Whether you’re trying to figure out how to position your brand or you’re iterating on a product that has already gone to market, listening to the market is absolutely key.

That’s where social listening comes in handy. This marketing technique makes it possible for your team to make important decisions on brand positioning, product development, and more. 

💡 Read Social Listening Guide: Proven Hacks, Strategies, and Tools

In this article, we’re going to review some inspiring social listening examples. Before we dive in, let’s review what social listening is and a few social listening best practices.

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is a marketing technique that involves using feedback from conversations among your target audience. Brands can gather this information by observing online conversations, chatting with customers, or by adding social listening tools (like Determ) to their tech stack. 

The purpose of social listening is to understand your industry’s needs so you can make informed decisions for your brand. 

This intel is extremely valuable for marketers and PR specialists who are trying to figure out how to position the brand and best reach the target audience. It can help with everything from informing marketing strategies to developing a brand voice that resonates with your prospective customers.

It can also help you identify white space to create new products or take feedback on current products to make them better. In other words, social listening can improve your bottom line. 

4 Social Listening Best Practices 

There are a variety of techniques that you can use to implement social listening. Let’s review some social listening strategies and best practices. 

1. Join Conversations on Social Media

First and foremost, you need to stay involved in conversations on social media that are relevant to your industry and your brand. At the very least, you should respond to posts and comments that mention your brand.

Here’s a great example from Nike, where they answer a question about a certain style of sneaker:

However, you can take this a step further by jumping into conversations across social media channels (along with the conversations that you’re not tagged in). You can do this by following other professionals and organizations (known as social monitoring) within your industry and creating conversations in threads that are relevant to your business.

Jeremy Moser, CEO of uSERP, does this particularly well on LinkedIn. 

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2. Read Reviews

Don’t underestimate the power of reading customer reviews as a great social listening technique. Why? It tells you exactly what a customer likes and dislikes about a product.

Not only should you read reviews on your product, but you should also check out reviews of products from similar brands. Use this competitor analysis technique to determine opportunities and vulnerabilities in your market. 

When reading reviews, paying attention to both the positive and negative aspects is important. As much as you want to tune out negative comments, the best feedback lies within these harsh words. 

For example, these reviews for a faux olive tree from Wayfair indicate that Wayfair should retake product photos to prevent misleading expectations. 

Negative wayfair customer reviews.
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At the end of the day, listening to both types of feedback will help you ‌shape your business decisions. You’ll learn what’s working and where you need to improve. 

3. Turn on Google Alerts

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Google Alerts is a tool from Google that notifies you whenever your selected keywords are mentioned on the internet. This tool can track your branded, industry, and competitors’ branded keywords.

Let Google do the work for you and send your instant alerts and valuable insights into potential and existing customers’ needs, preferences, and challenges. You’ll stay in the know by actively monitoring and analyzing conversations, trends, and mentions across the internet.

And the best part? It’s a free tool to spearhead your social listening campaigns

Read Google Alerts: 6 Key Things You Should Know in 2023

4. Attend In-Person Events

When in doubt, find out where your target audience is hanging out offline. Some valuable in-person events include conferences, seminars, networking mixers, and tradeshows.

For example, if you offer a data analytics service or software, you could practice social listening by attending data science conferences, where you can learn from the latest research and insights on data analytics and data science. 

These conferences also allow you to showcase your products and services and connect with potential partners and customers. It’s a win-win. 

5 Great Social Listening Examples

Now that you’re more familiar with some of the best practices for social listening, let’s check out some brands that knock their social listening game out of the park. 

1. SoFi

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SoFi, a leading personal finance company, has tapped into the power of social listening to shape its customer engagement strategy. 

The company, which provides student loan refinancing and other financial services, regularly monitors online conversations to understand customers’ needs, concerns, and expectations.

Through social listening techniques, SoFi unlocked a recurring theme that helped establish its foothold in a competitive niche. 

What did they find? Consumers were overwhelmed by the complexity of student loans. People desperately sought advice on navigating their finances, and SoFi jumped on this opportunity to change the narrative. 

So what did they do? SoFi proactively developed and distributed, easy-to-understand educational content that detailed the steps to refinance student loans. This content answers questions that often go unanswered in public forums.

Pillar page for SoFi's student loan help center.
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By doing this, SoFi has positioned itself as a trustworthy, go-to resource for personal finance, demystifying a process many find daunting.

The results were immediately tangible. SoFi’s efforts led to engaged conversations, customer trust, and service satisfaction. Their attentive approach turned challenges into opportunities, creating a clear win-win situation.

And today, SoFi has over 6 million members and helped them pay off $34 billion in debt. Well, done!

2. Clean Origin

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For jewelry brands that specialize in diamond engagement rings, like Clean Origin, social listening is an invaluable tool that can make all the difference in achieving unparalleled success in a market where consumer tastes vary significantly.

