In 2023 Annual Conference

Contributed by Carlee Mixon, Space Coast Chapter

Welcome to the world of social listening, an art that has revolutionized the way both Public Relations (PR) and Marketing professionals engage with their audiences, shape brand narratives, and steer their strategies in unprecedented ways. During his FPRA Annual Conference breakout session, “Beyond the Buzz: Unleashing the Power of Social Listening to Create Cultural Stickiness,” Mark Rottensteiner, accounts director at The Agency at UF, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, took us on a journey beyond the conventional uses of social listening and showed us how gain insights that resonate throughout every aspect of the brand’s business.

Gone are the days when traditional PR and Marketing methods were solely centered around crafting one-sided messages and pushing them out to the masses, hoping they’d stick. Today, success lies in understanding the pulse of the digital realm, where individuals freely express their thoughts, opinions and desires in real-time across various social platforms. Over the years, platforms and consumer behavior change, and we as professionals need to evolve alongside them. In addition to evolving, we need to understand that there are nuances for each social platform, and the strategies we use need to be different.

Social listening today allows you to identify, categorize and contextualize consumer behavior in real-time to build an environment around your brand. Whether it’s assessing the impact of a recent product launch, gauging the public’s reaction to a campaign, or managing a brand crisis with finesse, social listening provides an unparalleled vantage point into the minds and hearts of consumers. Thanks to advancements in technology, social listening tools are accessible to businesses of all sizes. From free platforms suitable for smaller operations to comprehensive analytics suites tailored for industry leaders, these tools facilitate data collection, sentiment analysis and trend tracking, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions to create ‘stickiness’ without breaking the bank.


  • Sticky insights: find unique moments where your audience is more unique.
  • Engage people’s curiosity.
  • Understand your audience.
    • Determine what truly drives their behavior and ways of connecting with each other.
    • Lift those voices, don’t overshadow them.
  • Take social listening from a proactive perspective.
  • Instill trust and credibility for both your audience and company as a whole.


  • Meta Ad Library: Use the Ad Library Report to see overall spending totals and details about spending by specific advertisers and by location.
  • Talkwalker: A consumer intelligence Acceleration Platform for enterprises looking to drive successful business decisions guided by actionable insights in real time from the true voice of the consumer. Features include Media Monitoring, Social Listening, Audience Insights, Customer Feedback Analytics, and Social Benchmarking.
  • Tik Tok
  • Boolean search
  • Rivel IQ: Powerful social media analytics. No data scientist required. Crush your competition with on-demand social media analytics, alerts, and custom reports.

Here’s another take on this session contributed by Bobby Parker, Northwest Florida Coast Chapter

Fresh from an enlightening breakout session at the recent FPRA Annual Conference, I am thrilled to share with you the incredible insights I gleaned from Mark Rottensteiner’s captivating presentation on “Beyond the Buzz: Unleashing the Power of Social Listening to Create Cultural Stickiness.” This session, presented by Mark Rottensteiner, Accounts Director at The Agency at UF (University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications), redefined how we view social listening and its potential to transform brands.

The Evolution of Social Listening: From Conversations to Relationships

As Mark so aptly pointed out, social listening isn’t a new concept; it’s been around since the days of Facebook and Twitter emergence in 2007. However, the evolution of social platforms has propelled social listening beyond mere data mining. It’s about understanding the nuances of consumer behavior, interactions and the cultural diversity that shapes these conversations. Social listening has matured to encompass everything from developing new products to understanding indigenous populations and crafting targeted solutions.

Navigating the Dynamic Landscape of Social Listening

In an era where consumer behavior shifts at an unprecedented pace, the key to resonating campaigns and meaningful consumer engagement lies in real-time insights. Mark shared invaluable insights on how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of social listening by focusing on consumers’ social interactions and leveraging these insights to forge powerful partnerships.

Beyond the Sentiment: Cultivating Relationships on Diverse Platforms

One of the highlights of the session was the emphasis on recognizing the variations in communication styles across different platforms. Social listening isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s about understanding the unique dynamics of each platform while maintaining a consistent message. Mark highlighted the importance of examining relationships formed during conversations — how they transition from one topic to another — and identifying key users to enhance brand interactions.

The Age of Always Connected: Integrating into Conversations

In an age where conversations never cease, the challenge lies in integrating seamlessly into these discussions. Social listening empowers us to become active participants, engaging in conversations that matter to our brand and industry. Mark’s insights ignited a realization: by applying analytical techniques to social listening, we can uncover opportunities for impactful change and create a lasting impression.

From Data Points to Curiosity-Driven Innovation

Mark’s presentation also emphasized a shift in mindset — a move from viewing social listening as a data-gathering exercise to unleashing curiosity-driven innovation. This shift in perspective encourages experimentation, fostering an environment of continuous exploration that can potentially revolutionize business strategies.

Scaling Across Brands and Geographies: Lessons from Barbie

The example of the Barbie movie showcased how social listening can extend beyond entertainment to impact diverse sectors. This presentation wasn’t just about learning how to analyze data; it was about understanding how to apply these insights across different brands, industries and geographies. Just think about all the brands and industries that used the Barbie movie in some way to enhance their marketing, even if there was no actual relationship with the Barbie movie.

Cultural Sensitivity and Indigenous Insights

Mark’s insights on understanding cultural nuances, particularly among indigenous populations, were particularly enlightening. By bringing in individuals from these cultures to gain insights through interviews and focus groups, we can create marketing strategies that are not only sensitive but genuinely resonate. This session opened our eyes to the necessity of starting diversity considerations from the very beginning of our strategies to ensure accurate insights and maximum ROI.

Tools to Propel Your Social Listening Strategy

Mark didn’t just deliver theories; he equipped us with actionable tools to drive our social listening initiatives. From the Facebook Ad Library and Talkwalker to Linkedin’s Learning Library, these tools are gateways to discovering trends and gaining deeper cultural insights that can shape our campaigns.

A New Era of PR: Proactive and Partnership-Oriented

Mark’s insights encouraged us to move beyond reactive approaches to social listening. By integrating social listening from the inception of projects, we can become genuine partners to our clients, guiding them towards impactful strategies that truly resonate. The emphasis on capitalizing on outlier conversations to broaden our reach and influence was especially thought-provoking.

A Case Study in Creativity: Smirnoff’s Recipe for Success

The case study on Smirnoff’s transformation during the pandemic underscored the potency of social listening in shaping brands. The journey from social listening to innovative recipe-sharing was a testament to the power of unlocking pure curiosity and experimentation.

Closing Thoughts

In closing, Mark Rottensteiner’s breakout session left an indelible mark on my perspective as a PR professional. Social listening, once confined to sentiment analysis, has evolved into a catalyst for innovation, cultural understanding and brand transformation. It’s no longer just about hearing what’s being said; it’s about forging relationships, crafting narratives and driving positive change.

Let’s embrace this new era of social listening, where data and curiosity unite to create resonating stories that transcend borders and cultures. As we apply these insights to our campaigns, let’s remember that social listening isn’t just a tool; it’s a mindset, a journey and a force that has the potential to reshape the way we perceive and interact with the world.

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