Are you making these 6 common social media listening mistakes?

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It takes a lot of work to acquire customers. It takes more work to keep acquired customers happy and have them continually buying from you. As a result, the best marketing campaigns are about building relationships (or customer retention).

At the core of building relationships, actively listening to customers takes a prominent seat. Since we are already living in a digitally connected world, social media is the ideal place to actively listen to your customers.

Many key decisions are being made on social media today. A study on social behaviors by GlobalWebIndex reveals that 54% of social browsers search for products on social media platforms. 71% of consumers use social media referrals to make purchase decisions.

Social listening is, therefore, the best route for building relationships. With proper social media listening, you can get real-time information on what your audience finds interesting, achieve higher standards of customer service, and most importantly, easily address problems when they arise.

So why have some brands (including big names like Coca-Cola, Uber, and Airbnb) failed at social media listening? It is because they left mistakes and errors to slip through their social listening strategy.

This post will cover such mistakes so that you avoid them and build your brand.

1.Silencing or burying negative comments

Do you know that 24.4% of people come to social media to share their opinion and views?

For a brand, that can mean positive or negative views. Through social listening, you can read through these online or social mentions of your brand. This is especially true when the views are positive.

But when the views are negative, the excitement is different. It is unpleasant, and most often we want to bury them or ignore them — as Volkswagen did after the emission scandal by being dead silent on social media.

While this might have worked for them since it prevented the situation from worsening. Ignoring negative comments from your audience is a wrong move to make in your social media listening strategy.

Social media users are an impatient lot. They expect you to respond to their issue within the first 24 hours. If you fail, they will quickly exaggerate the issue, adding falsehood, memes, and trolls.

In the same way, you are always enthusiastically responding to positive comments, do the same to negative comments. With negative comments, think about how to ease the issue or how the problem can be fixed.

If it is a common problem, reply by commenting on the post but for a complex matter, request the disgruntled customer to DM you for further assistance. By responding to comments (negative and positive), it shows you care and are committed to customers, which ultimately improves trust and reputation.

2. Ignoring the competition

On social media, if your customers are not talking about your brand, they are probably talking about your competitors. That is why it is important to discover what people are saying about them.

Ignoring the competitor means you cannot find their mistakes, what people love or don’t about their product or services, or the kind of content they use for brand awareness. Yet, these are important metrics to use to your advantage.

As a brand, find out what your competitors are doing. At this juncture, you may have to deploy social listening tools. Social listening tools help you gain insights on competitors’ reach, the volume of interactions, sentiments and compare them with your own. Not only that but use them also to improve your strategy or campaigns.

3. Ignoring trends

Social media, by design, moves quickly. What’s trending today may not be tomorrow. The things that are trending on social media right now are the use of challenges, live-streaming, AR, VR, and UGC.

As you collect information about your brand, you start developing and understanding the conversations people say about your brand, niche, or industry. If there is a change, you will spot it immediately. For example, if at a time people were leaving social media to buy products directly on your site but now prefer to do so on social media, you will notice the change

Through social listening, you can analyze these patterns and trends bit by bit. They are beneficial in how you carry out your campaigns. That means if the trend changes, then you may need to change your campaign strategy or aim otherwise, it will flop.

4. Not sharing insights and knowledge

The data and insights gathered via social listening should not only remain with you or your departments. Customer service, product managers, and management teams need that data or knowledge for decision-making purposes.

For example, the product team can use the data gathered to correct flaws that customers complain of in your product or stop developing particular features that customers aren’t happy with, leading to churn.

Comments like the example below where customers complain of being required to enter card information to access a free trial can be an eye-opener to a sales team on why leads are falling. They can now engage with the development team to change the product’s UI and improve onboarding.

The customer service team can use that data to learn how to manage their response rate if customers were complaining of a slow response from you. As for your other team members, they can come up with different ways to meet consumers’ needs.

In simple terms, failing to share important insights could mean team members investing time and money in matters not helping the business grow. In the end, you will appear out of touch with your audience or what interests them and that could damage the trust people have in your brand.

5. Failing to pay enough attention to potential threats

I mentioned up there that social media is a fast-paced environment. Social media is where things go viral. The last thing you would want is for an unsolved matter from a disgruntled customer or employee picking up traction from thousands of other social media users, giving your brand negative press coverage.

Such negative press can damage your brand reputation and if the problem is caught early, you can get a chance to limit the damage. As you perform social listening, pay attention to potential threats (from bots, hackers, and super-spreaders of misinformation).

Not just from unhappy customers or staff, but also from trolls looking to cause trouble. It only takes a single unanswered tweet or message to have an irreversible crisis.

Looking out for potential threats requires you to set up alerts for troublesome keywords or respond to negative sentiment quickly. This will help you catch and sort out potential issues as fast as possible.

6. Not looking at the right places

An enormous disadvantage of social media is that there are too many social media platforms. That requires you to cast your net wide in social listening. What people say about your brand, niche, or industry on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook is not the same.

As a result:

  • You must know the ideal places where most people are talking about you, your competition, and your industry.
  • The variations in the conversation among these platforms.

With this information and knowledge, you can find ways to chime in with the right organic or paid content.


If you believe and know social listening is the best way to grow a brand, then you should strive to keep away from committing these common social media listening mistakes.

Since the first step is identifying the mistakes, which we have done, you can now lay the groundwork for your social listening process or strategy. Remember also to use the right social listening tools to make the process of social listening easier.

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