Listen Is the Most Important Step Toward Online Business

Listening is the first and most important step and unexpectedly the most valuable step in the process of online business success. Take some time to look at your competitors, other industry players, and your target audience.

5 things that you can listen:

  1. Your Brand
  2. Your Competitors
  3. Your Industry or Category
  4. Benchmark
  5. Understand Your Target Audience

Your Brand:

Listen to the conversations taking place on blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, websites, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube Comments, etc., to understand how you are perceived. This will help you understand where your opportunities lie. In addition, understanding what consumers are already saying about you will help you prepare responses for common questions or issues. It can help you anticipate areas that you should be prepared to address when you become active in social media.

Your Competitors:

listening to how people feel about your competitors, it’s helpful to identify the competitive social media landscape.  What are your competitors doing on social media? Who are they targeting? What seems to work? What doesn’t work? What can you learn from them? How can you approach this better than they are?

Your Industry or Category:

After observing your competition, take your listening up a notch to  the industry. What are consumers, potential consumers, or people  in your target audience saying about your industry? What is the  sentiment? Does this create opportunities? What conversations do  they have around the industry? What are the passion points and  pain points?


It can also be helpful to benchmark, I don’t mean direct competitors, but maybe sites that execute strategies similar to yours.

For example, example, a mobile accessories shop wanted to improve their ecommerce, so they looked at some ecommerce leaders and WooCommerce stores to get some ideas, how the cart should look, the images required to drive purchases, and even ideas about the types of photos they could include.

Understand Your Target Audience:

The final step is understanding your target audience. Find a handful of people that represent the audience you want to reach. What lingo do they use? How do they interact with each other? What are the words that they naturally use to describe their feelings? What are the unwritten rules of participation? Who is getting attention? Who are the influencers?  How do they talk and what are they interested in?

The Most Important Tools to Listen Online:

Google Search:

Simply do a Google search. Google tries to show people the most relevant results based on what they’re looking for. Explore the first page of search results but also look at other types  of results like news, maps, videos, and images.

Google Trends:

Google Trends ( allows you to see search data for specific categories, topics, or keywords. Trend data displays the trends over time and allows you to benchmark.

Google Keyword Tool:

The Google Keyword Tool is available within Google Ads ( You need a Google Ad account to access it. This will show you search volume and competitiveness for search terms.  This can be helpful to understand what people are looking for.


The challenge on Facebook is that most personal posts and groups are private, so you can only listen to Pages and public conversations.


Twitter is still one of the top social networks and is heavily used by thought leaders and influencers. Tweeter has great search capabilities and you can even search by location to get more specific insights.


80% of the content on Pinterest is re-Pins – that means that someone shared something that they found interesting. On most other social networks, you find what brands want to post or the opinions people have.


 Instagram is big and growing, and many people still keep their  accounts public, so you can gain a lot of insights from searching  here. Search for relevant hashtags or explore accounts and  followers of people relevant for your business.


LinkedIn now also has searchable hashtags which can make content easier to find. Also consider groups as a way to search beyond profiles, pages, and status updates.


Video content is among the most popular content online, network. Searches on YouTube will show a variety of content, and looking at popular content can also provide a good source of creative inspiration.

Industry News Sites

Industry-specific news sites or associations can also be good sources of information

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