important to note that this will only show you people who have their location tagged, which may cause you to miss out on relevant conversations. If location is a critical component of what you’re hoping to achieve with your social listening efforts, it may be worth exploring within your tool. 

Narrow down the social media platforms 

The last step to take into account when setting up your social listening function is which platforms to monitor. There’s no sense in spending time tracking LinkedIn when you know your customers are more likely to engage on Instagram. Consider your audience, be they potential or current customers, and find out where they spend most of their time online. When you meet your audience where they are, you can collect the right information you need to drive better results for your business. 

Ben MyallAbout the Author: Ben Myall is CEO (US) and co-founder at Three Whiskey, a digital marketing agency that blends digital expertise, behavioral insight and brand understanding. Three Whiskey has offices in Dallas and the UK.