instagram listening guide
Social Listening

Instagram Listening: Learn Everything Your Audience Has to Say About Your Brand

Learn how to do Instagram listening for brands and tap into valuable audience insights to improve your social strategy.

Andreea Udescu
Andrei, Andreea Udescu
Table of Contents

These days, social listening cannot be overstated; it's an indispensable tool that allows businesses to tune into online conversations, understand their audience's sentiments, and act accordingly.

Instagram listening is actually an effective tool used in social media strategy, enabling brands to better engage with their audience, and should not be seen as a breach of privacy.

It's about monitoring the platform for mentions, hashtags, and trends, not eavesdropping on personal conversations.

Let’s explore how to use Instagram social listening to your advantage and how this will change your brand image for the better.

Instagram Listening

  1. What is Instagram listening and why is it so important for your strategy?
  2. How does Instagram social listening work?
  3. How to use Socialinsider for Instagram listening
  4. Examples of successful Instagram listening strategies
  5. Best practices for Instagram listening
  6. Brand listening on Instagram

1. What is Instagram listening and why is it so important for your strategy?

Instagram listening involves actively monitoring the social media platform for any mentions of your brand, competitors, products, or relevant industry keywords.

It includes keeping a close eye on hashtags, comments, posts, stories, and Reels, giving you an unrivaled understanding of your brand's social media presence.

The magic of social listening on Instagram lies in its ability to provide real-time social media insights and data.

This information can help you understand the social sentiment around your brand, track competitors, stay on top of industry trends, and identify influential individuals or trends within your target market.

Through Instagram listening, your brand can be more proactive and responsive to changes in your industry, as well as in consumer behavior and preferences.

In our context, listening is about gathering public data from the platform to improve marketing strategies and increase your engagement rate.

It doesn't involve infringing upon users' personal conversations. Instead, it's about observing and learning from what users willingly share on the platform to further enhance their experience with your brand.

Why is social listening on Instagram so important?

Instagram has become a critical platform for businesses to connect with their customers. Being so highly visual, it's the perfect place for brands to showcase their products or services in a creative and engaging manner.

Beyond just promotion, Instagram allows businesses to connect with their audience in a personal way.

Through Instagram listening, brands can tap into organic conversations about their products or services, take part in these discussions, and leverage insights gained to refine their marketing strategies.

As such, Instagram isn't just a platform for promoting a product; it's a powerful tool for brand-building, fostering brand loyalty, and boosting consumer engagement.

2. How does Instagram social listening work?

Instagram social listening involves several elements - hashtags, social media trends, mentions, and more - that provide valuable insights into consumer sentiment and behavior.


Hashtags have become a universal language of Instagram.

When you monitor hashtags relevant to your business, you tap into a world of conversations that users are having about your brand and your industry.

These can include your brand-specific hashtags, general industry hashtags, or trending hashtags.

Trends on Instagram often reflect what's currently popular or viral within your target audience.

By keeping an eye on these trends, businesses can participate in relevant conversations, adapt their content strategy to align with what's hot, or even spot potential crises early.


Mentions - whether they're tagging your brand or commenting about it - are a goldmine of direct feedback.

These can help you understand your customers' experiences, perceptions, and expectations of your brand.

3. How to use Socialinsider for Instagram listening

Socialinsider is a comprehensive social media analytics tool that empowers brands, agencies, and marketers to track and analyze their social media performance.

With a special focus on competitor analysis, Socialinsider provides detailed insights into your competitors' social media strategies on various platforms, including Instagram.

This includes data about your Instagram engagement, posting habits, audience growth, and content performance.

In the context of Instagram listening, Socialinsider can track brand mentions, hashtags, and comments, enabling you to gauge social sentiment analysis and understand how your brand is being discussed in the digital sphere.

The tool also provides social media reports that are easy to understand and share, making it a powerful asset for teams looking to make data-driven decisions for their social media strategies.

But wait - there's more.

If you've been looking for social listening platform, you should know we've been cooking up a new tool for all social listening enthusiasts out there, called (very intuitively) Instagram Listening - and it's finally here.

Let us see what Instagram Listening can do for you.

Starting in the Home section, we get an overview of all the hashtags in a particular project.

social listening project overview

To start my research, I added some of Coca Cola's most popular hashtags to see how many posts each of them have, what are the main topics for each and the main languages people use when tagging their posts with these specific hashtags.

