Keeping up-to-date on what people are talking about in online forums or social media is important, and you should be asking yourself a couple of simple questions: What should companies be looking at to determine the interests of their customer base to create a click-worthy campaign? Outside of that base, what other groups are out there that may be interested in your goods or service? This is what we as social media marketers refer to as social monitoring and it is a valuable tool that can help translate web traffic into actionable leads for your company.

Social monitoring can help you evaluate your current customer base on a deeper level and moreover, help you find new ones. It is no longer enough to simply see what your customers are buying. Now, you have the opportunity to find out what your customers really care about–and you don’t have to employ a focus group to figure it out. What you do have to do is join in on the conversation. This is as simple as being an active participant on your company’s social media pages. Look to see what people following your brand are interested in, talking about, and complaining about.

You should also evaluate your site’s followers and see if any patterns emerge. For example, if many of your followers are having the same technical issue with a new product your company recently released, then being proactive and posting a “how to,” or a “work around” video will address your customer’s needs. It will also signify that you are paying attention to your customer base and, more importantly, that you care about their user experience.

Social monitoring can also be beneficial when determining what kind of new content to add to your site. Social media can also provide insights about new and emerging markets your campaign can begin to target and new markets bring new customers. For example, a manufacturing company that produces bevel gears may traditionally market towards a machine shop. If they evaluate their social media and learn their followers include inventors, farmers, and architects, then that company has identified three new potential markets that are not part of their expected customer base. And all they had to do was read the comments section.

Social media is chock-full of potential markets. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your various social pages can help you understand how your brand is succeeding and where it needs work. It can also help you determine the most innovative marketing strategies; develop clickable, tweetable, and shareable content; and discover new customer bases.