Simply put, engagement rings are very personal and customized to the unique likes of the couple. On top of that, jewelry companies are also battling the ever-changing trends in the fashion world. 

So for these brands, embracing social listening offers many benefits that can elevate their marketing campaigns and product offerings. And here’s how Clean Origin shines bright (pun intended) in this arena:

Understanding customer preferences

Social listening allows Clean Origin to gain deep insights into its target audience’s preferences, tastes, and desires. 

By tracking conversations and mentions related to lab-grown diamond engagement rings, Clean Origin stays on top of trends and patterns, enabling them to tailor their offerings to match what their potential customers seek on social platforms.  

And look at the growth of this industry over the past five years. There’s a lot to keep up with! 

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Responding to customer feedback

Social listening empowers Clean Origin to respond promptly to customer feedback and concerns. Whether it’s addressing queries, complaints, or praise, timely responses demonstrate attentiveness and dedication to customer satisfaction, fostering a positive brand reputation.

For example, Clean Origin pinned a tweet on their profile and thanked the publication after a wonderful mention on Insider. 

Tracking industry trends

Keeping a close eye on social media conversations (thanks to social media monitoring tools) Clean Origin stays up-to-date with industry trends. This knowledge positions them to adapt swiftly, innovate their designs, and offer the latest styles that resonate with their audience. 

Here, Clean Origin shares a detailed timeline of engagement ring diamond shapes among celebrities with its social media users. This showcases their knowledge of how the industry has evolved over time and what the top three most popular diamond cuts are today. 

Clean Origin industry trend analysis.
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3. Netflix

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Another inspiring social listening example is how Netflix uses customer feedback to improve its service and content. Netflix monitors social media platforms, blogs, forums, and review sites to understand what users want, like, and dislike about movies and TV shows. 

Netflix also uses Oauth, an open standard for authorization, to allow users to sign in with their existing accounts on other platforms, such as Facebook or Google. This way, Netflix can access user data and preferences from those platforms and tailor its recommendations accordingly. 

This algorithm makes it easier for users to share their Netflix activity and opinions on social media, creating more engagement and word-of-mouth marketing for the streaming service. 

4. Hers

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Hers is a women’s telehealth brand dedicated to solving women’s mental and physical health issues. They’re changing the narrative by creating educational content on taboo subjects and providing real resources to help people affected by these issues.

For example, Hers has considered the stigma of mental health issues and the lack of accessibility to appropriate resources. They create content on hair health, treatment options for depression, and the like. They even clear up confusion on topics like whether you should take Adderall for anxiety and what the best skincare products are. 

Since the topics Hers is covering are often quite serious and teeter on the borderline of medical advice, they’re held to a higher standard in terms of accuracy. They also have a responsibility to handle these sensitive subjects with delicacy.

Social listening equips this brand to navigate with the grace and gravity expected of them. In turn, they’re equipped to incorporate the following practices into their brand positioning:

  • Ethical marketing practices: Providing accurate and transparent information about their products, intended use, potential side effects, and the importance of consulting qualified healthcare professionals for personalized advice.
  • Ensuring safe usage: Taking the steps to educate their audience on the appropriate usage, dosage, and potential interactions of their products. 
  • Transparency in communication: Being honest about the benefits and limitations of their offerings and any potential challenges associated with their usage.

The result? Happy customers who love and trust their products.

Hers user-generated content.
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5. Agent Advice

Screenshot of Agent Advice homepage.
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We mentioned before how important it is to turn on Google Alerts for your branded keywords. One notable example of a platform that uses this is Agent Advice. This business teaches agents how to get leads in real estate, so they use Google Alerts to stay on the pulse of trends in the industry.

Through Google Alerts, they have honed in on trends and discussions surrounding “realtor lead generation,” “real estate website trends,” “real estate CRMs,” and so forth, enabling them to engage proactively and provide valuable insights to their community.

Whenever those key phrases are mentioned online, they receive an email with a link to the article or social media post. Later, they use the information to develop in-depth answers in podcasts, listicles, or skyscraper articles. 

This way, agents can access reviews and insights from actual professionals in the field, enabling them to make informed decisions and optimize their lead-generation strategies. Genius, right?

Read 5 Proven Methods to Find Leads Using Social Listening

Final Thoughts

Social listening is a great technique for gathering the information you need to decide how to position your brand. Typically, social listening efforts are completely free, making them accessible to brands of any size and on any budget.

But if you want to take it up a notch (and stand above the competition), turn to the power of Determ. Backed by AI, you can take your media monitoring to the next level by tracking, measuring, and creating custom reports about your media presence.

So how will you leverage social listening for your marketing and PR efforts?

To your success! 

Emily Krings is an SEO content writer and strategist with a knack for storytelling. She specializes in helping B2B businesses create blog content that connects with their audiences.

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