Complete Guide to Instagram Listening

In this post, we explore the benefits of Instagram Listening for brands looking to improve their online presence and customer engagement. It outlines how to set up a successful Instagram listening strategy, which includes tracking mentions, analyzing sentiments, and responding to feedback to maintain a positive brand image.

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Your brand probably has an Instagram account, but how well do you use it? Does your marketing team keep track of what your customers say about you? Do you want to be a part of the conversations that build a long-lasting perception of your brand?

Instagram has become a very exciting place to be, not only for the sake of casual networking but also for the up-and-coming brands in the modern-day marketplace. The rise of the influencer economy has largely reformed conventional marketing methods. 

So, how do you become a part of those conversations that are largely shaping your brand perception across various platforms? The answer is simple: social listening is the key.

You may see a clearer picture of what resonates with potential customers by keeping an eye on what they are saying about your business on Instagram and then, modify your approach accordingly.

We'll cover all you need to know in this guide to establish an effective Instagram listening strategy that will help you stay on top of user feedback and be a part of the conversations that matter.

Let’s go!

Brief Overview of Instagram Listening

Product Marketers all over the world are always looking for the opportunities to stand out. Every great brand has an Influencer Marketing strategy in place. Brands collaborate with influencers of all kinds to generate talk about their brand reputation, products, new features, and product offerings, but does the conversation end there?

Once you launch an idea out there in public, a whisper is capable of turning into a roar or dying down into a whimper.

Monitoring the flow of these conversations, gauging customer sentiment towards your offerings, and engaging with your customers on social media can eventually benefit you with a good acquisition and retention rate, while also helping you understand user expectations better.

This is where Instagram, social media marketing, and listening can greatly help you. If you use it properly, it will put you a step ahead of your competition and help you leave an unforgettable mark on your potential customers.

What is Instagram Listening?

Instagram listening is the practice of monitoring online discussions to learn what people are saying about a particular brand, organization, or industry on Instagram. It entails keeping an eye out for mentions of your brand's reputation, competitors, products, and more in various kinds of posts, including reels and stories. This data can be further analyzed to better understand user expectations and customize your approach to suit their needs.

Instagram listening is much more than just looking for hashtags and direct mentions. It includes a broad spectrum of digital interactions that will help you better monitor your brand’s perception, customer sentiment, and emerging industry trends. By using this technique, businesses can get instant feedback on customer preferences and impressions that might otherwise go unnoticed by more conventional market research techniques.

Importance of Instagram listening for businesses

Now that we’ve covered what Instagram Listening means, let’s also delve into how important it is for businesses to employ a mindful Instagram listening strategy and how it can be leveraged for maximum profitability:

Understanding what your customers want

With an impactful instagram social listening tool, you get a direct line into what your customers are saying about you, your products, and your competitors. It can help you understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, helping you tailor your offerings and messaging accordingly.

Quite recently, Zomato faced a lot of backlash on social media when it launched its pure veg fleet. The idea was to have the delivery guys on their pure veg fleet wear green t-shirts as opposed to the usual red one. When Deepinder Goyal launched this idea into the public, the idea faced a lot of backlash on the various social media platforms. People were worried that this new service offering would stir more unrest and discrimination in our day-to-day lives than making our lives easier.

Zomato took notice of that uproar and rolled this whole idea back. Deepinder Goyal, the CEO, also mentioned that before launching this idea, they had conducted surveys on a large group of people who were more than 50 years old. In that survey, they had received mostly positive responses to that idea.

However, the conventional methods of user research are more likely to only scratch the surface of customer feedback. It is when the idea went online, the brand could actually understand the general sentiment towards the new fleet.

They listened to the people ‘online’ and that’s what saved them from making a disastrous name in the market! You can, too. You just have to listen.

Identifying Industry Trends

In the year 2019–20, a large number of influencers called out the cosmetics industry on their relentless obsession with fair skin. The global movement against racism and skin color bias created a situation where companies revisited the way they were marketing skin-lightening and cosmetic products in an emerging economy like India.

