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What is social listening? An easy guide to plan your actions

Nowadays brands can listen to their consumers and fans over the Internet via social listening on several digital platforms.

What is social listening?

Social listening refers to the activity of brands regarding monitoring social media and web channels to collect and analyse key marketing insights. This includes data and information which can play a key role in both marketing areas:

  • On one hand, it monitors traditional marketing insights such as customer satisfaction, sentiment and trust analyses for brands and how to keep up with the competition;
  • On the other hand, it also monitors digital marketing factors like the mentions of the brand on social media or websites and gives insights related to specific keywords which connect the brand with users - and so potential customers - from an SEO point of view.

Thus, social listening represents a very important element for brands to leverage for business growth in a smart way, by understanding customers' online feedback, whether positive or negative, collecting precious data to enhance marketing performance and learning key information about how to take the lead of the market, especially regarding the digital channels. Clearly, this applies above all on social media, taking into account different categories of posts, contents and interactions.

Social listening for fashion brands: from social media to connected products

Social listening is relevant for all businesses, but fashion brands are surely among those which can get the best from it and make it a big aspect of their own strategies.

In fact, more than in any other sector, companies working in fashion have a strong connection with everything related to social media and web content creation and this, of course, creates the possibility to collect in-depth insights directly from users and consumers. But it’s not only about monitoring social media from a classic perspective.

Indeed, nowadays there’s one more companion technology which can do its job in social listening, especially leveraging consumers engagement: we’re talking about connected products. Simply by scanning a digital marker or tag on the product with a smartphone, brands can engage their customers in a brand-new shopping experience. Creating an opportunity to invite consumers to post reviews, ratings, feedback and socially share their experiences of the product. Connected products provide an opportunity to increase user generated content or drive better ROI of influencer campaigns.

social listening

Basic social listening: listen and learn starting from the audience of people who follow a brand on social media platforms.

Deep social listening: helps brands analyse users’ reactions to certain topics and posts within a longer period of time.


The main types of social listening for brands

There are two main types of social listening for brands, which affect different aspects and different levels of the relationship between a company and its consumers and fans on social media, or anyway all over the Internet. The two types are basic social listening and deep social listening. Let’s check them out.

Basic social listening

Basic social listening refers to the activities aiming to listen and learn starting from the audience of people who follow a brand on social media platforms, interacting with content and engaging with the company's online communication.

One of the simplest ways to start basic social listening is by proposing a specific question or asking for specific feedback about a topic, throughout all the brand’s social media channels. By checking and analysing the answers, it is possible to learn how customers relate to specific topics and make it easier for the company to know how to enhance reputation, trust and loyalty.

However, data provided from basic social listening activities are quite simple and don’t provide much detail, making it hard to classify an audience of followers and potential customers, when only starting from a reaction to a single question or content. 

Deep social listening

On the other hand, deep social listening helps brands to monitor and analyse how users react to certain topics and posts within a longer period of time, so considering a large variety of content and learning what are the most effective and engaging ones.

Moreover, this kind of listening makes it easier to discover and explore a lot of online conversations where, through mentions or hashtags, brands and their competitors can be involved directly in the dialogue among consumers. This represents a great path to follow for companies looking for pure insights directly from customers, the best source of information for studying what concerns the market.

Combining the results of basic and deep social listening, companies can have a complete scenario related to their followers and, in general, to the audience which surrounds the brand in the online environment, which nowadays is absolutely key to success and building a solid presence as a brand. 

How to understand social listening

Therefore, to understand social listening indeed means to understand the audience of followers and consumers around the brand on the Internet. It includes:

  • Monitoring social media channels and websites;
  • Tracking information and results from users interactions;
  • Gathering and analysing data through specific social listening tools, which are essential to allow companies to eventually generate an in-depth prospect dividing the audience into real market segments.

The possible role of AI in social listening

The ultimate tech companion for companies willing to leverage social listening is artificial intelligence. In fact, AI tools are capable of monitoring social media accounts and activities, through algorithms and specific technologies making them able to read and understand texts and even pictures, recognising if, when and where a brand or its product and services are involved in the conversations.

This could help brands a lot, especially for what concerns the constant study of brand reputation and customer satisfaction and even to contrast online counterfeiting. The latter is a very serious problem especially for luxury fashion industry, considering a worldwide business around $3 trillion at the end of 2022.

04 May 2023

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