Advantages and disadvantages of social media listening

by Jenn Feltis | published on July, 2022

Social listening is a powerful solution for brands who want to connect with their consumers, but it's not perfect for every situation. There are several advantages and disadvantages to consider before determining whether it's the right fit for your organization's strategy.

Advantage: unfiltered opinions

Someone with his hand to his ear trying to listen closer.Social listening allows you to be the fly on the wall. With social listening, you can gather consumers' uninfluenced thoughts and opinions. These thoughts and opinions may be less filtered than what they would share in a survey or interview response, making them more authentic.

Disadvantage: no guarantees

The nature of social listening is much different from traditional research, where you ask a question to prompt an answer. There are no guarantees with social listening, and you never know what you will (or will not) find. However, if your area of interest is something included in the broad range of topics discussed online, you should be able to uncover useful information — even if it wasn't the information you initially anticipated finding.

Advantage: travel back in time

Most social mention tools will store and provide access to data for about 24-30 months. Some tools have the ability to go back even further but at an additional cost. This means that if you start a trending program to compare current conversations to past conversations, you can begin analyzing the information right away and don't have to wait for multiple data collection periods.

Disadvantage: findings gain power with supporting information

Social listening insights don't always stand alone. They often work best as a complement to other information or research. However, social listening can add a unique dimension to traditional research, sometimes uncovering the motivation behind behaviors and shedding light on how to move forward.

Advantage: possibilities within other forms of media

Social listening isn't limited to text. Images, videos, and emojis often help us better understand what consumers are thinking, saying, and doing better than a more traditional research method would allow. That rich media backed up by commentary text allows us to pick up on key terminology and understand how to communicate back to consumers using their own words.

Are you ready to act in the face of change?

The social world is one of constant disruption, as platforms and trends emerge and evolve. What grows today could die on the vine tomorrow. (Speaking of, remember Vine?) All this change impacts how and where to listen for social insight. Likewise, privacy expectations and policies flex across platforms and governments. As with anything on the bleeding edge, when it comes to social listening, you must be ready to face consistent change and be prepared to identify creative solutions.

If you're ready to explore all the possibilities that come along with social media listening, please reach out to get started.