That is when Dove, an HUL initiative, declared that they’ll be dropping words like ‘fair’ and ‘whitening’ from their marketing campaigns and advertisements. 

Dove also came out with hashtags like #RealBeauty and #BodyPositivity on Instagram. They still use these hashtags to monitor the latest beauty trends and catch up on discussions about prevalent beauty standards.

Similarly, there are a lot of brands that have trademark hashtags that they monitor to understand the latest industry trends and come through for their customers.

Instagram is a breeding ground for trends. By listening, you can discover what content resonates with your audience and what industry trends are emerging. This allows you to stay relevant by tracking industry trends and creating content that keeps your audience interested.

Improving brand sentiment

By tracking conversations, using an informed social media strategy and monitoring mentions of your brand, you can identify and address any negative feedback quickly. This proactive approach helps maintain a positive brand image, enhance customer satisfaction and build trust with your audience.

There are a lot of tools that can help you find posts where your own customers may have expressed disappointment about your services or product offerings. Instagram listening also comes in handy for doing that.

There have been times when brands have proactively responded to customer complaints on Instagram and have left a positive impact on not just an individual but on all the people listening into that conversation. Around 71% of customers reported that a brand’s way of addressing their complaints tends to sway their perception of the brand.

This proactive approach to ensuring excellent customer service and enhancing customer satisfaction helps shape the customer sentiment for any brand, no matter how big or small!

Identifying potential brand ambassadors

Armed with an impactful Instagram listening tool, your brand can easily identify potential ambassadors and influencers who align with your values and target audience. 

This can open doors to multiple collaborations, leading to successful marketing campaigns.

If you’re a brand selling sustainable yoga wear, all you need to do is look for fitness influencers who talk about eco-friendly practices.

Via KiraGrace

If you are a brand marketer, looking to market a new and affordable gaming console, then you need to look for gamers who come from a humble background and promote affordable gaming.

Instead of just sifting through various creator profiles, you can let the content speak on behalf of the influencers. That could be a more genuine and credible approach for deciding your brand ambassadors.

Tracking your competitors

‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ — A statement that you must have heard a thousand times in various contexts.

Instagram listening helps you translate this quote into your actions. By listening to the customer conversations, you can see what your competitors are up to! 

Analyze their marketing strategies, the kind of content they produce, and how their audience reacts. This allows you to learn from their successes and failures, and carve out your own competitive niche.

A real-life example would be Coca-Cola. With social listening and marketing efforts everywhere, Coca-Cola maintains vigilance on its brand health and observes competitor movement closely.

The Internet is no stranger to the marketing campaigns where competitor brands came together, building up to some hilarious interactions between them, while causing an uproar amidst the people online.

Informing product development

Product development and marketing methods can be greatly influenced by the listening data. What features customers are clamoring for and how effective your current products are, this can be understood by analyzing conversations on social media platforms like Instagram.

Using these data points helps identify market gaps and direct product innovation toward consumer needs.

As an actual case study, let's take a look at Nike. Nike serves as an excellent example of how to use social listening tactics to craft its product offers and marketing messages. In addition to meeting customer requirements, Nike also works towards predicting customer requirements by using social listening strategy, in on conversations and taking input from its wide range of customers.

A prime instance is Nike's release of the Pro Hijab, which addressed a specific requirement from Muslim female athletes. Such a targeted approach not only enhances product relevance in the eyes of consumers but also fosters a deeper sense of brand allegiance and brand loyalty.

Key Components of Instagram Listening

Having a feature is worthless if you can not leverage all of its potential. The same goes for Instagram social listening or basically any kind of social listening tool.

No matter how great a tool you have at your disposal, you still need to know what a successful social listening strategy looks like to execute it properly.

So, what are the key components of a successful instagram and social listening on Instagram. Let’s take a look at that:

Get a lay of the land

The first step to a solid social listening strategy would be to set up some basic monitoring. Monitor what people are saying about your brand online.

Follow some relevant hashtags, probably derived from your brand’s name. See how your brand is being mentioned, and try to get a lay of the land.

See how frequently your brand is being mentioned. It will help you gauge your brand’s presence on Instagram and other social media platforms.

