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What Do Readers Want? Use Social Listening Tools to Find Out

social listening tools

Most publishers today recognize the need for a social media presence. Many even have a dedicated social media outreach employee who tweets, posts, and blogs. Some go so far as to encourage their authors to use social media to connect with audiences. However, beyond using it to get word out about a particular book, writer, or event, how can you use social media to be more in step with what readers want?

The answer is social listening tools. Social listening tools allow you to dig in and discover what readers are really talking about, where influencers are having their conversations, and which topics are gaining the most attention among your target audience members. With the help of these tools, you can dive deep into your readership and even gain insights into author discussions and specific publishing trends. You can dissect what readers say about their favorite genres, what they like or dislike about particular books, and how people view your brand. You can then use this information to build your messaging strategy to more effectively reach your readership.

What are social listening — aka social monitoring — tools?

To start, these are misnomers. Social listening tools “crawl” and index more than just social media avenues. They search sites, blogs, forums, and more using very specific search strings that help publishers gain conclusive and useable data without spam and irrelevant content. Popular — and free — social monitoring tools include Google Alerts, Social Mention, and Keyhole.

What can you learn from eListening?

eListeningSocial listening is about more than gaining Facebook “likes.” Through focused social monitoring plans, publishers can dive deep into one area of interest or get a clear big-picture view into arenas such as

  • brand awareness,
  • site traffic patterns,
  • reader sentiment,
  • topic surges, as well as
  • sales inquiries and conversions.

With available data, publishers can attract new customers using the keywords their audiences use; identify potential customers by hearing a need echoed online — e.g., “I need a better textbook on such and such a topic;” and even grow their customer bases by sending out special offers and rewards to followers and brand advocates.

Straight from the source

Social listening tools enable publishers to tap into their readers’ minds, capturing and delivering more of what their readerships are looking for. Publishers who fail to incorporate these tools into their social media strategies are missing this chance to sync with and grow their target audiences.


Sheridan professionals have the expertise and technologies to meet your publishing needs from print to eBooks. Contact your Sheridan Representative, Laura Baker, at Laura.Baker@sheridan.com for a consultation.

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