Social Media Listening: You Don’t Have to Hear to Listen

What really makes you listen is curiosity. I know this because if I wasn’t curious in life…I’d probably let my Deafness be a barrier. I would be intimidated and hinder my relationship building and my knowledge base. It truly drives me in everything I do in business and relationship building.

social media listening
photo credit: Philippe Put via photopin cc

Social media listening is a key element for managing communities, following trends that influence your business and community, monitoring brand perception, identifying engagement opportunities and developing your network. When you show an interest in people (and I’m talking about the whole spectrum of people) they will reciprocate. Without any curiosity, you can’t gravitate towards any new information or relationship!

With that said, I’ll share a few wicked tools I use following with methods to illustrate how I listen (and satisfy my curiosity).


Anyone can learn this intuitive all-in-one dashboard. It lets me monitor social media, surface analytics/traffic and keywords visually and in real-time. You customize your dashboard by selecting widgets which range from Google+ Search to Google Analytics to your social media platforms. The graphs are neat in how all you have to do is hover over the (color coded!) graph for a quick summary of stats. Interface and the presentation are very appealing to the eyes and accessible, therefore easier on the thought process. You’d be amazed at what you’ll notice. Cyfe lets you focus on social media listening well because sometimes analytics get complicated. And end up manhandling our minds, wasting minutes that could be spent reading and socializing.  That’s why Cyfe is my comforting friend.


  • The Google+ Search widget is particularly attractive to me right now because different breeds of people hang out on Google+ compared to Twitter and there’s more substance. Longer posts. The widget is designed to let me scroll through all posts based on the keyword I searched.
  • I utilize the Google Analytics and Facebook widget so I can recognize – quickly – what kind of content fly well with my community (and make those beautiful spikes in the graph).

Google Alerts

I have alerts on topics including mobile marketing, augmented reality, customer/user experience, brands I work with, tools like Instagram and themes from our content strategy (i.e. brand loyalty for January). You can customize the delivery of information from alerts and have it sent via email but I really cherish my Google Reader that gathers all the feeds set up in Google Alerts. Also, in your Google Reader it’s easy to click “subscribe” and type in individual blogs you want to follow. In addition to alerts, I subscribe to high quality content such as SpinSucks AND blogs of people I want to get to know better.


  • I recently had a designer join our customer experience community. I chatted with her, observed her online interactions and read some blogs. As a result, I made a note to follow user experience (set up in Google Alerts) more closely and integrate design as part of our customer experience strategy discussions. Because of this, I was (and will be) able to have conversations that resonate with this person and her network. I truly wanted to know this woman and her speciality better and embrace her into the community!
  • Comb through various alerts for outstanding news and trends that could be leveraged as a case study, helpful resource, community discussion or blog. Case in point: I already have Vine, the Instagram of videos, downloaded. Vine is a new and sexy marketing tool ready to be used.
  • P.S. You can – and should –  listen outside of your industry. Sources of inspiration are unpredictable. Hongikat and Upworthy are some of my frequent mind candy.


Listening heaven! There’s a reason why Hootsuite is brought up so frequently. Create streams for lists of people you follow in Twitter, certain hashtags and keywords, find your influeners and discover what’s being said about your brand. Daniel has a great post: How to Set up Your Hootsuite Dashboard so You’re Always Listening.


  • List nirvana. I have streams of customer experience keywords, our brand, groups of people (Chicagoans, Steamfeeders, People I want to keep on my radar).

Bonus: The above three could function well as a daily staple but occasionally we can investigate social chatter by diving into Topsy, a listening social engine.

It all starts with curiosity.

What are your favorite tools for social media listening? Please leave a comment below!

Anne Reuss

Anne Reuss

Social Media + Content Marketing Specialist
A fitness-fueled digital marketer who wants you to live and market your business with grit. Addicted to adrenaline, pull-ups and social media, she's also Deaf, which has only taught her to listen abnormally well. She is a craft beer-loving social marketing manager for 360Connext, a customer experience consulting firm, and a freelance marketing consultant.
Anne Reuss
Anne Reuss

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