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why now is the time to practice social listening

Why Now Is the Time to Practice Social Listening

Khalipha Ntloko

Mar 26, 2020

Quarantined. Stuck. Isolated. It’s very likely that you are at home reading this right now – perhaps working from home or adapting to new ways of living. Your only outlet to communicate and be a part of society? Social media, Zoom, Slack… the list goes on. The audience of thousands of small businesses and large brands are all in one place — online.

hand on mobile phone

It may seem strange that in times of a crisis, brands genuinely think that the consumers want to hear from them, that consumers are actively interested to know what the CEO wanted to say. Perhaps there may be nothing wrong with informing your customers on what comes next in these times, but the PR template you should be using needs to be personalised instead of something generic with the same tone, same rhetoric and basic action plan.

It is times like this where the point of view for consumers has shifted. They are now looking at the world with a far more sensitive lens, and the world is moving from a want-and-needs mentality to only needs. What does your consumer need for themselves or their family so they can be OK? Not “should I buy a new mattress, it’s an excellent price.” If only brands could act like everything is business as usual. If only campaign launches your agencies and staff had been working on for months could go on. But, this is not the case.

At a time when the world is living day to day, trying to stay up-to-date on an ever-evolving situation while also trying to remain hopeful, this is also the time that you could choose to talk, or you could choose to listen. You need to listen.

Reading Tip: Does Working From Home Work for PR and Marketing Agencies?

Don’t Talk at Them

Brands and businesses have the opportunity to use this time to gain better audience insights and see what their consumer genuinely needs. How are they feeling? What are their pain points now? Are they using your brand or service in a new way due to their current situation?

You need to start social listening. This is why your brand needs media monitoring. You need to see what people are saying about you on your social channels. What is the overall sentiment (positive, neutral, negative)? What do they love or hate about you? What do they wish was different? This is an opportunity to gain priceless information about the people you want to love and engage with you in their customer journey. It’s audience research.


Brands should be adjusting their content strategy, making sure that any messaging is empathetic, and acknowledges what things are like right now. If you are unsure of what steps to take regarding your marketing, here is a marketing primer for the Coronavirus crisis.

In addition to adapting, you also need to see how you can best take care of your audience and determine their needs at this time. No doubt that their needs have shifted. Their financial situation has changed. Their access to transportation has changed. You need to learn what their day-to-day is like now. So listen.

Getting Started With Social Listening

To get started with social listening, you need to ask yourself specific questions:

  • What does my brand offer? (product, service, industry)
  • What social media channels do I have? (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.)
  • What hashtags and keywords are associated with or could be related to my brand?
  • What budget do you have available to use for this? (This will help you determine the best tools for your needs)
  • Who is in charge of doing this work? Do you have an escalation process in place should you find something highly defamatory?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to determine the next steps and choose a tool that is right for you. Meltwater offers a range media monitoring and social listening tools that provides solutions for every department. Get in touch with the Meltwater Team to request a free demo today.

social sharing on mobile phone

Using Social Listening to Regain Attention and Revenue

With consumers’ needs now shifting, find opportunities to showcase empathy and understanding. Now is not the time to sell. Now is the time to listen and embrace your audience.

Is there a way your brand can help? Is there a way you can shift your products and services to an online option? With many people self-isolating at home, consumers are relying on the internet more than ever to be their connection to the outside world. It is now how they communicate, shop, work, and more. They live online now.

Restaurants: If you are forced to close, can you donate the food in your kitchens to food pantries, schools, or other groups that are in need? If you are still open, can you offer delivery options with minimal human contact?

Tech: Zoom is setting the perfect example of how technology can make this easier. How can your program help during this time, and is it possible to offer it for free or at a discounted rate during this time?

Google has made it possible to visit museums and National Parks through virtual tour options.

Retail: Can you offer products online? Set hours just for elderly customers, so there’s a safe time for them to come when others aren’t there?

Photo of people sitting in a circle holding their smartphones into the middle

At this time, you don’t want businesses to simply stop everything. It isn’t about businesses stopping; it’s about them adapting. In this situation, it is both businesses and consumers that are forming new habits. Companies that never offered remote opportunities before will discover that there are ways their staff can work from home and provide the same value. Movie studios will find that streaming and online opportunities may be the best way to maintain profits instead of adhering to an antiquated theater first mentality.

We are all adapting as we take it day by day. When this is over, and we get to venture back into the world, it will be changed. Businesses need to use this time to prepare, learn, adapt, and work to do what it takes to be ready for a post-COVID-19 world.

NOTE: This article was originally written by Christina Garnett. To view the original post, click here