If you’re a small organization with a limited online presence, starting small is the key. Ramp up your social listening strategy as you move forward.

However, if you’re a larger organization, you may find a lot of mentions of your brand on instagram. There are too many to go through manually!

Sifting through so many mentions would be a painful and tedious task. That’s why, for larger organizations, it would be more suitable to partner up with an agency or use an automated social media management software.

Gauge customer sentiment

The larger the number of posts, the larger the number of comments will be.

Social listening or Instagram listening tools will provide you with the features like sentiment tracking which will help you perceive the general sentiment of the audiences based on their comments.

Using a social listening tool like Phyllo can help you save a lot of time and manual effort that would otherwise go into the process of gauging customer sentiments. Gauging customer sentiments manually would require you to read each and every comment on every relevant instagram post, which isn't a very practical approach.

Keep an eye out for your competitors

What trends are your competitors jumping on? What is it that they’re talking about? What are people saying about your competitors?

Understanding where your competitors stand in comparison to you is what will keep you ahead of them, in the long haul. That is why, tracking the mentions, hashtags, stories, reels and posts where your competitors are mentioned should be also pretty important. 

Engage with your customers

For smaller organizations, the major challenge is to generate talk for their brand, while for larger ones, the major challenge is to find the conversations worth engaging in, which can prove to be a good PR for their brand.

Social listening tools can actually help in both of these cases.

Smaller organizations can start by finding relevant topics and hashtags, seeing what their competitors are talking about, and finding some influencers to collaborate with. 

On the other hand, larger organizations can find user-generated content worth interacting with.

Both of these cases could have one thing in common - Identifying an influencer to trust with your brand marketing.

Finding a perfect fit

Finding an influencer who aligns with your brand values to promote your product, let people know about the latest developments in your product offerings could be challenging, but listening tools can actually help you find the perfect fit for your marketing campaigns.

There are tools like Phyllo, that will enable you to look for campaigns and posts that align with the keywords that you’re looking to generate or monitor conversations for. Using the Phyllo Dashboard can help you go through various influencer profiles. It also allows you to see how well their posts are working or check out the demographics of their audiences.

With a tool like that, a brand can easily find an influencer who is the best fit for them.

With a suitable tool to support your instagram listening strategy, you’ll be able to do all this and more. Here is a comprehensive list of tools that can help you in your endeavor of instagram listening:

Tools and Platforms for Instagram Listening

There are free and paid social listening tools available. Free options may offer basic functionalities, while paid tools often provide advanced features like sentiment analysis and competitor tracking. Here are some popular options to consider:

1. Phyllo

Phyllo specializes in offering a full Social Listening API that is intended to capture data and perform a real-time analysis of social media conversations. Phyllo can help you stay up-to-date about what is being said about your brand on social media platforms. It will help you stay informed on various conversations happening across different channels and engage with them effectively.

Key Features:

  1. Real-Time Intelligence: Benefit from continuous data updates, allowing you to tap into the latest social media conversations and sentiments as they unfold.
  2. AI-Enhanced Analysis: Advance your strategy with AI tools that assess your target audience sentiment, relevance scores, and ranking, making sense of large data sets efficiently.
  3. Cost-Effective Integration: Reduce your expenditure on integration efforts by up to 80% thanks to a streamlined service that connects you to multiple platforms through a single API.
  4. Competitive Intelligence: Gain insights into competitors' strategies and market standing, giving you the foresight to make proactive business decisions.
  5. Influencer Identification: Discover and partner with influencers who resonate with your brand values, enhancing your market presence and reputation.
  6. Brand Protection: Monitor the digital space vigilantly to avoid potential PR issues and swiftly catch and address brand-related issues.
  7. Phyllo's Social Listening API is not just a technical solution; it’s a strategic asset for your brand. With Phyllo, you can unlock a deeper understanding of social media dynamics, infuse intelligence into your engagement efforts, and carve a path to greater return on investment.

