Marketing, Social Media

How to launch a social listening strategy (tools and best practices)

What honest opinions are people giving about your brand when they think you aren’t paying attention? Social listening can help you find out. Read this blog post to learn more.

Social listening is the practice of monitoring what people are saying about your brand on social media. It’s a helpful market research tactic for learning what others think of your brand, and your products, so you can improve customer perception and sales.

For example, if many buyers have praised your same-day delivery service, this might be something to promote more in your marketing material.

In contrast, if many customers have reported a design flaw in one of your products, you’d know this and can work on improving it for future customers.

As for how to do social listening, one commonly used approach is to search for your brand name on various social platforms manually. However, there are specialized social media listening tools that make the effort a lot easier.

Let’s explore what some of these tools are, and social listening best practices to adopt, as you put together your own social listening strategy.


Awario is a social listening tool that scours the Web for the keywords you want to monitor.

Such keywords can be those for your brand name or products. They can even be your competitors’ names if you want to track discussions on your rivals!

If you sell to multilingual customers or have an international presence, you’ll like how Awario can track mentions in different languages and locations. It also provides reports for charting the number of mentions you get from various sources over time.

Apart from that, Awario can summarize new mentions in daily or weekly emails. This way, you don’t have to constantly log into the platform to see who has recently talked about you online.

Awario offers a free 7-day trial where you can get up to 30,000 mentions for free, so give it a spin to decide if it meets your needs.


Brand24 is another social listening tool worth looking into. Fill out the keywords you want to track online, and it’ll start categorizing your mentions into detailed reports.

For example, you can get data on:

  • The number of mentions you’ve gotten (from both social and non-social sources)
  • The number of likes your content has gained on social media
  • The users talking about your brand, and the extent of influence they have in your industry

Apart from tracking the number of mentions your brand has received, Brand24 also uses sentiment analysis algorithms to detect whether a particular mention of your brand is positive or negative.

You can plot these positive or negative sentiments in a graph to assess whether customer perception of your brand is trending upward or downward.

Similar to Awario, Brand24 lets you test all its features for free in a 14-day trial.

3 social listening best practices to adopt, with examples

After finding out what others are saying about your brand, what can you do next?

Try the three best practices listed below. We’ve also included relevant social listening examples to illustrate what we mean.

Don’t just be a passive eavesdropper on others’ social media conversations. Join in wherever you can!

Doing so, you’ll establish yourself as a brand that actively engages its customers, regardless of whether these customers are saying good or bad things about you.

(In fact, taking such initiative may be vital for salvaging your brand image if customers are slamming your product.)

You may also even be able to gain more brand awareness and customer goodwill for your brand!

Our favorite example of this involves Meta’s recent announcement that Instagram users can now add up to five links to their profiles.

This is a terrible development for “link in bio” platforms like Linktree, whose livelihoods depend on helping users add multiple links to their profiles.

But Linktree merely responded to the news with this tweet mocking Meta for using a Linktree link in its own Instagram profile:

Linktree’s tweet was viewed over 807K times, not including mentions in other press articles like this one.

Well played, Linktree, well played.

2. Respond to user comments

Another way of engaging with the chatter going on around you is to respond to the users making them.

This method of authentic social media marketing is effective because you’re seizing the opportunity to address your users’ questions or concerns directly.

And since the conversation is happening in a public space, others can follow the discussion and can have their own similar issues clarified—even if they hadn’t posted them publicly.

Just take this Reddit thread, where a user was seeking recommendations on podcast hosting platforms that allow users to host multiple podcasts from one account.

A Redditor replied to recommend as a possible platform. They also mentioned that Transistor’s cofounder is an active Reddit member.

And right on schedule, that cofounder, Justin Jackson (who goes by @spankymustard on Reddit), replied to confirm that allows users to host multiple podcasts from a single account!

3. Spotlight your customers’ testimonials

Finally, if your customers have been heaping praises on your products and services, be sure to show these off on your own social media accounts!

Featuring such user-generated content is an easy way of fostering a vibrant social media presence as you don’t have to create new content from scratch.

Also, when your followers see such genuine testimonials and endorsements of your brand, they may be interested in checking out—and maybe even buying—your products and services for themselves!

Finance expert Ramit Sethi is a whiz at executing this tactic.

Browse his Twitter and Instagram accounts, and you’ll regularly see him posting messages from users who have benefited from his book and course material.

Here’s one such example of him publicizing user testimonials on Twitter:

Listen in to learn how to grow your business

One beauty of social media is that the discussions never stop.

At any time of the day and night, people are talking about their favorite products, recently discovered store finds, the poor service they received at a certain restaurant…the list goes on.

Could a handful of these people be talking about your business, too? What are they saying?

There’s only one way to find out—which is to implement a social listening strategy for diving into these conversations.

Listen in to what people are saying, identify the learning points from them, then use such valuable insights to improve your brand offerings.

You can also browse the Gradient blog for more resources on improving your small business marketing efforts!