Social Listening & Monitoring Tips: A Free Checklist for Social Media Success

Engage your audience on social media with these tips and tricks for social media monitoring and listening

While editorial calendars and scheduling platforms can help set your social media marketing up for success on autopilot, that doesn’t mean you should leave the cockpit. Short of using spammy, “Nice pic, check my profile!” bots, there is no way to automate and replicate authentic engagement on any platform. Plus, it’s always a good idea to bring data into everything you do. That’s where monitoring and listening come in. Here’s our checklist of social media monitoring and listening tips to ensure you’re always staying on top of social media platform algorithms.

What is the difference between social media monitoring and listening? 

Both social media monitoring and listening are essential for running social platforms as a brand. While social monitoring focuses more on one-off customer interactions, social listening utilizes data and insights to inform your ongoing social media marketing strategy. Both can contribute to how a brand connects with its audience and affect how often the brand shows up in their audience’s feed. 

After all, platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter frequently change up their algorithms. These algorithms determine how people organically discover content. Whatever’s trending in your feed, the Reels you’re scrolling through, the recommended Tweets you see—none of this is an accident. It is formulated based on your past search history, interests and other factors. In other words, these algorithms sort users’ feeds based on relevancy instead of publish time

But one rule you can always rely on: These algorithms favor engagement. So we recommend dedicating at least 30 minutes a day to engaging in social media monitoring. Go through your notifications and spend time on each platform. You can split this up by dedicating 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening, or do it all at once. It’s best to check these platforms constantly for comments, messages and mentions. You can also monitor what other people in your brand’s industry are doing, see how successful it is and use that insight to come up with new content ideas. So, if your company is looking to grow its social presence, it may be worthwhile to have a team member dedicated entirely to managing your accounts.

Then, social listening can be used to build on monitoring work to glean insights for an overarching marketing strategy. Using the analytical data gathered from your scheduling platform plus insights from monitoring can help you figure out how to better utilize social media for your brand. Make sure to check against data from your top competitors to stay ahead of the game too. 

Another key social listening tip: We recommend setting up a social brainstorming session at least once a quarter. In advance of this meeting, gather the necessary data so you can analyze it and come up with some new ideas to keep your brand’s social presence fresh. 

YY Social Monitoring Checklist

Use these social monitoring tips to engage with followers and build up a community around your brand. 

Social Listening Tips

1. Check recent comments.

Responding to comments is social media 101, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. After all, comments can range from positive to negative to everything in between. It’s important to frequently monitor them to see what you should respond to, like or otherwise engage with. We recommend creating a standard response document that prepares whoever is monitoring your social media to reply to frequently asked questions quickly with pre-approved language.

Of course, for comments that don’t require a lengthy response, you can always reply with a relevant emoji! On Facebook, you can even use reactions to respond. For example, if someone shares a sad story on your post, it may be best to reply with the “sad” or “care” reaction emoji. At the very least, like comments to show people you’re reading and, to go above and beyond, follow back and comment on posts to continue building relationships with those engaged followers.

In the case of negative comments about your brand, take care to determine what is relevant to keep and respond to and what is trolling or otherwise harmful to your brand and should be removed. Sometimes, you may want to bring up a question to the team to determine the best action to take. 

2. Respond to messages. 

Check all message folders to make sure you’re not missing anything—including the Requests folder on Instagram! This folder contains messages from users you’re not “friends” with or who don’t follow you. There might be an important question from a customer or a time-sensitive partnership opportunity, so don’t neglect this part of the inbox. Pre-approved responses can be useful here too, so tap into resources you’ve already laid out.

Bonus social monitoring tip: If you’ve been tagged in someone’s Instagram story and it suits your brand guidelines, add it to your own story!

3. Search relevant hashtags. 

Whether you have a branded hashtag or a group of other hashtags you frequently use to tag posts, stay current by checking them daily. For instance, we follow tags like #contentmarketing and #chicagosmallbusiness that align with our brand and content. By checking on who’s also using these tags and what they’re posting, we stay up to date on the latest trends and competition. 

Unless you’re a big brand, you may be the only one using your own branded hashtag. But it never hurts to see who else is using it so you can engage, whether that means liking, commenting on or sharing posts. You can even follow active followers back to thank them for being a part of your community. Taking this a step further into social listening territory, keep an eye on the data to see which hashtags perform particularly well for your posts. This should then inform your hashtag research.

Bonus social monitoring tip: Identify UGC (user-generated content), which you can then reshare to show off your engaged, supportive audience to potential followers. 

4. Scroll through the newsfeed and engage. 

Like photos, leave comments and show the people you follow that you haven’t forgotten them. Take social listening to the next level and respond to other users’ comments. This is a great way to engage with people who are interested in the same content as your brand.

After engaging in social media monitoring, you’ll start to gain new replies for that standard response list. This will streamline the monitoring routine and allow other team members to jump seamlessly into the process. Before posting anything, personalize the reply to include the recipient’s name and change a few words so it’s not robotic.

In general, responses should include a greeting, a personalization token (name or username) and an answer to a question or a call to action, when relevant. Here’s a sample response template to build from:

User: Where can I find more information on XX? 

Response: Hey, [user first name], thanks for asking! All of our resources on XX can be found here: LINK. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions!

Of course, replies will vary depending on what’s being said.  Use your best judgment and create best practices to follow when necessary. 

One last social monitoring tip: Be sure to read––and reread––the caption and consult the image before pressing “Post” on anything you’re engaging with. One of the worst things you can do is comment with something superficial and irrelevant on someone’s very personal and vulnerable post. Not only does it make you look like a bot account but you might also lose followers for your insensitivity. Stay engaged and tuned in to the content you’re sharing with your community.

Social listening and monitoring don’t just boost post activity and improve follower retention but they also keep you up to date with market trends. Remember the egg that took Instagram by storm? Social listening is how brands capitalized on the moment and produced related content the next day. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) jump on every bandwagon, but you don’t want to let the perfect opportunity for your brand slip by. Want more social media marketing advice? Check out our other social media resources

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