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Instagram is no longer a place to simply post snapshots. From shout-outs and questions to customer complaints and concerns, having a strong pulse on what your followers want is always a plus. Instagram is a very busy place. As a result, your business needs to keep an ear to the ground through Instagram listening.  What do your customers want and expect from your business? What are your prospects’ first thoughts of your brand? How about your rivals? The answers are out there. They will help you make smarter business choices, if you listen to them. Now time for a crash course in Instagram listening. Your goals may be brand awareness, social selling or customer service. This guide will help you reach those goals.

What is Instagram listening?


Instagram listening is the process of looking at conversations, about topics, keywords, brands and hashtags related to your industry. Then, you use those insights from those conversations to inform your social media plan. Beyond social media, insights from Instagram listening can be used to.. 

-Assess your overall brand health

-watch the activity of your rivals

-Spot potential customers, partnerships and influencers

-Inform marketing and product decisions

-Uncover industry trends 

Brands can not afford to live in a bubble when it comes to their Instagram presence. Through social listening, brands can better understand everything. Instagram listening helps put interactions such as mentions, comments in shares into a context that will help brands grow. 

Why Instagram listening matters so much


Instagram is a strange beast as far as customer interactions go. Not only do you have traditional customer service concerns to respond to. You also have user-generated content and industry hashtags to keep an eye on. Here is a shining example of how social listening on Instagram can help you connect with customers. Brands such as TOMS manage to illustrate both the challenges and need for Instagram listening. 

TOMS’ previous #endgunviolencetogether campaign is a prime example of brands getting real. Some brands may rightfully second guess such a bold approach to activism. However, TOMS tackles the issue head-on. Doing so has resulted in a hugely positive response from customers. But you better believe the brand listened to their base before rolling the campaign out. 

TOMS also has hundreds of thousands of users creating user-generated content on Instagram. In addition to activism and customer service, they are likely keeping a close eye on which of their products are doing the best among their base. 

Don’t forget: Instagram listening is about more than @mentions, comments and #hashtags. It is vital to know what Instagram listening is. However, it is  just as vital to break down what Instagram listening is not.  

Implementing an Instagram listening strategy

Understanding Instagram listening and how it works is only half the battle. How do you turn all of these metrics and observations into action? Your social listening strategy boils down to your goals. Below are the ways that having an Instagram listening strategy can help your business. 

Improving your products


If you wish to know how to improve your own products and services, who better to ask than your own fans? However, not all feedback from your fans is going to be direct. Some see likes, comments and shares as mere vanity metrics. However, they can be a valuable currency for finding out what your fans hope to see. 

Identifying potential customers

Target Audience

Social listening is not just about the customers you have. It is about finding new ones, too. Industry and community-specific hashtags are a goldmine for finding people who may be intrigued by your product. This rings true for people who do not know about you yet. As well as people who might be looking for a new spot in your space. Let’s say you are a local restaurant in search of potential patrons and foodies in your area. Instagram is a treasure trove of potential exposure and insight telling you what customers want. 

Discover industry trends


Social listening is great for tracking industry trends. In addition to knowing the tags your fans follow. It is smart to understand how they are responding to these trends. This will help to influence your own marketing campaigns. 

Inform your content strategy

Content Strategy

On a related note, Instagram listening can keep you from copying your rivals. For example, brands must have different tones. They must have different content calendars and captions. If you really want to stand out on Instagram, you must take these into account. Good listening can help you to uncover tags and trends. Ones that your rivals may be missing out on. 


Social listening is one of the most crucial trends for social-savvy brands to watch. With a large base of fans voicing their thoughts, Instagram should be a top priority as far as listening goes. Therefore, do not let those critical conversations and moments with your fans fall by the wayside. Smarter Instagram listening can inform everything from individual campaigns to your overall marketing plan. 



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