Social Media Listening is an Incredible Marketing Resource, But Are Brands Taking Advantage of It?

Brands often use social media for marketing because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up getting them exposed to a wide range of consumers and boost engagement to higher levels. But are they really using social media to the fullest extent? Marketing is just one of the many things that brands can use social media for, and sometimes just reading what their customers are posting about them can be useful.

This process is known as social listening, and with all of that having been said and now out of the way it is important to note that it can be a great way for brands to get free consumer data. Customers often share opinions and perspectives on brands they recently worked with eagerly on social media, but in spite of the fact that this is the case around 39% of businesses currently don’t use social media listening as part of their overall marketing strategy.

This data comes from a report released by Meltwater in collaboration with Social Media Today. The findings of this report revealed that while only 61% of brands currently use social listening, about 82% said that they felt it was important and useful with all things having been considered and taken into account. That indicates that brands are maturing in their understanding of what they can get from social media, because this is a treasure trove of data that they would have otherwise had to pay a lot of money for.

As for what brands use social listening to understand, there are a lot of points of focus here. Around 21% of brands use social media listening to get an idea of how aware consumers are of their brand. An even greater number, or 32% to be precise, say that they use it to understand the sentiments that consumers have regarding them. The third most common use for social media listening is to understand current trends in the industry, with around 20% of brands using it for that purpose because that might help them create better products.

There are some other less popular but still relatively widespread uses for social listening by brands. These include competitive analysis of other companies in the niche, with around 9% of brands going for that, campaign analysis which is used by 8% of brands and crisis management which is a popular choice for 7% of brands that participated in this survey.

There are some problems that brands might face in their pursuit of social listening, though. The most widely cited obstacle by brands is time, with around 42% of brands agreeing that this was an issue. Other issues are almost equally troublesome though, including employee bandwidth which was cited by 40% of brands. Employees are overworked as it is, and adding social media listening to their list of tasks might push them over the edge. 39% of brands also cited data restrictions by platforms as an obstacle, with 32% also referring to cost related issues. 30% of brands felt that they lacked the necessary tools, and surprising 15% of brands said that they didn’t have enough system knowledge.

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