Using Social Listening For Content Marketing

Social media marketing is poised for another huge year of growth. Magna part of IPG Mediabrands,  predicts investment in social media marketing will rise by 18% this year, citing the rise of news feeds, diversification of social platforms and increased mobile usage as key drivers in the growth.

Using social analytics, the process of gathering, monitoring, measuring and interpreting digital data, can prove to be a very powerful aspect of your marketing strategy. And one of the best ways to figure out what your customer wants, is to ask them.  Combine this with your social stats such as likes, click-throughs, subscriptions and you have some even more powerful data.

This ‘ask the audience’ technique really isn’t hard to plan or initiate as you don’t need to approach individuals directly such as face-to-face or via email.  Instead you can get direct customer feedback the simple way – through surveys.

Here we look at why surveys are valuable for your content marketing.

Fostering engagement

More than ever, content marketing is about conversation and engagement with your audience. It’s about starting a dialogue and keeping that dialogue open – such as answering questions and offering information. Remember it can’t be one-sided so by using surveys you are checking in with your audience to get them to respond to content, and guide your future content.

Valuable insights

Surveys give you an avenue for customer insights. Your statistics give you a picture of what your customers are doing but not why they are doing it – asking your audience can give you priceless data that stats can’t.  So with a survey you can ask about brand expectations, brand perceptions and your customer’s decision making is affected by your content.  Try questions like “how can we do better”? in regards to a poor customer service review on social media or information about why they prefer your competitors.

Now let’s look at some simple steps on how to create an effective survey.

Set a goal

Your survey is there to answer a broad question about your brand’s social media reach or its reputation such as Is your content influencing customer decision making?

Choose a tool

The platform you use to create your survey is important – it needs to be easily accessible and easy to navigate for your audience. SurveyMonkey or Google Surveys are great for in-depth questionnaires. However if you want something a lot more simple then try using  social media in a forum-like strategy to open up discussion. Examples of this are

Ask a question to your followers on Instagram about one of your images

Put out a question on Facebook to your followers

Do a quick Twitter poll using a multi-choice question

Put a question at the end of your blog post and ask for comments

Short and sweet

Remember that you are asking for some time from your audience – therefore keep it as short as possible by making questions easy to answer. If you overwhelm your audience with long questions or demand a long timespan they may switch off and not complete it.

Closed questions

To collect data quickly and efficiently remember to ask closed, rather than open questions. By setting limits on possible answers, it will limit the amount of data you have to process and will make it easier to analyse. So, as an example, instead of asking ‘What do you think of our brand?’ try asking ‘Which of the following best describes our brand?’ and give them some multiple choice answers.  Try also asking about past behaviours, something your audience have already done, rather than something they might do. Again you will get much clearer answers.


Timing is key in social media posts, and it is the same for survey invites. If you send them at the wrong moment, people will ignore them. Use your stats and data about when emails are opened or impressions are made and follow that through with your survey timings.

Publish the results

People love to know where they opinion or behaviour fits in with others. Twitter is a great way of showing a ‘live’ poll on a simple question – as soon as you have answered it you can see what the simple stats are from others. Or try turning your survey content into some great infographics to use as a blog post or your next post.

The bottom line is that surveys in content marketing are really worth your time.  Combining the stats from your blogs, email newsletters and website hits with answers to survey questions like why that piece of content works, why are people buying from one page and not another, what were the purchasing decisions your customer has made, and you have a great strategy for your content marketing on social media.