Listen Up!

Listen Up!

Do you know what’s being said about your brand and products outside your own social media channels? There are endless reasons to listen to social media conversations. Here’s how you start and what you can do with the information you gain:

The importance of social media listening is growing at rapid speed and social media listening command centers are becoming a household concept for large corporations. Why is it that some companies still don’t listen?

Most of them claim one of the following:

  1.  “There’s too much noise out there. I don’t know what to look for.”

  2. “I don’t have time to listen. I can barely manage to create content enough and respond to the engagement we have on our own channels. Listening to what is being said is like opening a Pandora’s box. I’d rather not know about it.”

  3. “It’s too expensive.”

Marketers forget that people talk about your brand, whether you like it or not. Many companies are surprised at the proportion of mentions outside their own channels.

Don’t monitor – listen!
The term social media monitoring has slowly given way to the use of “listening”. Not only does it say something about your willingness to actually hear what consumers have to say but the term also indicates you’re doing so much more than just figuring out what consumers say about your brand and your products. Here’s how you can use social media listening and the benefits:

  • Identify questions, complaints and feedback about your brand. Are there any misunderstandings about your products, company or employees you need to address? Does your audience have any questions or feedback? This not only supports customer service, it works as an early-detection system. Are there any problems you should be aware of?
  • You can demonstrate your expertise within your field by commenting on industry-related forums and blogs, not only about your own services or products but also about your industry in general. It is a very effective way of demonstrating your expertise, and that your company’s brand is one that customers can trust.
  • Show you are interested in your customers and how they use your products by replying to any kind of feedback from them. When you do have a positive story, share it on your blog or your website. This can help others and cut customer service time, but also demonstrate you listen to customers and are genuinely interested in them.
  • What do people talk about within your field? Are there any trends or issues that people complain about?
  • Track your competitors and posts about your competitors’ products to determine tone of voice from consumers.
  • Where is the discussion happening in your field? What social media platforms? Should you divert your attention to any new platforms? Are there any blogs or forums worth following more closely?
  • Identify influencers and brand ambassadors.
  • Find potential future competitors by searching for the product type/industry.
  • Identify interesting potential employees by identifying key influencers.
  • Identify leads and sales opportunities. There are dozens of examples where companies have listened in on complaints about their competitors, and then gone in to save the day for these customers.
  • Use your listening tool as a content hub for a branded blog.
  • Form and maintain an employee advocacy program.
  • Detect product development possibilities.
  • Find out who re-tweets your tweets and acknowledge them.
  • Gather user generated content.

Don’t let your social media channels become mere outlets or loudspeakers for what you have to say. Showing your customers that you can listen and take action on what they’re saying to you and about you will be a great advantage as social media becomes more and more important.

This article is written from the personal perspective of Jenny Soederman. The opinions and views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Miller Group Advertising.

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