Whitepaper: Corporate Social Listening

Many companies use social media monitoring tools to monitor their brand and products online. Social Listening goes a few steps further. It describes a strategy for how monitoring solutions are strategically deployed in the company. The whitepaper “Corporate Social Listening” highlights how companies use listening in practice, what goals they pursue with it and what costs are involved.

The whitepaper answers the following questions:

– What social listening terms do you need to know?
– What costs are incurred when using listening?
– What do monitoring tools have to do today?
– How can social listening be introduced and established in a company?
– What do concrete first steps look like in practice?

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What is Social Listening?

Definition Social Listening

The basis for social listening is created by using social media monitoring tools or web monitoring tools. These tools collect mentions according to specific questions and keywords and evaluate them. Qualitative and quantitative insights are gained by evaluating the data. Social listening goes beyond simple evaluation and creates a strategic foundation for the company to support marketing aims and business objectives.

For which companies is social listening suitable?

If a company is already using one or more social media monitoring tools, it should definitely look into the social listening approach in order to uncover the true treasures of monitoring and make them usable for the organization. Those who do not yet have a monitoring tool must first assess whether the purchase of the tool and the necessary resources fit into the budget. Small companies shy away from the high costs, but for medium-sized companies social listening already offers a great opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. Today, large companies and corporations can’t really afford to ignore this strategy as part of their digital strategy. Nevertheless, many organizations still lack education about the possibilities and the purposes of use.

Typical purposes of social media monitoring

  • Monitoring of the brand on the Internet
  • Monitoring of products and product campaigns
  • Tracking of personal data such as board members and managing directors
  • Competition monitoring
  • Monitoring of customer service

Typical uses of social listening

  • Creating a comprehensive understanding of the customer within the company
  • “Living” the customer centricity
  • Change management
  • Customer experience management and increasing customer satisfaction
  • Crisis management and prevention
  • Content marketing

Monitoring experts do not always agree on the most important functions and trends. Nevertheless, they are united in their opinion that monitoring today goes far beyond brand monitoring.

The difference between social media monitoring and social listening

The difference between social media monitoring and social listening thus lies primarily in the orientation. Social media monitoring is used more as a tool in operational units. We have explained in detail how companies use this tool here. Typically, the marketing or social media managers have acquired licenses for such tools. Yet even the term social media monitoring is misleading. It’s not just about social media channels. Many software solutions cover a variety of media sources.

Unfortunately, the true opportunity of this tool often remains limited to the use of this department.
As soon as the strategic importance of social listening is also known to the decision-makers, a tool can be used to fuel a holistic customer-driven corporate strategy that can provide a competitive advantage because the customer is understood better than other market competitors manage to do.

Social Listening Strategy

Social listening is an important component of a company’s digital strategy. It sharpens the customer’s understanding regarding the right content and the appropriate channels. Without insights from social listening, the company is flying blind.

Social listening is also a process. At the beginning, questions are defined that are to be answered with monitoring software. Information is gained with ongoing monitoring and evaluation, as well as the creation of reports. The organization learns. These learning effects are used in the next step to make recommendations and derive actions. This is how the effects of social listening become usable. The findings from this learning loop should also flow into the further sharpening of the questions so that the listening process continuously improves.

Various factors are responsible for the success of a social listening strategy. One key factor is anchoring at the highest level. Even if no CLO – i.e. Chief Listening Officer – is installed at the board level, at least one board member should act as a sponsor and ambassador of social listening in order to drive appreciation from the highest level throughout the entire organization. This anchoring can only work if corporate goals are linked to listening.

The whitepaper “Social Listening in Corporate Use” explains what options are available in this context and how something like this works in practice.

Advantages and disadvantages of social listening

Advantages of social listening
If you understand your customers better, you can treat them better. The advantage lies in the ability to meet the customer better than the competitor and thus to make him more suitable offers. In addition, social listening offers the opportunity to bring the customer’s perspective into the minds of employees throughout the company.

Disadvantages of Social Listening
If social listening has disadvantages, then these can only be described in terms of the effort and costs required for efficient use. A company needs to be willing to afford to move from social media monitoring to strategic social listening. This journey requires new resources, processes and time. If the expectation is mismanaged, it can lead to the death of the project. For this reason, if a company decides to adopt a social listening strategy, key stakeholders should be involved in the decision and a long-term perspective should be demonstrated. Listening is change!


Anyone who has a social media monitoring tool in use should look into social listening. Anyone who does not yet have a tool and works in a medium-sized or large company should also look into this marketing approach. Especially if customer orientation or even customer centricity is part of the agenda.

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