Social media has become a platform for people to share their thoughts and opinions, especially when it comes to brands, and what they thought of their experience with them. The insights you can gather about prospective customers and competitors through social media monitoring is invaluable for businesses.

For example, you can utilise the data to track advertising effectiveness, identify potential customers, improve customer service and more.

In this blog post, we cover 14 ways that your business can utilise social media monitoring to listen and engage with your audience on social media.

Why use social media monitoring?

Social media monitoring involves keeping an eye on your brand’s online mentions. It’s not just about the direct mentions or comments you receive on your posts. It extends out to those posts that write about your brand without tagging you.

These posts will not appear in your regular notifications feeds, which is why it’s important to set up monitoring tools.

What’s the difference between social monitoring and social listening?

Before we go any further, it’s worth noting the difference between social media monitoring and social listening.

Social media monitoring essentially refers to the tools/ systems used to collect and notify you of the keywords you are tracking. Whilst social media listening refers to how you interpret and respond/ action to the data received. You are investigating what’s being said about your brand during online conversations to learn, explore and question insights to become more informed about your customer base and industry.

Our social media dashboard can notify you whenever you are mentioned online (social monitoring) allowing you to take action with a quick response (social listening).

The benefits of social media listening

Social media listening is more than just tracking your brand on social media. What you decide to monitor for, whether it be competitor activity, the communications surrounding an upcoming event, or simply what’s being said about your brand, depends on your goals and the data you’re looking to capture and therefore action.

The right tools will allow you to use social media listening across your business to gather feedback, collect enquires, identify opportunities, shape social media strategies and much more.

According to Sprout’s Index Report 2019:

  • 59% of consumers reach out to brands on social because they had a great experience
  • 47% of consumers reach out to brands on social because they have a product or service question
  • 40% of consumers reach out to brands on social because they had a bad experience

Now let’s see how you can use social media monitoring and listen to your advantage.

14 Ways to listen and engage on social media

Here are 14 ways to monitor and listen to customers on social media, covering the following:

  • Finding relevant brand mentions
  • Responding to positive and negative mentions
  • Using social media to generate leads
  • Finding industry-relevant content

Finding relevant brand mentions

By using social media monitoring to track only mentions of the brand name, you’re missing out on golden opportunities to interact with prospective customers. Here are a few ways you can extend your search.

1. Monitor without the @ symbol

When mentioning brands on Twitter, users can often forget to tag profiles by using the @ symbol. When setting up a keyword monitor on a social media monitoring tool, ensure you are checking for mentions with and without the @ symbol. For example ‘Nike and ‘@Nike’.

2. Check for misspellings

It’s so easy to mistype words, even with auto-correct! You should be monitoring for misspellings and add these to your social media monitoring tool. For example ‘Flickr’ (correct) and ‘Flicker’ (incorrect).

3. Monitor your domain

Monitoring domains is something a lot of brands forget to do. This is similar to misspellings in the sense the way your domain is mentioned, with or without www. for example. It’s definitely worth monitoring for both variations. You may also want to check for the suffix too, i.e. ‘.com’, ‘’ etc. This is especially beneficial as by force of habit many may include ‘’ or ‘.com’ for a school without knowing your site ends in ‘.org’ or ‘’.

4. Track mentions of specific hashtags

It’s become popular for brands to have hashtags that are specific to them and their offering, for themselves and customers to use across social media. Monitoring these hashtags will pull through mentions of other users facilitating these hashtags within their own posts. A social media monitoring tool is able to pull through these mentions, where you can engage further with these users.

Responding to positive and negative mentions

Although we’d like to think all our mentions are positive, there can be times when brands encounter negative mentions. Use a social media monitoring tool to engage with people and provide a complete customer experience based on the sentiment of their feedback.

5. Reward positive mentions

Pull mentions for ‘your brand’s name’ plus ‘love’ or ‘great’ or ‘fantastic’ to find positive mentions. For example, ‘Samsung+love’ or ‘Samsung+great’. You can use the smiling face ‘:)’ or ‘:-)’ to generate returns. Interact with those who have left a positive review, as research has shown that 83% of people who sent a Tweet to a brand and received a response felt better about the company and were more likely to do business with them.

6. Turn a negative into a positive

Likewise, you should monitor for negative mentions with words such as ‘poor’ or ‘bad’. Sad face emoticons ‘:(‘ or ‘:-(‘ will also pull through. Social media monitoring tools can also pull through mentions with punctuation symbols such as ‘?’ and ‘!’. Tip: remember to separate these when searching i.e. ‘Shareable !’.
When responding to a negative comment, it’s important to:

  • Respond in a timely manner
  • Take the conversation offline (i.e. ask for a contact number where you can speak with the customer directly)
  • Personalise your message
  • Don’t offer the same generic response for every comment.

Using social media to generate leads

Social media monitoring and listening are excellent ways to create new leads for your business. Take a look at these methods.

7. Monitor for search queries and recommendations

Social media has become an avenue for users to ask fellow friends and followers for recommendations. It has been identified that 1 in 3 people on Facebook uses the platform to search for recommendations and reviews. Add qualifying words such as ‘anyone’, ‘recommend’, ‘suggest’ to your keyword searches to see if there are people searching for services or product that you offer. “Can anyone recommend a cleaning service in Essex?”

8. Monitor competitors and their customers

It’s good practice to monitor your competitors to see what they’re doing, how they’re performing and just generally how their customers respond to them on Twitter. Social media monitoring allows you to see what sort of posts your competitors are generating and the level of engagement they are generating. It’s also worth monitoring competitors to see if they do anything differently that could be adapted to your social media strategy.

9. Monitor locations

This is particularly valuable if your business is local and operates in specific locations. For example, an independent tree surgeon might monitor for ‘tree surgeon + Hertfordshire’. Jump on potential leads or even engage with events in the local area.

10. Discover social influencers

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular due to the authenticity it brings to the content. Find social influencers and thought leaders through monitoring and upon analysing your results, you’ll notice recurring names of those that talk widely about the industry and its various topics, and these generate a lot of comments and shares.
Connect with them and start to build a relationship, and maybe they’ll mention your school on their social profiles.

Finding industry relevant content

You can use a social media monitoring tool to discover content related to the independent school industry. Sharing and curating industry-relevant content helps to position and strengthen your school’s presence.

11. Monitor key phrases and words that describe your industry

For example, a school may monitor for the keyword ‘independent schools’, but develop this further with phrases like ‘independent boarding schools’ or ‘independent day schools’.

12. Monitor key phrases and words that are relevant to the industry

If there are particular topics or trends associated with your business, monitor these too to identify who else is talking about them online.

13. Monitor for frequently used industry hashtags

Tools such as Hashtagify can find the most popular hashtags relating to a keyphrase sector. For example, using #weddingflowers produced the following results:

14. Find shareable content

Add specific terms like ‘infographic’ or ‘case study’ to your keyword searches to find shareable content to curate and share with your audience.

Final thoughts

Social media monitoring provides brands with the opportunity to track their online presence, competitors and key industry terms that can help keep them ahead of the game. Applying social listening skills will allow you to respond quickly and effectively to these mentions, adding to your brand’s reputation.

Are you currently using social media monitoring to maximise your businesses presence? If not, at Shareable we have developed our own social media monitoring tool. Find out more here.