Social media and the art of listening

Posted on: November 14th, 2012

By now, most companies have received the memo; social media is valuable. But while brands are making the mad dash for their piece of the digital pie, it seems that some are still missing the point. One important step that is often left out is the simple act of listening.

Someone famous once said: ‘Learn to listen. Opportunity could be knocking at your door very softly.’ When it comes to social media, listening may only be the first step, but an important one at that. So let’s rewind for a moment and take some time to listen…

Hear that? It’s the sound of millions of people chattering online about the brands and products they interact with every day.

People have more ways of talking about brands than ever before, but it’s what we can learn from this endless data that makes it all the more valuable for businesses. In fact, a listening plan is just as important as the interactive approach. It can complement existing procedures, define new strategies and fix problems as they arise.

Social media and the art of listening

Here are my top three tips for effective listening:

  1. Be strategic. How does listening fit within your social media game plan? With hundreds of listening and monitoring tools on the market, consider developing a criteria to compare what’s on offer and which tools will help you achieve your goals. A good place to start is this article by Smart Insights.
  2. Be observant. It’s one thing to hear what people are saying, it’s another to recognise where and how they are saying it. Learn about the interaction within a community and get to know the social ‘norms’.
  3. Be creative. Listen for opportunities. Not all content should be deciphered based on obvious key words, such as ‘skin care’ or ‘moisturiser’. Rather, track down the natural conversations that are likely to take place and help people at the point of need. For example, a conversation with a friend could go like this: ‘My skin is so dry at the moment, I don’t know what to do’… See where I’m going with this?

Do you have a listening strategy in place?

Posted by Ashley Gatte

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