The Untapped Potential of Listening on Social Media

We choose from a variety of online communication options to manage our daily social interactions, many of which are provided by social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. On these platforms, social interaction has a whole new set of rules. United by hashtags and ‘news’ of things that ‘went viral’ or ‘broke the internet’, the entire world can be discussing one single thing.

Social media platforms have changed our lives in very real ways, and this is only even more so in business. As a result, transformations have taken place across multiple functions of organizations. Learning how to do ‘social customer care’ has become a fundamental necessity for every business, so much so that hardly any organization can do without it.

Businesses are mastering all the new doors that social media platforms have opened for them, but there is still much to explore. One such opportunity is the concept of social listening or the observing of opinions and discussions of the public. Social listening can create a potential goldmine of information for a business, but how do you tell which bits of information are helpful or relevant and which ones are just noise? Here are a few pointers:

Social Listening for Feedback

The genius in social listening lies in tapping the opportunity to gain insight from conversations your customers are having about you (and with you) in relatively unadulterated settings. In this way, social listening can help you take the pulse of user opinion, and advise customer service and social media campaigns.

Even the most prominent companies can find value in consumer input – Tesla was listening when a valuable product suggestion was made on Twitter, and were able to implement the change within a week of the tweet being posted. Meanwhile, Brian Chesky took a more direct approach when he publicly invited ideas for AirBnb’s 2017 roadmap on Twitter.

By studying opinions among customers and other consumers in your market on social media platforms, you can better understand what buyers want out of your product and where you can improve; and, if they need help, you can streamline their support experience by guiding them to the relevant self-service section.

Social Listening to Identify Opportunities

Social media makes it possible to be proactive in responding to customers who aren’t really expecting replies. Remember the popular story of Morton’s delivering steaks to the airport following a customer’s tweet? Or this one about Tommee Tippee manufacturing 500 discontinued sippy cups for Ben?

These public displays of customer affection may not be possible for every business, every customer or every day. Keeping an ear out on social media can help you find opportunities to do what you can, where it matters the most. And there’s a good chance your brand will be remembered for exemplary, FrOscar-worthy customer service for a good long while.

Over and above doing something special for your customers, social listening can also provide you with opportunities to tune into relevant conversations, convince prospects or proactively support customers.

Social Listening for Community-building

Social listening can help organizations find conversations or mentions on social media in which they can participate. Engaging in conversation about topics relevant to your organization can help build brand personality and reputation, improving recall, and identify influencers for social media marketing campaigns. They can foster a community around their product and brand, and network with external enthusiasts and experts. Analyzing sentiment on social media with respect to company releases and announcements can help you cultivate loyalty and advocacy. Social listening and analytics can further help you identify the right voice and tone to take on social media platforms; you only need to look at Wendy’s to see an example of how identifying a tone that works for you on social media can build your brand.


It’s important to note that listening on social media is more than just monitoring mentions for social customer care – ‘Monitoring sees the trees; listening views the forest.’ Understanding consumer sentiment, gathering feedback, community-building and stepping in to wow customers are just a few of the things you can do with social listening. It can keep you well-informed for strategic decision-making based on valuable data from a source that can no longer be ignored.

What answers does your business look for with social listening? Let us know in the comments below.


The potential of customer service horror stories to go viral on the internet via social media platforms is on the rise, and has been since 2009. Get ahead of the game with key insights from Freshdesk’s webinar on how offline experiences impact your business on social media. Sign up to the session on Winning at Social Customer Care today!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *