Social listening: What others think of you, IS your business — Atelier Pan

Social listening: What others think of you, IS your business

By Simon Droog — a Dutch self-taught brand and graphic designer

As a creative introvert that wants everybody to like me, I’ve always found the phrase: “What others think of you, is none of your business”, appealing and helpful. I know… it’s something I’m working on, ok ?

I’ve found that in one’s personal life, it’s not really important to know what others think of you. Just be yourself and if people like that person, it’s fine. If not, that’s fine too.

However, in business, I’ve come to realise that it IS important to know what others think of you. It can be a matter of staying in business or going out of business. It’s that important. Especially if your main source of business comes from ‘word of mouth’ or referrals, like mine.

This is what branding is all about.

I think a quote by Jeff Bezos, the founder or Amazon, says it perfectly:

“Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

What are people saying about your brand?

Ok, you got me. I don’t know what people are saying. How can I change that?

Glad you asked! ?


Atelier Pan social listening branding marketing

I think it’s time for us to start listening — social listening that is:

Social listening is the process of tracking conversations around specific phrases, words or brands, and then leveraging them to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences. It's more than watching @mentions and comments pour in via your social profiles, mobile apps or blogs.”

— Source:

Let me tell you about some of the ways that I’ve been using to keep tabs on what people are saying about Atelier Pan.

Here are 5 ways to find out what people are saying about your brand when you’re not in the room:

  • Asking questions
  • Setting up Google Alerts
  • Keeping track of mentions
  • Using 'Search’
  • Influencing the story


One way to find out about what people are saying behind your back is just asking them. For example, we can ask your prospects and new clients: “How did you hear about us?” and if the answer includes someone mentioning your brand, we can ask a follow-up question: “What exactly did they say about us?”. Simple as that.

If you’re interested in finding out what else 'asking questions' can do for your brand, take a look at this article I wrote a while ago: Asking = knowing… or is it?


Google Alerts is a tool that enables us to track certain keywords used in the Google search engine. For example, we can track mentions of your brand (name), keywords associated with your industry and even your competitor’s names.

Once we’ve set up your Google Alerts, you’ll receive daily or weekly emails about the keywords we’ve selected.

Here’s a great article to help you set up your own Google Alerts: How to create a Google Alert


We want to find out when someone mentions you, your company, a new product or any keyword related to your industry on social media as well. You can for example use a tool like Social Mention or Hootsuite to help you keep track of mentions.

Social Mention is a social media search engine of sorts that monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.

Hootsuite requires a bit more time to set up. Hootsuite is a tool that manages all your social media marketing in one place. One of it’s features is tracking mentions.

Here’s an article about setting up such a stream in Hootsuite: Add a stream


Most social media platforms offer a way to search the platform for mentions of your brand or company. For example, we can do a search on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. And in some cases you can even ‘Save your search’ for later.

  1. Facebook: What can I search for on Facebook?
  2. Twitter: Twitter Advance Search
  3. LinkedIn: Searching on LinkedIn


Not really a way of finding out what people are saying, but more a way of influencing what people are going to say about you.

If you have a clear story for your brand, people find it easier to talk about your brand. Instead of someone saying something vague, like: “Well, I think they do something with expats.”, you can help them by telling them a clear story they can remember, like: “Well, they help expats moving to Barcelona with getting settled by taking care of the often frustrating and time-consuming bureaucratic procedures for them, e.g. applying for a residence permit or getting an internet connection.”

You can clarify your message by using this formula for your brand:

We help [your target audience] with [the problem of your target audience that you help solve] by [the way you’re solving their problem].

Just fill in the blanks and every time someone asks you what you do, tell them your clearly formulated story.

They’ll have a better understanding of what you do and when someone ask them about you, they’ll have an answer ready. Perfect for getting that pre-qualified referral.


I hope you found this article valuable. I encourage you to try out at least one of the 5 ways and see what you’ll dig up. The results might surprise you ?

As a fun exercise (and source of inspiration), check out Brand Tags to find out what people are saying about some of the most famous brands.

With pleasure,


Atelier Pan | Brand Design for Conscious Entrepreneurs
Become more credible, attract your ideal client and take your business to the next level.

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