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Listen Up! Learn What’s Being Said About Your Company

If you’re online, you’re leaving a digital footprint, which is the trace of all those things you say and do online. Part of that digital footprint is your digital reputation—what others are saying about you online. Just like you want to protect your reputation offline, you should also take steps to preserve your reputation online. Social media monitoring and listening are helpful ways to monitor your online reputation. 

Social media experts tout the importance of social media monitoring, including reviewing stats and analytics to see how posts are performing. But simply looking at the stats isn’t enough; it’s also important to engage in social listening. Social listening involves monitoring social media channels to find out what your customers, competition and others are saying about you online. It looks past the numbers and data to gauge the attitudes and sentiments behind what people are saying about your company and brand. 

Before you start feeling overwhelmed by one more marketing task to add to your list, we’ve summarized the basics to give you a place to start. 


Monitor your social media pages.

Start with your own social media channels to see what people are saying in posts, tags, comments and direct messages. If you have a social media presence, you’re most likely already doing this on a regular basis, but it’s a good reminder to consistently manage your accounts. Monitoring your own social pages also allows you to see what types of content are getting the best engagement and what content isn’t helpful or relevant. 


Search keywords and more.

Most social media channels have a search feature; type your company name in the search box and see what else is being said about you outside of your own pages. Other keywords to search include any of your major product names, your slogan, names of key people in your company and your branded and unbranded hashtags. If your company has a common name, you may have to do some refining of your search terms so you don’t pick up content that doesn’t apply to you. Play around with search terms to see which ones work best to find information on your company. 


Respond to your followers and customers. 

Once you’ve learned what’s being said about you, the second step of social listening is responding. After you see what people are saying, respond to their comments, questions and complaints (diplomatically of course!). Especially with negative comments, it’s best practice to respond as quickly as possible. A SproutSocial survey found that 48% of respondents made a purchase from a brand after that brand responded to them on social media, highlighting the importance of engaging with your online audience. 


Streamline your efforts.

Take advantage of resources and tools that help you dig deeper into social listening by giving you the ability to set up automatic searches, sending you alerts for mentions and more. Some also include functions to schedule posts and other social media management tools, so they can pull double duty for you. Here’s a partial list of some of the tools available:


Expand your listening.

Once you have a good system in place for your own company, start using social listening for your biggest competitors. Listening to your competitors can help you stay sharp and ahead of the game and see the places where you can improve compared to your competition. If you have the time, you can also do social listening with companies and brands outside your industry for ideas and inspiration. 

As more and more people work, interact and purchase online, social monitoring and listening will become even more crucial to your company’s success, so it’s a good idea to put plans and processes in place now to stay ahead of the curve.


Hardware Retailing, published by the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) offers nearly 34,000 readers with how-to management and new product advice every month. Hardware Retailing offers a range of digital and print advertising options to help you get your message to key buyers in both the retail and wholesale markets. And, the revenue generated from advertising is reinvested to produce education and research for the independent home improvement channel. Download our media kit for more information.

Author avatar

Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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