June 30, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Social Listening Tools

For the most part, everyone knows that if you hope to succeed as a business you need to establish a presence on social media. But how do you actually measure the success of what you’re doing on these different platforms? Social listening tools, like Sysomos, are often talked about as one way brands and marketers can measure the impact that their social media campaigns have on their revenue. However, like most things, there are pros and cons you should consider before basing your success completely off the data these social listening tools provide.


1. Collecting Data

Especially if you are using a hashtag in your content, social listening tools are great for aggregating data in one place for you to view.

2. Immediate Insights

Since your data will all be in one place, it’ll be easy to see which areas you’re succeeding in and which you need to improve in. While you might have dominated National Fruit Cake Toss day, you’ll be able to see you need to put some more work into your campaigns around National Black Cow day.

3. Purchase Signals

With these readily available insights, you’ll have instant feedback on any new or existing products. Not sure if the new party hats are a flop or a hit? Instead of waiting a few days for sales results to come in, you’ll be able to see the conversation around your product on social media.

4. Customer Service

Sentiment is a great feature of social listening tools. You can easily identify areas in your stores or services that need some attention by viewing common comments you receive from your customers or clients. This allows for more real-time adjustments to the issues, rather than waiting on months of surveys or other data.


1. No Sarcasm

While sentiment tools are definitely useful in gleaming an insight about how your brand is received, keep in mind that machines are collecting this data. For example, if someone says “I just hate Joe Shmoe’s cupcakes,” with a picture of them devouring the cupcakes, the tools will likely register this as negative sentiment, when in fact, it’s positive.

2. Publicly Available Information

Social Listening tools are only available to collect data from public profiles. While that data is extremely useful, it’s important to evaluate that as only a sample of your customer base.

3. Relies on Vocalization

Even from your customers that do have public profiles available to these social listening tools, there’s never a guarantee that they’ll even be talking about your product (no matter how much they love it). Think about the last time you had a GREAT burger. I bet you didn’t tweet about it, did you?

So while these tools can be extremely useful, it’s important to note that they should not be considered the be-all and end-all as far as measuring success, and should be used in combination with other tactics. Overall, social listening tools are the most useful when they are combined with real people.

Do you see any additional value in using social media listening tools?

Tags: Best Practices, Tools

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