Engagement. Awareness. Share of voice. ROI. Customer care speed. All tried-and-true metrics that play a pivotal role in proving the effectiveness of your social strategy.

But those data points only scratch the surface of what social can offer your company. Imagine if you could monitor and analyze all social media conversations happening around your brand, and tap into consumer insights that prove crucial for growing your business. That’s what social listening offers.

Listening makes creating data-driven marketing strategies more accessible, and gives your entire organization the tools to outpace the competition, improve your content strategy, iterate on new product designs and build more impactful campaigns.

At Sprout, we believe in the power of social data to transform every part of an organization—whether that’s using insights to change customer care processes, revamp your hiring plan or create new product lines. Using our Listening tool gives everyone on our team the opportunity to explore and define how listening can provide insights for their disciplines and strategies.
Alicia Johnston
Director of Content, Sprout Social

Team Sprout uses data to create stronger strategies, make more impactful decisions, and unlock and understand social media trends.

What is data-driven marketing?

Data-driven marketing is when you inform your marketing strategies with consumer analysis (examples: customer demographics, pain points, interests and shopping habits). It’s crucial for predicting future target audience behavior and gaining insight into the success of your campaigns and product launches.

For social marketers, creating a comprehensive data-driven marketing strategy involves more than digging into profile metrics—you must incorporate the breadth of consumer data available on social. By tapping into social listening, you can build a deeper understanding of your audience and gather honest feedback about your brand/products.

Find data-driven marketing solutions to your toughest challenges (on social and beyond)

According to The Sprout Social Index™, 65% of brands use social data to inform their sales strategy, 48% use it to improve their product development and 46% use it to optimize their content strategy.

A chart from the Sprout Social Index™ that reads, "My brand uses social data for..." with responses from marketers. For example, 65% of respondents said sales strategy.

Many marketers already turn to listening to better understand their industry, target audience and competitors.

Take a peek behind the curtain to see how Sprout’s marketing team uses listening to protect our brand, optimize our content strategy and refine our product development.

A data visualization that reads "How Team Sprout uses social listening to inform our strategy." Headings read, "We protect our brand. We optimize our content strategy. We refine our product development."

Protect your brand

A single negative customer experience can turn into a full-blown crisis if not addressed appropriately. Sprout’s Listening tool enables our social team to keep a constant pulse on our brand health and sentiment. We track data trends related to our share of voice, conversation volume and positive sentiment ratio.

This allows us to swiftly respond to customer care inquiries and manage crises with grace.

A screenshot of the Sentiment Summary dashboard in the Sprout Social Listening tool. The dashboard illustrates the ratio of positive to negative sentiment, and a change in sentiment trends over time.

Listening also makes it easy to monitor all conversations about/around our brand and the social media industry as a whole.

For example, we use listening data to inform our recruitment strategy and attract top talent by paying close attention to our brand image. We’re able to answer questions like:

  • How do we compare to our competitors?
  • What are the sentiment trends on social regarding our organizational culture?
  • How much social volume do our PR efforts and thought leadership content generate?

Optimize your content strategy

Trend cycles have never moved faster, making it difficult to tell what will resonate with our audience and what will flop. That’s why our team uses Listening data to vet topics before we develop content.

According to Alicia, “Listening data helps us validate whether trends we’re seeing on our feeds and from customers are resonating with a wider audience, and uncover additional conversation themes and subtopics to dig into. This means we can create more relevant, high-performing content. It helps us respond promptly to trends—like ‘It’s corn’ and quiet quitting.”

Social insights also help us create more compelling evergreen content. From our social profiles to our blog, we enrich our content with Listening data that supports our thought leadership, empowers our sales team and helps us relate to our audience more effectively.

For example, at the onset of the COVID pandemic, our Senior Manager of Social Media, Rachael Goulet, pulled Listening insights that helped us determine what messaging was overused by brands. The findings helped us adjust our positioning to make sure Sprout’s content was relevant, engaging, helpful and authentic, rather than robotic and impersonal.

Refine your product development

We’re always making updates to our platform based on customer feedback. Recently, we expedited the launch of Dark Mode after the social team noticed a lot of conversations/questions about it across social and in our comments and messages. They were able to use Listening and qualitative data to inform the need for the new product feature.

Remember: when people talk about your brand, your product or their pain points, they usually don’t tag you. Listening helps us stay vigilant and tuned into all the conversations that can help us improve our offerings.

As Mike Blight, Sprout’s Senior Market Research Manager, puts it, “Listening is like Pandora’s Box. Once you open it, you will find a source of truth/constructive feedback that will help you improve your brand and products. For better or worse, data doesn’t care about your feelings.”

Level-up your data-driven marketing strategy with Sprout’s Listening tool

Listening can be done manually using the native platform tools, but the raw data leaves gaps that make it difficult to analyze the findings.

As Mike says, “You’re fighting an uphill battle when you’re not using Listening because you’re not giving yourself enough information to do your job.”

Sprout’s Social Listening tool harnesses the full power of data and makes it accessible for all teams—regardless of their experience with social.

In the tool, you can easily extract insights and trends from global conversations, and quickly get business-critical, data-driven marketing insights from thousands of unfiltered thoughts, opinions and feedback to impact your current strategy and guide future action.

A screenshot of a Listening Performance Topic Summary in Sprout's platform. In the image, you can see total volume, engagements, impressions and sentiment analysis.

Use social media insights to become a data-driven marketing leader

Take the guesswork out of developing effective strategies, making important decisions and reaching your target audience by using social listening data across your marketing team and wider organization.

By factoring millions of conversations across social into your strategy, you will form a more complete picture. See the impact for yourself. Try Sprout Social for free with a 30-day trial.