Why Active Real-Time Listening Is So Valuable

Actively Listening to Your Influencers

One of the great lines in the book Influence Marketing is:

The foundation for social media success is employing effective techniques and technologies to convert conversations into lessons learned for a business.

When you listen to conversations you start to see things differently, surface fascinating information and uncover incredible opportunities to connect. But to make it worth your while, you need to listen with a purpose.

There are many ways you can set yourself up to actively listen to influencers for these lessons and other insights. In our Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing & Influencer Strategy, we walk you through several ways you can structure your listening activities to achieve some common content marketing objectives. For examples, influencers can help you:

  • Conduct Content & Opportunity Audits
  • Plan & Prepare Content
  • Keep up with Top Stories
  • Seize Real-time Opportunities

Today, though, lets look at the opportunities that stem from listening attentively in real-time. What can you learn and accomplish by honing in your daily listening to the people who matter most to your business?

There are three main digital marketing objectives you can achieve: Engagement, Content Distribution & Ideation.


For all the planning you do, real-time listening is really the only way to find those perfect serendipitous moments to engage. We like to think of our influencers as filters because they help you focus.

Especially in the insanity of a real-time flow of tweets, blogs, videos and more, you can ground yourself by following your influencers’ content. This way you’re there when they:

  • ask questions on Twitter (jump in with your answers),
  • publish a new post (read, comment and share early); and
  • share a brand new resource (be part of the groundswell).

All of these moments are opportunities to spark or nurture a relationship with a person who matters to your business. Regardless of whether you are just barely beginning outreach or maintaining an established relationship.

Content Distribution

When you listen in real-time, you’ll uncover opportunities to insert your messages and your content into conversations that are actively shaping the opinions of your buyers and customers.

Often you will find opportunities to answer questions and share content you’ve created over time. For example, this post was inspired by a new interview published yesterday by Robin Carey, CEO of Social Media Today.

She spoke with Andrew Bowins, Senior Vice President and Group Head, External Communications for MasterCard Worldwide about the value of listening. Here’s what Andrew had to say:

The power of listening, the ability to engage authentically and learn from those conversation to help you make better business decisions, help create brand awareness and brand loyalty, and just to listen and discover what people are talking about and how your company can be relevant to them and their needs is the true power of social today.

In addition to the inspiration, this interview, which I found because I was listening to one of my influencers, has also given me an opportunity to share our Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing & Influencer Strategy in a meaningful way (see how all of this fits together?)!


Real-time listening is a great source of inspiration for content ideas. As you listen, you’ll see different articles, interviews, infographics and more.

By monitoring how content is received and what it inspires within a given community, you’ll get ideas for what you can bring to the table. Look to see which content is getting the most comments, tweets, likes and discussion.

As inspiration hits, keep track of it so you can refer back next time you’re in an editorial planning meeting or looking for your next blog post topic.

Every day there are thousands of potential pieces of content that are produced and shared that may matter to you. You can’t be there for all of it, but you should be there at the most opportune moments. Real-time listening through the lens of your influencers helps you reduce your listening effort and maximize your social impact. Now that’s a win-win!

You can download the full guide to go into detail on the other ways to structure your listening.