Small Business

Getting started with social media listening

Written by Helen Irias

What is Social Media Listening?

Also known as social media monitoring, this is the process of identifying and tracking conversations happening on social media about a brand, product or service, in order to respond promptly when information or support is needed. Customers can (and do) speak freely about their experiences with other customers on social channels, so to get new customers and keep them coming back, businesses need to join these conversations in real-time.

social media listening using mobile

Where to start with Social Media Listening

When’s the best time to start? Now. Whether you’re just getting started on social channels or you’ve been online for years, the sooner you tune into the buzz, the better.

The unpredictable, light-speed world of social media might seem overwhelming. Not everyone talking about your brand will tag you in their post, so how do you filter through the noise? To minimize chaos, use keyword-based social media listening. First you should develop a basic understanding of the keywords surrounding your business and your industry. A great tool for mapping out keywords is Google’s Keyword planner.

Social Media Listening Essentials

Besides keywords, what key topics should you focus on? These may seem obvious, but you can’t leave any of them out:

  • Brand mentions
  • Niche market
  • Competitors
  • Customers
  • Hashtags

Use these as a starting point. As you start listening, you might discover other critical areas to add to the list.

Benefits of Social Media Listening

So you’re taking all this time to consistently monitor these endless streams of chatter. What do you get out of it? Here are a few benefits of basic social media listening:

  1. Demonstrate thought leadership by sharing expert knowledge when it’s needed and appropriate
  2. Spot emerging customer satisfaction trends and flag potential pain points
  3. Identify frequently asked customer questions
  4. Discover which sites your customers and your competitors’ customers are most active on. Are they the same? Could you benefit from building a stronger presence on any of them?
  5. Find influencers in your niche market. Check out their audiences.
  6. Keep an eye on existing competitors. What terms are their customers using?
  7. Discover new competitors
  8. Learn where you rank, both locally and in your industry
  9. Boost traffic to your company website
  10. Share company videos, blog posts, and other resources in your responses when helpful and appropriate
  11. Build trust with regular customer engagement
  12. Establish brand identity: keep your voice, values, and mission clear and consistent
  13. Pinpoint areas in your business operations that could use improvement
  14. Retain customers with proactive customer service
  15. Recruit and hire people that fit in well with your brand values
  16. Plan future content based on high-engagement conversations
  17. Find engaging User Generated Content that your brand hasn’t been tagged in
  18. Discover sales opportunities
  19. Prevent negative reviews by jumping into discussions before problems escalate
  20. Identify where a need exists that your brand could satisfy


Your ticket to tracking

Several tools let you take social media listening even further. BirdEye’s Social Ticketing feature lets you not only track all your company’s relevant social mentions in real-time, but also convert mentions into support tickets. You can assign tickets to specific employees and track their resolution time to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.Keeping tabs on individual conversations is crucial, but what about underlying satisfaction trends across all commentary? BirdEye also runs Natural Language Processing (NLP) on social media mentions, turning mountains of feedback into clear insights. This way, you can track sentiment around categories, topics, and specific keywords, then zoom in on the root cause driving this sentiment.

Tips on getting started with social media listening

BirdEye gives you access to your competitors’ NLP insights as well so you can know your entire market and stay ahead of the game.

Equipped with the right tools, strategy, and mindset, you can use social media listening to easily turn your social presence into your competitive advantage.

Learn more about BirdEye’s Social Listening, Social Ticketing, and Business Insights.


About BirdEye

With BirdEye, it’s easier than ever to get new authentic customer reviews, building trust that leads to more sales. In today’s reputation economy, BirdEye provides the eyes, ears and algorithms necessary to create the five-star customer experiences that keep your business at the top.

Want to see it in action? Visit To learn more, go to or call toll-free #1-800-561-3357. Follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

About the author

Helen Irias

Helen is a Product Marketing Manager at BirdEye and a reputation management and customer experience expert.

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