Despite the non-stop hype about the benefits of social media, not all brands have embraced digital communications as a critical part of the marketing mix. It’s understandable; just how do you measure a “like” anyway?

But regardless of whether a company is ready to start tweeting, they should, at a minimum be listening to what’s happening in the social space. Here are six reasons you should have a social listening program:

  1. To gather brand intelligence. Whether you choose to engage in social media or not, you can bet your customers will. If you want to know what they think about your brand and products, social media is a great place to find out.

  2. To analyze the competitive landscape. Chances are your competitors are using at least one social platform if not more. By monitoring social activity you’ll get a good sense of how they’re engaging with customers, what customers are saying about them, what opportunities they may be missing.

  3. To target influencers. One group of people that is most definitely online is the influencer community. If you want to reach influencers in your industry, what better way than to listen to what’s top of mind for them?

  4. To curate content. We all know content is the name of the game. Social media is an excellent way to stay on top of trends, determine what content and conversations are resonating, and what content you want to share.

  5. To prepare for a crisis. Because of the access it provides and the immediacy of the platforms, social media amplifies crises quickly. Before a crisis occurs, you can get a sense of who might help or hurt and how to reach those people by following social patterns and conversations.

  6. To augment reporting. If your job description includes reporting on marketing impact and effectiveness, you need to go where the conversations are happening. And unless you’re listening online, you’re not hearing the whole story.