Businesses should now be more aware than ever that simply monitoring social media while trying to improve a brand’s recognition is not enough anymore.

You also have to keep an ear to the ground for what your customers really want (and don’t want), as well as keep abreast of the latest industry trends and competition.

Enter social listening. Unlike mere monitoring, which looks at mentions and engagement rates, social listening zeroes in on the sentiment behind this data. Let’s dive into this trend and see why it matters.

But first:

What is brand awareness?

Brand awareness is simply the number of people who know about your business and recognize that it exists. It doesn’t matter if they’ve heard of you, or know who you are, or if they understand what you do.

When it comes to building brand awareness, it’s crucial to create an image of your company that will allow you to connect with customers on an emotional level.

Building a brand is a crucial aspect of online marketing. It’s essential to make sure that people know who you are and what your brand stands for. It will help them trust you and believe in the information you provide.

It’s also a great way to increase your audience and establish trust with the people who already know you.

Without brand awareness, when customers find you, they might not recognize or trust your product or service.

How is brand awareness measured?

Let’s start with quantifiable brand awareness metrics, which should give you a general understanding of your brand perception online.

Look at the frequency of your brand mentions and where your visitors come from. The easiest way to do this is to track direct traffic (any traffic that goes directly to your site without any referral from a search engine or social media) with tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

With these tools, you can view your company’s search engine ranking, including the number of people who have typed your website directly into the search bar.

Qualitative brand awareness metrics, on the other hand, are harder to measure.

To get a truly accurate picture of your brand’s public image, monitor your brand mentions online and review your customer’s feedback, whether it is positive, negative, or neutral.

Use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to track your brand mentions. By tracking the volume of mentions as well as your user sentiment, you can connect the dots between your customers’ expectations and satisfaction.

But is monitoring on social media alone sufficient to really understand your brand awareness?

Here’s where social listening comes in handy.

Understanding social listening

Social listening is when you listen to your brand mentions to better understand what people think about your products and services.

How does social listening work? Typically you would listen to your brand name, competitors and keywords related to your business. But you won’t only do this on social media. You can also do social listening on a couple of different sites, including blogs, forum sites, and anywhere else on the Internet.

You will then use the data you have gathered to pursue the next action like strategizing your content marketing to better serve your audience or improving your product or service in the first place.

In other words, social listening is the fastest way to see what your customers are saying about your brand and to get to know the latest insights into your industry, as well as into your competitors.

Social listening is very similar to social media monitoring in that you’re looking for brand mentions; it’s also different, in that it focuses on the mood of these mentions to glean business-critical insights.

So, here’s how businesses use social listening to improve their brand awareness.

Why do brands adopt social listening?

Identifying pain points

By using social listening, you can analyze whether there’s a missing component that customers are looking for and that’s not addressed by your or your competitors’ product.

Then, you can take advantage of that data to pivot and improve your marketing strategy to tailor exactly what your potential customers are looking for.

Using Google Alerts alone to monitor your current industry and brand is not sufficient nowadays, as Google Alerts’ frequency and relevance can be out of place at times. By using a more sophisticated tool like Awario, you can keep track of the latest developments in your industry as well as analyze your competitors much more thoroughly.

A medical brand, Tylenol, wanted to identify the pain and frustration of people who suffer from tension headaches.

From its social listening research, Tylenol found that 9 in 10 adults will experience a headache at some point, and that 2 in 3 children will have a headache by the age of 15.

Tylenol used that information to pivot its marketing strategy by creating content surrounding that pain point.

Source: Tylenol

As a result, Tylenol’s website visits have increased and its brand visibility has skyrocketed in an under-served market, because Tylenol was able to establish its authority for potential customers who suffer from headaches.

Simply getting to know your customer’s pain points is not enough. You also need to know what’s popping up in your industry so that you can ride along and capture your audience that way.

The keywords and topics you monitor tend to evolve as time passes by. To get more insights from multiple sources at once, tools like Awario help you unearth the keywords and topics people are frequently using throughout several online outlets.

As an example, Netflix uses social listening to monitor the latest trends among their target audience — millennials — and subsequently encourage them to subscribe to their platform.

The company managed to capture the “Gerard Way” trend on Twitter by changing its Twitter bio to get the audience to relate to the Netflix brand.

Source: GenY Labs

Improving customer service

It’s no secret that consumers turn to social media to complain about brands.

A survey by J.D. Power Ratings found that 67% of people use social media for customer support; Sprout Social found that 36% of people who had a negative experience with a company would post about it on social media.

By using social listening, you will be able to get better insights on what your audience is saying about your product or company overall.

This provides endless opportunities for your brand to improve not just your offering but also how you handle customer feedback and complaints.

Southwest Airlines proactively listens to their customers’ complaints on social media.

Source: Twitter

As an example, a customer named William posted a tweet about his flight from Boston Logan International Airport to Baltimore Washington International Airport, as he noticed that the plane was still taxiing in Chicago.

Anna, a representative of the airline’s social care team, took note of and replied to the tweet 11 minutes later.

She clarified that his aircraft had to return to Chicago due to maintenance, but she also tried her best to get the customer on any available alternative flight as quickly as possible.

After another tweet from William asking if it was possible to swap onto a 8:15am flight to the same destination, Anna checked to see what her team could.

She also thanked William for letting the airline know about the issue, and he appreciated her immediate response.

Overall, the whole process of resolving that customer’s complaint took 16 minutes.

Source: Twitter

Generating new leads

After you tap into social listening, you’d be surprised to find that a new customer can come when they are searching for a product recommendation.

Zoho Backstage, an online event management software, reached out to a tweet from a user named Vilva to recommend trying their product. Vilva knew that he could use Eventbrite to manage his workshop’s registration, but he was looking for better alternatives.

Zoho Backstage added that the product was part of their software suite (Zoho Suite) and that it could help him with running workshops, conferences, product launches, or any other small/large gatherings.

They ended their tweet with a call to action, asking Vilva to let them know his requirements by sending them a Twitter DM or email.

Source: Twitter

Engaging in social selling

With the help of social listening, you can keep track of certain keywords that customers use to research their problems and then establish deeper conversations with them for social selling.

Do not hard-sell at the start, but rather, share helpful information that they care about. This will help you present your brand as the best resource when the time comes to make a purchase decision.


To increase your brand awareness, you need social listening. Without social listening, you won’t be able to identify what stands behind the mentions of your brand, and what’s okay and what’s not about your brand’s offering.

Social listening will also help your brand stand out from the competition by allowing you to keep track of the latest trends and customer pain points in your industry, and use them to your advantage.