My colleague David wrote a post a short time ago stating that social selling starts with social listening. The premise being that I can't possibly know how to engage with someone if I don't understand them at a personal, team, company or even a geographical level. Social listening makes the process of understanding your target audience incredibly straightforward. 

What is social listening?

Hootsuite defines social listening as, "the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business." The real point of social listening is that it looks beyond the raw numbers of online social activity and aims to uncover how people actually feel about things -  (X people shared this so it must mean Y).

In a competitive marketplace, it is these little gestures and demonstrations that you are 'on the ball' that make all the difference. Moreover, you will understand what that individual cares about and align yourself accordingly. That is worth its weight in gold!

The longer I have been at Passle, the more & more apparent this has become. Social listening is no substitute for getting to know someone over a coffee, but keeping an eye out on what they do, what is important to them and then using that contextual knowledge to your advantage can help differentiate you from the other vendors. 

What to look out for?

  • What sort of things do they talk about? Are there some subjects which you should avoid? Politics, Cooking , Sport? (maybe they support Chelsea...)
  • Equally, what buzzwords keep cropping up over and over again? Is there any specific language which will really resonate with them? If you can include these in your pitch/documentation/literature, it will probably resonate much deeper than your own vernacular. 
  • Did they mention something in any correspondence or conversations? Could you send them something on that topic to strengthen your relationship? Sending over a mutually-interesting piece of content (say about cycling, politics or a place to visit on your holidays) will add that extra piece of value to your relationship.


In a competitive marketplace, it is these little gestures and demonstrations that you are 'on the ball' that make all the difference. Moreover, you will understand what that individual cares about and align yourself accordingly. That is worth its weight in gold!


What tools to use?

Use Tweetdeck, LinkedIn, public 'listening' tools like Google Alerts or content suggestions services, to get a strong picture as to what this person likes, is passionate about and what sort of person they are.