Jul 26 2022
There are a number of tools that you can use for social media listening. One of the best things about digital marketing is the sheer amount of information that you have access to at your fingertips. As you start listening, here are some places (like social media networks) and tools that you can use.
Google Search: Simply do a Google search and see what shows up. Google tries to show people the most relevant results based on what they’re looking for, so this can give you insights into what Google thinks is relevant.
Explore the first page of search results but also look at other types of results like news, maps, videos, and images to see additional content that is relevant to your search term.
Set up Google Alerts for your business and your competitors to be the first to know about related news. Go to alerts.google.com to set up your alert and get emailed when news or new results come up.
Google Trends: Google Trends (trends.google.com) allows you to see search data for specific categories, topics, or keywords. Trend data displays the trends over time and allows you to benchmark. Some studies have shown that search data can even be a proxy for market share, so seeing searches of your business relative to competitors can be insightful.
Google Keyword Tool: The Google Keyword Tool is available within Google Ads (ads.google.com). You need a Google Ad account to access it. This will show you search volume and competitiveness for search terms. This can be helpful to understand what people are looking for and the words and phrases they use.
Facebook: As one the largest social media networks, Facebook is a great place to listen. The challenge on Facebook is that most personal posts and groups are private, so you can only listen to Pages and public conversations.
A new feature in Facebook allows you to see all of the ads that your competitors are running. Simply go to their Page and click on Info and Ads on the left navigation and you can see all of their current ads.
Twitter: Twitter is still one of the top social media network and is heavily used by thought leaders and influencers. What makes Twitter a valuable place to listen is that most conversations are public. Twitter has great search capabilities and you can even search by location to get more specific insights.
Pinterest: 80% of the content on Pinterest is re-Pins – that means that someone shared something that they found interesting. On most other social networks, you find what brands want to post or the opinions people have. On Pinterest you can find what they share. It does tend to be overly female in users and the content is only visual, but you can get a lot of inspiration and insights.
Once you search for a term on Pinterest you’ll see categories below. Take note of the categories that Pinterest suggests for your search terms as these are the most common things that people search for and post about.
Instagram: Instagram is one of the social media networks that are big and growing, and many people still keep their accounts public, so you can gain a lot of insights from searching here. Search for relevant hashtags or explore accounts and followers of people relevant for your business.
The Instagram Explore page allows you to explore related content based on posts you’ve liked and people you follow. Be strategic about the posts and accounts you like, to discover other relevant content and people.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is highly relevant for business or professional topics. Almost all content on LinkedIn is public, making it a great place for research and searching. LinkedIn now also has searchable hashtags which can make content easier to find. Also consider groups as a way to search beyond profiles, pages, and status updates.
YouTube: Video content is among the most popular content online, and YouTube is, by far, the most popular video network. Searches on YouTube will show a variety of content, and looking at popular content can also provide a good source of creative inspiration.
Discussion Forums: Discussion Forums are often heavily used by interested communities. There are discussion forums for moms, car enthusiasts, marketers, doctors, lawyers and more. Discussions are also now taking place in Facebook groups. Many of these are private, but you can always request to join. There are also broader discussion forums like Reddit that cover a wide range of topics. Look for forums used by your target audience or where your products are discussed.
The News Sites
Industry-specific news sites or associations can also be good sources of information as these groups typically have their finger on the pulse of the industry.
In my 15 years of digital marketing experience working with clients across various industries this stage has always been where I’ve generated the most insight for my clients. What is always surprising is that they could (and should) be doing this as a part of marketing and business on an ongoing basis, but most of us are so busy with daily tasks, that we don’t step back often enough.
This is an excerpt of Krista Neher’s best-selling book, “Digital Marketing That Actually Works”. available on
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