The Importance of Social Listening

Hello? Hello? Is anyone listening? No one likes when they are having a conversation with another person who stops paying attention midway through the chat. Or listening to someone who only talks about themselves. Why? Because communication is a two-way street.

This is true for online conversations too.

While it’s simple enough to understand this in a “real life” example, people and businesses all too often forget this when it comes to their online and social media presence.

Get the most out of your social engagement by utilizing social listening techniques. Try avoiding these personality faux pas:

The Self-Promoter

It is uncomfortable when you are speaking with someone who only talks about themselves. It is good to toot your own horn for a job well done, but not all the time. This is especially poor form when you are trying to engage with the person you are speaking with.

This is exactly what it’s like when a company gets a social media account and only posts about what’s going on in their business. Current and potential customers are engaging with you because they want to hear what you have to say. They are not following you just to hear your sales pitch over and over again. It’s about creating brand awareness and connecting on a personal level with your followers.

One step of social listening is to post content to your social platforms that your audience actually wants to read. And then slide in the sales/marketing posts sporadically. If you’re a B2B company, your customers want to understand how you can help them. They want to see that you understand their business and can help them improve it.

Consider posting industry trends or new technology articles on your social media sites. This will position your company as a leader in your industry and give valuable information for your followers beyond a sales message. And that way, when it comes time to post about something new at the company, they are already engaged with you and interested in what you have to say.

The Flaky Friend

Friends are huge blessings on our lives, whether we need an adventure or a shoulder to cry on. But having a friend who goes days – or months – at a time without responding to you is stressful. You are never sure where you stand with them and these relationships fade away over time.

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that all the work goes into writing the posts. Once you get to that point, you post the content and then you are all set, right? Wrong. When a post is published, that’s when its visibility begins, not ends.

The goal of the post is to interact with your audience. Whether you want them to click through to an article, like or share your post, etc. you want them to do something with it. Social listening means you are active on these platforms and having conversations online. If a customer called your business with a question, you wouldn’t put them on hold and never pick up again. If a customer writes to you online and you don’t respond in a timely fashion then it’s like you are putting them on hold and never returning. You could easily be losing customers because of this practice.

It’s a fair assumption that the conversations about your business are going to happen online whether you are there are not. You should want to be leading and participating in those conversations. Don’t be the flaky friend. Be the partner your customers know is reliable.

The Student Without Notes for an Open Book Test

One of the biggest complaints by business executives about social media is that you cannot track the ROI. That’s not true, there are just different ways to track awareness, engagement and conversions.

Being active on social media is more than just having a page and posting to it. It’s also about tracking your company’s mentions, likes, influencers, etc. If you aren’t tracking this information, it’s like a student refusing to use notes on an open book test. You have all the information right there, but you’re not opening up your book bag and getting the data out.

Monitoring mentions of your brand and looking for trends can go a long way. If customers or business/community leaders are mentioning your brand in their posts, make sure you are engaging with them too.

You can also create a social media-only campaign and monitor engagement with it. Track that success and improve upon it for next time.

These strategies will be key to mapping out future posts and business practices. You can learn about what people are saying specifically about your brand and how to fine tune it just by listening to them online.

The Out-of-Touch Grandma

Now, we’re not saying that all grandmas are out of touch. But we’ve all known that one who still buys her granddaughter unicorn sweaters well into her teen years because she liked them when she was 6.

Real time market research is a huge benefit of social listening. You don’t want to be like the Out-of-Touch Grandma. You don’t want to assume that what worked for your clientele before is the same as what they want today. There may be emerging technology they want more information on. There may be a shift in how they like to communicate.

The best part about this piece of social listening is that you can lead the conversation, be a part of the conversation or simply listen to others. You can actively see what people are talking to each other about and trending topics being shared. This is especially relevant on Twitter where it’s easy to track conversations around keywords by hashtags. And also on LinkedIn where the environment is business-oriented, including groups where you can engage in conversations with professionals with similar interests.

If this seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Partnering with a third-party marketing firm that specializes in social media can equip you with the knowledge and tools to succeed in social listening for your business. Need help? Contact us today!

 

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About the Author

Beth Kereszturi

Beth is our Lead Web Marketing Strategist who, besides drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, helps clients generate more business. Whether they’ve partnered with Proximity Marketing for a decade or just joined the family, Beth helps clients achieve success and achieve measurable results.