Phyllo's Social Listening API is not just a technical solution; it’s a strategic asset for your brand. With Phyllo, you can unlock a deeper understanding of social listening and media dynamics, infuse intelligence into your engagement efforts, and carve a path to greater return on investment.

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a comprehensive social media management tool that lets you oversee multiple accounts and platforms from a single dashboard. It simplifies social media strategies by allocating all necessary functionalities within reach.

Key features:

  1. Social Media Streams: With Hootsuite, you can customize and set up social media streams to monitor conversations, keywords, mentions, and hashtags relevant to your business. 
  2. Unified Dashboard: You're equipped to monitor and immediately respond to social interactions across platforms through one dashboard. 
  3. Competition Monitoring: Hootsuite's tools allow you to track competitor activities, giving you insight into their strategies and performance.
  4. Influencer Engagement: Build and maintain relationships with influencers and brand advocates directly through your dashboard.

3. Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a comprehensive social listening tool that captures a wide spectrum of data across the internet. It is leveraged by brands to tap into consumer conversations, sentiment analysis, and emerging trends across various social media channels. 

Key Features:

  1. Real-Time Analytics: Access immediate insights from discussions happening across more than 150 million sources, including blogs, forums, and social networks.
  2. Engagement Metrics: Measure your brand's social engagement, including likes, shares, and comments.
  3. Sentiment Analysis: Gauge public opinion with an advanced sentiment analysis feature, allowing you to assess the tone of conversations about your brand.
  4. Data Filtering: Employ advanced filters to narrow down the data that matters most, ensuring you're not overwhelmed by the volume of available information.
  5. Alerts System: Set up real-time alerts to stay informed of any spikes in brand mentions or relevant keywords, keeping you at the forefront of any emerging issues or trends.

4. Mentionlytics

Mentionlytics is a comprehensive AI-powered web and social media monitoring tool that provides valuable insights, by tracking brand mentions, keywords, and sentiment across a variety of social media channels. This tool caters to the need to strategize your online presence by providing real-time data, which is essential in understanding audience perception and engagement.

Key Features:

  1. Mentions Tracking: Keep a tab on your online mentions from social media, forums, news sites, and blogs.
  2. Sentiment Analysis: Detect the emotion behind each mention, whether it's positive, neutral, or negative.
  3. Multilingual Support: You can monitor keywords and conversations in multiple languages, providing a global scope.
  4. Influencer Identification: Identify and track top influencers that engage with your brand or industry.

5. Sprout Social Smart Inbox

Sprout Social's Smart Inbox is an innovative tool designed for efficient social media management. By gathering all social media messages and notifications into one consolidated stream, it significantly streamlines the process of social listening and engagement across platforms.

This unified Smart Inbox allows you to not only monitor but also actively engage with the conversations surrounding your brand without the hassle of switching between different social network accounts.

Key Features:

  1. Brand Keywords: This feature finds Twitter conversations about your brand, industry trends, or competitors, even when they're not directly tagged. Brand Keywords perform continuous searches, bringing you relevant discussions that you can join right from your Smart Inbox.
  2. No Tag? No Problem: Not all mentions or relevant content include tags or hashtags. The Smart Inbox catches these untagged messages through custom searches, ensuring you don't miss out on important discussions.
  3. Time-Efficient Tracking: Manual searches for brand mentions are exhaustive. The Smart Inbox eliminates this burden by automatically tracking the conversations, so you can focus on engaging rather than searching.
  4. Trends Report: Understand the buzz around your brand with the Trends Report, which showcases popular topics and hashtags, as well as key influencers and brands engaged in conversations with your business on Twitter.

Implementing Instagram Listening Strategy

Setting proper goals

What do you hope to achieve through Instagram and social listening on your instagram posts? Is it brand sentiment analysis, competitor research determining brand health, or influencer identification?

Having a clear goal for listening queries helps tailor your own listening queries strategy in the most effective manner.

These objectives will shape the kinds of data you collect, how you analyze it, and the actions you take. Brand perception, competitor analysis, business growth, and customer service are three common goals you might focus on.

Brand Perception: To assess your brand's presence and reputation online, you may want to track metrics such as share of voice, sentiment analysis, and brand mentions. This gives you a clear picture of how your brand is perceived.

