Social Listening: Getting to know customers or cyber stalking?

Are you listening? People are talking about you!

Companies have begun to dive into the emerging trend of social listening. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, for many, we have come to a stage where we cannot go an hour without checking one or more of our social media accounts and posting information of relevance about ourselves. I Know myself can be counted as one of these culprits and organisations around the world are taking advantage of this. Social media has changed the way companies do business.

What is social listening you may ask?

According to Brandwatch it is the act of taking note and identifying what is being said about your company, product or brand across the internet.

By actively listening for mentions or negotiations, you can make sure that you don’t miss out on the chance to satisfy customers or gather valuable feedback. To accomplish this, Sprout Social state that you must ensure you are tracking all variations of your brands name, with and without the @ symbol.

Tools that companies are using,

Customers are being monitored by companies all across the internet in order to know and understand what they are saying about them. This is done through the use of a selection of tools. The Social Media Examiner has compiled a list of some of the best listening tools available, they range from, Social Mention to Talkwalker, Topsy and Hootsuit.

Through researching and reading about social listening there are both positive and negatives to monitoring people on social for commercial purposes. However, as a marketing student I believe that there are ample added benefits to the power of social listening.

Benefits of Social Listening –

Business2Community, mentions how it enables companies to spot trends, identify what consumers are saying about your brand, what consumers are doing online, understand what social media platforms your target audience hang out on, identify people to target future content towards, find sale opportunities and it also allows for re-marketing. Re-marketing enables companies to understand what their targeted customers are doing, apprehend their behaviour and therefore TARGET them with relevant material.

Many people believe that the advert that has popped up on their side bar relating to the product that they were just searching is coincidental, but it’s not. Social media listening enables companies to see the certain things that people were searching for and therefore target them with specific and relatable marketable advertising in order to grab their attention and gain greater sales. Clever I know! It’s not regarded as stalking, it’s just smart marketing.

But is it ethical?

Some customers believe that if they post content online, it is expected that social sites won’t use them, when in fact for the vast majority of the time, the minute you press post it’s public. Users feel that they have an implied right of privacy but privacy on the internet is almost a thing of the past.

Jennifer Golbeck, speaks about how Target sent a flyer to a young girl’s home with advertisements about baby bottles and nappy’s 2 weeks before she had even told her parents she was pregnant. They were able to find out that information through the material she had provided online but was this too far? This displays the capabilities that companies can gain through the use of social listening at the moment but they also need to know at what point to stop and allow the user to retain control.

Eli Pariser also mentions in his TedTalk, how the internet is using our behaviour to target us with things. He states “It’s providing us with information with what it thinks we want to see not what we need to see”.

These talks enhance our knowledge on the power of social media listening but are many companies sticking to the online code of ethics?

According to EphMRA “researchers are bound by the terms and conditions attached to access of the online services”. Therefore, many online social media services include intellectual property rights. However consent for listening must also be included and if not, it’s free for all, companies can read and summarise the content. Many companies are taking advantage of it and using it to their marketing advantage.


In my opinion social media listening is essential for companies, so that they can keep up-to-date and track what’s being said about them online. It can also help them to do better than their competitors.

Until next time,






Top 5 tips for a brilliant blog post

If you’re reading this, then I bet you’re thinking of taking your very own path down blogging lane? Do it! It’s brilliant and I’ve put together some of my top tips to get you right on your way!

Blogging has been around for a while, but has only just recently taken off in popularity. My aim is to help you join this new trend. Merriam-Webster says that blogging is an online site, “on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences”. Blogging is booming! To mention but a few, Suzanne Jackson, Charlie Lyne and Lilly Higgins are bloggers that I myself follow and take inspiration from on how to make blogging brilliant.

These five tips can provide you with the platform to be able to tap away on your computer and create your own original and interesting blog on; topical conversations, things that are of interest to you, food, fashion or films, or interesting content that your audience (otherwise known as followers) are looking for.

1. Engage with your followers and get them involved

This tip for me, is one of the most important! People love to be included within the topic of conversation whether it be through answering questions, competitions or expressing their opinion in a comment. According to Mashable, it’s a great way for bloggers to gain instant likes and increase engagement with the brand. So ask questions, get them to discuss their feelings and experiences or ask them to complete a survey before they read the blog to get them thinking first.

Allie Lewis states that by engaging with your audience, ”They will realize that they are important to you and you value them, making them more likely to remain happy with your company”.

2. Planning is KEY 

Planning in all aspects of life is essential, but it’s especially useful for blogging. Know what you want to write about and plan it first! Yes, original thoughts and spur of the moment writing are key but always plan the topic of conversation beforehand. You don’t want your blog taking up every minute and hour of your day and it will, if you’re not organised! Alexandra Sky reminds her readers to ”plan accordingly. Just like a magazine”.


3. Be yourself, be legit!

TechCruch state that you should be yourself, and trust me, people will listen if you do. Don’t try to be too techy, people are smart, they’ll know if it’s not the real you. Show your followers your point of view through your personality, passion and enthusiasm and if they appreciate it, excellent!  By doing this it allows you to become relatable. Post what you and your followers want to read, not what you think will please others. So show people the real interesting you!


4. WELCOME negative comments 

If people are reacting to your posts, positively or on occasion negatively, then congrats, be proud, you’ve created a successful blog post! For first time bloggers, a single negative comment can knock you back a step, but according to Image, it’s important to ”know how to handle them” and keep on writing. The vast majority of your followers will react positively but remember, not every reader is going to completely agree with what you have to say. Alternative points of view challenge our thinking and promote further debate on a blog post which should be welcomed. However, if you are receiving constant negative comments from a single person (known as a troll) don’t worry they can be blocked! Keep going for those who enjoy your work.




5. Create usable content 

Remember, Social Media Today and Usability Geek mention that, a lot of your followers will, use, listen or share your content, if it is ”directly relevant to their interests” or they are able to learn something from it. For example, if you have a blog about fashion, then your followers may come to you for the latest fashion fixes or trends. Provide them with what they are looking for. Let them know where they can purchase certain products, or inform them of this seasons fashion disasters. You will thrive, if your content solves certain needs or gives followers knowledge about a subject.

Trust me, if you utilize these tips, you will not only create large amounts of traffic towards your blog but it will enable you to develop relationships with your followers. Give it a go!

Best of luck and happy blogging,