How well is your business listening? Your business is being talked about by fans and critics, customers and leads, and you could be in control if you knew what the conversation was in the first place.

‘Social listening’ is the term that is often used to describe the process of systematically and strategically keeping a tab on conversations around the web around your brand and keywords.  Web mentions of your business mean that your brand is well and alive, enough to elicit reactions and responses on the web. If no one is talking about you, your brand is probably dead or was never quite there.

Social media encourages people to publicly shame brands when they are outraged, and sometimes hell can break loose if you are not paying close attention. If a customer complains, on social media or not, you better be listening. Your customers have plenty of choices, and if your service is not making them happy, then someone else will sooner or later replace you.

The science of social listening has gathered new momentum in recent times with many tools and systems enabling brands to keep an eye on mentions of certain relevant keywords and brand names. There are a number of tools that allow your business to keep a tab on relevant conversations and social mentions. While social media does allow some visibility, especially via the use of hashtags, there are dedicated tools like Social Mention and Mention that can help set up an internet watch over your chosen keywords and brand mentions. You may want to especially monitor the following:

  • You brand name
  • Your competitor’s brand name
  • Your industry niche
  • Your services
  • Your big accounts (or influential customers)

There are plenty of benefits to employing social listening and monitoring as a daily part of your professional life.

  1. You know what the world is saying about you. Good or bad. Knowing early gives you unfair advantage and time to think up the best response.
  2. It gives you insights and news about your competition.
  3. It provides inspiration and content for your website
  4. It provides an opportunity to interact with potential clients and customers directly, in a context which is relevant and meaningful for them. By listening, you can find prospects who may be looking for your services.
  5. You are in a better position if you hear a customer complain about your service, and you are able to take care of it before it takes care of you. If you are serious about customer service, then you need to take social listening seriously. It helps handle a crisis before it snowballs.
  6. It helps to refine and polish your existing service and product or provides ideas for a new service coming directly from the consumers themselves. Users can sometimes provide ideas that the best innovation exercise cannot yield. In the past you had to pay and organize focus group to get customer feedback, social listening makes this process much simpler.
  7. It helps you identify influencers and brand ambassadors, people who support your products and who you can collaborate with in the future.
  8. It also gives clues on where most of your users hang out, which social media platform they use, which websites and forums they visit.
  9. This is also how you can compile a list of FAQs that are most frequently asked, literally.
  10. You can track how your brand is perceived, and how well it resonates with the target audience. Is your brand personality serving its purpose and giving the right message?

If your brand knows what is being said about your service or product, it has time to come up with a response in a timely manner that can leave everyone happy and satisfied. That’s what happened during a conference in Vancouver, where an attendee tweeted that while his room in Delta was nice, the view wasn’t that great. It was a normal tweet to his followers, and he didn’t tag the hotel or take any names. Imagine his surprise and delight when he came back to his room and found a plate of sweets and an offer to change his room to one with a better view from the hotel. He was impressed, and he let all his fans know about the great customer service from Delta through his social media accounts and blog. He got a room with a view, and Delta earned some good PR brownies. That’s a good use of social listening and happy outcome for everyone!

 

One thought on “Social Listening: The first step to connecting with your audiences”

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