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Marketing Defined: Using Social Listening to Connect with Your Audience

Are you a talker, or a listener? Whether you’re a listener by nature or not, as a brand representative, it pays to slow down and listen—especially when your brand followers are talking to you on social media. Social listening is a way for marketers to take note of what their customers are saying and turn that information into helpful action. Using social listening to connect with your audience is beneficial in more ways than one.

Defining social listening

Social listening is the number one tactic marketers used in social media marketing 2021, according to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing Report. But what is social listening exactly?

By definition, social listening involves both monitoring how your customers are interacting with you on social media and acting based on those interactions.

An example of social listening

For example, a follower on social media makes a comment that they’d love for you to be open longer hours on Saturdays. Several other followers “like” and “comment” in support of that notion.

Here’s where the concept of social listening comes in. Instead of noting all of that engagement as just numbers in your social metrics, you, as the business representative, respond and act based on what you’ve heard.

Maybe your response is that you’d love to be open longer on Saturdays, but your staff’s schedule right now won’t support it. Perhaps it’s that you plan to be open longer hours in the summer, but that during the winter your hours are more limited. Or maybe you heed the suggestion completely and adjust your business hours. The fact that you listened, responded and acted means that you are being a social listener.

Using social listening to connect with your audience

Social listening doesn’t always have to involve something as drastic as changing your operating hours, however. It can be as simple as acknowledging a customer’s comment on social media by responding back, which simply lets them know you’re there.

Communicating on the internet can sometimes feel like screaming into a void (and sometimes that’s what people use it for). For most of us, however, our time online can be made better by establishing some form of human connection. Using social listening to connect with your audience is a means of letting them know their opinions, concerns, suggestions and feedback are being seen and heard. This act of validation in turn paints your brand positively in their eyes.

Aside from that, you also want to know what people are saying about your brand! It’s a way for your team to gauge what you are doing well, how you could be doing better, and what customers expect from you as a business.

Listening to the competition

Keep in mind that social listening doesn’t only include paying attention to what your customers are saying about you and to you on social media. It also includes keeping tabs on your competitors. (No, not in a sneaky way!) “Listen” to what your competition is doing by following their social pages. Doing so can help you see how you compare—and in turn prompt you to strategize accordingly.


Social listening is not only a tool to help influence and guide your future marketing decisions, but also, it’s a means of bolstering trust among your brand followers. Using social listening to connect with your audience is a trend that’s becoming a standard as social media marketing evolves.

Want us to listen for you? That’s what we’re here for!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

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