The Power of Listening on Social Media

Ok, let me come right out and say it…if you`re using Social Media because you want to open those sales floodgates then you`re going to be very disappointed! Stay with me on this one please. a woman listening to social media

This is not what Social Media is all about, as we have discussed before people do not go on Facebook, Twitter, etc to be sold to. They use their Social Media channels to connect with their friends and family and to talk quite publicly about their problems, issues, concerns and needs. They also like to recommend businesses to their friends, services and products and as a business you need to be there, with a presence and, more importantly, a listening ear for when that happens.

Social Media Strategy – Your Priority

Your priority when it comes to your Social Media strategy has to be to listen. Listen to your followers, find out what they are saying about your industry, listen to what they want, what they are looking for, listen to what they are saying about you or your brand and then when the time is right you step-in and engage with them. Your engagement, trust and relationship with them will be your sales pitch.

Businesses have failed to engage

Social Media has changed the way in which we market our business, it has had a powerful impact on how we do business. Sadly, when it comes to Social Media many businesses have failed to engage, they do not listen to their customers and I do not want you to fall in to that very same trap.

The art of Social Media listening is vital to your business, it gives you a window into how your customers think, feel and even react to your brand and your marketing efforts. This is not going to be a magical overnight success and needs patience, understanding and time to fully understand and engage with your potential and existing clients. Social Media is going to be part of your long-term marketing strategy and help your business become sustainable but now is the time to get started or improve your Social Media marketing efforts, start today to improve your tomorrow!

My father, a wise man

My father always drummed it in to my elder brother and myself that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth and to use it in that ratio! Wise words indeed.

Listening is more than just an action, it is a skill. It not only requires you to listen and hear what your followers are saying but to also interpret and respond to it in the right way. Effective Social Media listening is crucial for many reasons:

•    To monitor what is being said about your industry
•    To monitor what is being said about your brand
•    To answer peoples questions and place yourself as an authority within your industry
•    To find opportunities for sales and new clients
•    To respond to negative comments or complaints

One of the most important reasons

One of the most important reasons to engage in effective listening is to address the concerns of your followers because by not responding in a timely and appropriate manner your business could be seen as tone deaf and ignoring what your customers are saying, imagine what harm this could be doing to your brand.

By listening and responding quickly and positively this will show your audience that you care about your customers, how powerful do you think it would be to turn an unhappy follower into a happy one, to turn a negative into a positive?

Good Social Media listening skills will provide a pathway towards effectively addressing concerns and issues of any type to your audience`s satisfaction.

How to listen effectively & what to listen for image of a rabbit with headphones on

Building up your Social Media skills will start with reading what people are saying, locating patterns that are indicating there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Here are a few ways to guide you towards better social Media listening skills:

1.    Find trends – You need to be listening out for both positive and negative comments. Quite often these will be individual comments but can soon escalate in to a stream of comments that you need to be listening to and responding to. Learn to quickly spot what conversations need to be addressed.

2.    Respond quickly – Your audience will respond positively when you respond quickly. It proves you are listening to them and that you want to address any concerns or questions they may have. Answer in a friendly manner and try to stop those negative trends before they even start.

3.    Be honest – Again my wise old Dad always told me “telling the truth is much better because it`s harder to remember a lie” is so true. Customers always appreciate honesty and the truth will always deliver a consistent response. If I do not know the answer to a customer`s question I will tell them exactly that and tell them that I will try to find the answer out for them, this is generally accepted well as I am being frank and honest with them rather than trying to bluff them. Remember, trust is very hard to build but is so easy to lose!

Effective Social Media Listening

Effective Social Media listening will come to natural to many of you I am sure, but it can take time and needs practice and will probably never be perfected. However it will offer your business an effective and simple way to address any concerns your audience may have. Remember, a concern that one person raises may affect many others this is why it is crucial to react quickly and positively.

I am going to leave you with 2 simple questions and remember point 3 above when answering them…

Are you listening effectively to your audience on Social Media?

Do you have an effective Social Media listening structure in place as part of your customer service, Social Media strategy and management?

And remember…two ears and one mouth (thanks Dad!)

Until next time…