One of the hardest lessons for any early user of social media is to listen. We’re so trained to provide rapid-fire messages that are designed to keep the consumer fixated on our brand that we forget to listen to what the market wants. Take a deep breath and listen first then wait. In Social Media, this is what gets results because it builds relationships.
As marketers, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on understanding our customers. We’ve run focus groups, and surveys and asked clients to fill in feedback forms. Not only has this cost us financially but we may have asked ourselves whether we were getting a ‘true picture’ from those 12 random people sitting around eating snacks answering questions about the colour of our logo or the customer service experience they had.
One of the distinct advantages we have, as we market a business or service across social media, is that the social network’s facilities are providing us with reporting data on the activities of their users. Take that a step further and all the information a user enters when setting up their account results in a range of demographic information helpful to understanding your market.
All of this ‘listening’ provides low-cost or even free information that can help paint a picture of how your market is responding to promotional material and the quality of products and services you provide. By using social media management tools you can quickly see results as clients respond. This enables you to keep agile in the marketplace.
Listening also provides incidental information when we engage in the conversation. If you can imagine being able to listen in on a bar-b-cue discussion about what the neighbours think about your latest product you have an insight into what social media conversation can offer you.
As clients talk on your page and use keywords you are able to pick up their tone and emotions to see whether your brand is respected or if your latest ad campaign has captured the heart of the public. One of the key lessons of listening over time is that you can pick a spike from a trend. Often a business will overreact to a spike of feedback that is driven by an external factor. The ability to discern whether a spike will turn into or has turned into a trend will save your company thousands of dollars and change you from reactive to proactive because you listened first.
Is your business listening?