In the last decade, social media has grown by leaps and bounds, with the total number of users predicted to reach 3.02 bn by 2021.

In an age when consumers are finickier than ever, it is vital for businesses to improve their performance continuously. And, social media offers a wealth of information to them not only to better understand their target audience but also to have a bird’s-eye view of the industry and to track competitor activities.

Often described as the snapshot of the real world, social media captures the brief moment in time when a user performs an activity, like highlighting a personal or professional achievement, complaining about a product or raving about a shopping experience, among others.

Social listening is the process of monitoring these digital conversations, analyzing the collected data for actionable insights, and putting an effective strategy in place.

Bottom line: social listening takes a village

Given the vastness of the digital world, the use of tools today is not an option but a necessity for businesses. There are various software such as Hootsuite Insights, Talkwalker, Synthesio, Audiense, Reddit Keyword Monitor, Quora, and AgoraPulse to track every piece of information about your business on the internet.

Such listening tools help:

— Record the general sentiment around your business

— Measure user engagement metrics such as likes, shares, comments

— Track any customer complaints or comments about your business

— Explore industry news and influencer conversations

— Analyze competitors and check how you fare in comparison to them

However, social listening is not free from noise:

— Every one minute, 317,000 statuses are updated, 147,000 photos are uploaded and 54,000 links are shared on Facebook. (Smart Insights)

— On average, over 6,000 tweets are posted on Twitter every second. (David Sayce)

— More than 100 million photos and videos are posted on Instagram each day. (HubSpot)

These figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

1.97 billion blogs are written on WordPress alone, and let us not forget the numerous videos being churned or the threads being created on Reddit daily.

So, is your business listening in intelligently? Come on, let us find out on Marketing & Growth Hacking.