Competitor Analysis: You can do competitive analysis to gain actionable insights by monitoring your competitors. Look for their customers' perceptions, emerging threats, and market opportunities. This information can guide your strategic decisions and help differentiate your offerings.

Customer Service: Social media listening allows for real-time customer feedback. By monitoring mentions of your brand, you can swiftly address customer queries and concerns and improve customer satisfaction and rates.

Identifying target audiences

Who are you trying to reach out to? Instagram has a diverse user demographic. Which demography fits your brands the best? That’s what you need to understand before moving forward in the correct direction.

Instagram listening involves sifting through vast amounts of online conversations to understand what customers are saying about your brand. Segmentation plays a pivotal role here. Below are ways to slice your social media data to get more actionable insights.

By Demographic:

  • Divide your audience by age, gender, income level, education, or occupation.
  • Determine which demographic group talks about your brand and how they perceive it.
  • Track changes in sentiment across different demographics to align your marketing efforts.

By Geographic Location:

  • Categorize conversations based on countries, cities, or regions.
  • Localize content and campaigns to resonate with each area’s unique cultural context.
  • Monitor the geographic spread of conversations to gauge where your brand is gaining traction.

Your goal is to leverage these segments for a more targeted analysis that drives strategic decisions and bespoke campaigns. Tailoring your Instagram social media listening by demographic and geographic location enables sharper insights and a more powerful connection with your audience

Tracking and monitoring

There are various social listening competitive analysis tools available that can track mentions, hashtags, and brand sentiment across Instagram. These tools can also help analyze demographics of those engaging in relevant conversations and identify influencers.

Other than your own brand mentions, you should also be on the look-out for the content created by competitor brands and User Generated Content (UGC).

Look for user-created content that mentions your brand or uses relevant hashtags. Engage with positive UGC and address concerns raised in negative UGC.

Follow your brand account, relevant hashtags, competitor profiles, and high-profile industry influencers to capture a broader spectrum of industry conversations, and be a part of them.

Engage with audiences in real-time

When it comes to customer complaints or negative user-generated content, a quick response demonstrates that you value your customers and their concerns. This can go a long way in diffusing frustration and fostering a sense of loyalty.

By responding promptly, you can control the flow of information and prevent negative sentiment from spreading. When customers see you resolving issues effectively, they're more likely to become brand advocates, singing your praises online.

Real-time customer complaints through social listening can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement in your product, service, or overall customer experience.

Instagram social listening allows you to see if a complaint is an isolated incident or a larger problem. This enables you to address the root cause and prevent future issues.

Analyzing the extracted data

Listening tools can analyze the emotional tone of conversations, gauging positive, negative, or neutral to negative sentiment, towards your brand.

You’ve to analyze the data to understand what people are saying about your brand, industry trends, and figure out potential influencer partnerships.

Clifford Stoll once said, “"Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom." 

Data is a crucial first step, but true wisdom only comes from interpreting it effectively.

The insights derived from the analysis of the data should be leveraged to make informed decisions. This could involve improving your brand strategy, addressing customer concerns, or creating content that resonates better with your audience.

Staying updated

The landscape of Instagram is ever changing. There are so many algorithms, so many new features, being rolled out every then and now. You've got to stay up-to-date on these changes to ensure that your listening strategy remains effective.

Final Thoughts

Implementing a well-rounded Instagram leverage social listening strategy is essential for any brand hoping to thrive in today's social media industry. By leveraging the power of social listening tools like Phyllo, you can gain invaluable insights into customer sentiment, brand perception, and emerging industry trends.

With Phyllo's real-time data collection and analysis and AI-powered features, you can stay ahead of the curve, identify brand ambassadors, and craft targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience.

Remember, social listening or instagram listening is a continuous process, so the best course of action would be to stay updated on the latest Instagram features and adapt a strategy accordingly. By following these steps and utilizing a comprehensive tool like Phyllo, you can transform your brand's social media and instagram presence, and forge deeper connections with your target audience.

Shubham Tiwari

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