Productivity Hacks: Brand Management Special

Whether you’re consciously pushing yours or not, the thing about personal brands is that you already have one.

There are notable differences between the various different types of brand.

But if you’ve got a digital footprint – or any kind of reputation really – an impression of you will linger in the minds of the people you work with.

And in an age where you’re able to at least keep an eye on that impression, wouldn’t you?

Social Listening’s a concept which automates the monitoring of your brand. So you’re able to stay on top of your online presence, while focusing on offline activities. Like actually recruiting.

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What’s Social Listening?

It’s keeping an ear out for discussions on the internet. Or using apps to track social media activity.

Companies use it to monitor keywords – usually mentions of their name or their products – to find out if anyone’s being mean about them on the internet.

A good example is McDonald’s finding out people said their chicken nuggets were made of glue, fingernails and bits of lego. They ran ad campaigns disputing a number of myths and paid to show them everywhere.

Granted, that isn’t the way recruiters would use it. But from a marketing perspective, you can see why the idea’s got legs.

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How do recruiters use it?

Unless branding falls under your remit, the only reason you’d need to see what people are saying about your company online is to find out whether or not their reputation’s trash.

If it is, let’s be bold and suggest you at least look at what else is out there.

But then what are people saying about you, individually?

On LinkedIn? Twitter? Facebook?

Apart from satisfying your own digital narcissism, you might use social listening when you need to leverage your knowledge of the market. By tracking keywords and players in your industry for mention in articles, content, and online discussions.

Then you’re taking that insight into BD calls, sales pitches, meetings. It’s knowledge on top of what you get from your network already. The difference being, it could be an open door to new business, increased knowledge of your market and more nuanced relationships within it.

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Apps and tools

Most of these programs take less than five minutes to set up and will save you hours of sifting later. To maximise their impact, it’s best to focus on the key players in your industry and the keywords your market uses.

There are plenty of paid services out there. These are the free ones.

Google Alerts

You’ll need a Google account to sign in, but this free tool emails you when new posts containing your favourite keywords hit the internet.

Set up multiple alerts and define search filters based on sources (news, videos, finance etc), geography, how many results and how often you get them.

Dead easy to set up and a passive way of testing whether Social Listening’s right for you.


Boardreader’s a search engine which pulls results from less obvious places. Think message boards, forums and news sites, rather than the front page of Google.

You can filter Boardreader’s results, compare terms and generate charts, if you’re into that sort of thing.


‘If This Then That’ curates keyword mentions from RSS feeds. Which means anywhere blogging occurs. This is handy if you spend time trawling through the same websites looking for new industry content.

Simply tell IFTTT what you want to hear about and it collates relevant posts for you in one place.


A major name in multi-platform social media management, HS allows you to set up “search streams” that pull results from social networks based on posts that contain the keywords you specify.

This 80 second video shows you how to do it. It works on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the fourteen people worldwide that bothered to set up a Google+ profile.

The HS App Directory has a few social listening tools too. Hootsuite’s free for individuals and different pricing plans unlock additional functionality.

Crowd Analyzer

This is an integration from the Hootsuite App Directory. Crowd Analyzer’s the “first Arabic focused internationally recognized social media monitoring platform”. It’s also free.

Mimicking HS functionality, it’s strength is analysing differing Arabic dialects to determine appropriate sentiment and relevance to internet commenters. One for recruiters who do business in the Middle East.

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These are all-in-one social media monitoring suites that allow you to filter keyword searches, respond to messages and comments, track your metrics against competitors and customise automated reporting. All from a single dashboard within the app.

All of these platforms offer a free trial before you have to commit to a pricing plan.


Monitoring, competitive analysis, custom insights and finding influencers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, forums and more.

Sign up for a free trial then pick one of these pricing plans.

Sprout Social

A smart inbox, social CRM, team features and a big focus on analytics across your major social media platforms.

All pricing plans include a 30 day free trial.


Positioned as a hashtag tracker, Keyhole does all that alongside keyword and user mention reportage.

Plans are free for 7 days and five different pricing options can be found here.


Boasting “visual listening” (which I would probably just describe as “seeing”), Talkwalker analyses images as well as all the usual features of text search. They also cover print, TV and radio media too.

You can get a free demo before picking a pricing plan.

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Using Social Listening well

There’s arguments to suggest social listening could alter the way recruitment companies communicate.

Not just getting to the odd fiery review quickly, but for individual Consultants understanding how the market talks, and tailoring their content and messages from there.

As new technology comes out, market knowledge will remain a key differentiator for Consultants in crowded sectors. Being ‘someone who knows their stuff’ is the loftiest of all socially applied titles and the career benefits of having that kind of reputation are both invisible and enormous.

Think of social listening as a time-efficient way of developing your birds eye view of the market.

And if you’re ready to spread your wings with an agency that knows the value of cutting edge tech in today’s recruitment game, click here.