Then, I wanted to go more in-depth, so I picked one hashtag to focus on and find out more about:

engagement data social listening

There may be a lot of posts associated with a specific hashtag. So, to get to the ones I'm most interested with, I tweaked the list to my liking using the available filters.

An analysis can’t be complete without seeing how influencers contribute to a particular hashtag (whether it's a branded hashtag or a campaign hashtag).

social listening influencers list

And let's not forget Benchmarks.

Social Listening allows you to analyze your brand's performance in context, comparing it to that of your competitors or to industry standards.

As long as you add all hashtags - branded, campaign, or popular topic - you can easily see how they stack up against each other.

social listening benchmarks

Here I compared the main brand hashtag - #cocacola - with two of their most popular campaign hashtags, #recipeformagic and #cocacolaultimate, and saw exactly how they compare with each other.

4. Examples of successful Instagram listening strategies

Several brands have successfully used Instagram listening to transform their social media strategies.


Glossier, the beauty brand, famously uses social listening to inform product development. They have built an engaged community on Instagram and use their feedback and discussions to identify gaps in the market and create products their customers want.

glossier instagram listening results


Airbnb use Instagram listening to understand what kind of experiences and destinations their community values, informing their marketing strategy and helping shape the experiences they offer.



Nike also actively monitors mentions and feedback on Instagram. They use these insights to drive their product innovation and craft marketing campaigns that resonate deeply with their followers.

nike instagram listening

5. Best practices for Instagram listening

Define clear goals

Before beginning your Instagram listening journey, have clear objectives in place.

Are you looking to monitor brand reputation, uncover user sentiments, track competitors, or identify industry trends?

Go beyond direct mentions

Don't limit your listening to just direct mentions of your brand.

Track associated keywords, industry-related terms, and common misspellings to ensure you're not missing out on valuable conversations.

Analyze sentiments

Quantitative data like the number of mentions is important, but don't neglect the qualitative aspect.

Analyze the sentiment behind the mentions to get a clearer understanding of your audience's perception of your brand.

Engage with your audience

Respond to comments, queries, and complaints promptly and politely. This will help foster stronger relationships with your audience.

Stay consistent

Instagram listening isn't a one-time task. Keep it consistent to stay updated on the latest trends and conversations revolving around your brand and industry.

6. Brand listening on Instagram

Brand listening is a more focused subcategory of social listening, where attention is primarily directed towards understanding the public's perception and discussion surrounding your specific brand on Instagram.

This involves tracking not just direct mentions, but also indirect mentions, sentiments, customer queries, complaints, and reviews. It also includes observing user-generated content.

Differences between brand listening and general social listening

While both social listening and brand listening involve monitoring online conversations, they do differ in certain key aspects.

General social listening typically encompasses a wider view, tracking conversations around specific industry keywords, trends, competitors, and so on, to gather insights that shape broader marketing and business strategies.

On the other hand, brand listening is a deeper, more concentrated approach.

It's about understanding how your brand is specifically perceived and discussed within the digital space.

The primary goal is to optimize brand image, resolve customer complaints promptly, leverage positive reviews, and create a more personalized connection with your audience.

Strategies for effective brand listening on Instagram

  • Track direct and indirect mentions: Monitor not only the instances where your brand is directly tagged, but also where it's mentioned in captions, comments, or hashtags. Also, keep an eye on misspellings or alternative brand names that people might use.
  • Monitor sentiment: Use a social listening tool that provides sentiment analysis. It's not enough to know how often you're mentioned; it's crucial to understand the sentiment (positive, negative, neutral) behind these mentions.
  • Engage with your audience: When you notice a mention, especially a question or complaint, respond promptly. It shows that you value your customers' feedback, which can strengthen your brand image.
  • Leverage UGC: If customers are sharing posts featuring your products or services, it's a sign of satisfaction and engagement. Share these posts on your own profile (with their permission), as it can foster community and enhance your brand image.
  • Take action on insights: Translate the data and insights you gather into action. If you notice recurring complaints about a certain product feature, consider how you can improve. If a particular type of post garners more engagement, incorporate more of it into your content strategy.

Final thoughts

Instagram listening is no longer just a 'nice to have' - it's an essential component of a successful marketing strategy. The insights gleaned from Instagram listening can be the difference between a campaign that resonates and one that falls flat.

Embracing social listening on Instagram can empower you to craft strategies that truly align with your audience's needs, interests, and conversations. So, dive in, start listening, and let the voices of your audience guide your strategy to new heights of success.

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