Why is listening in social media so important?
Any good business motivation book will eventually include text like, "every good conversation starts with good listening."
According to Peter Drucker: "The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." He suggests we need to give it a bit of effort and read between the lines if we want to be exceptional.
Social media requires time and effort to stand out amongst the masses; To be exceptional. But when that happens the effects are amazing!
Everyone wants their business to be thought of as… AMAZING.
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The main reason for adding social media to any marketing strategy is to encourage conversation with your customers and potential customers. To develop a relationship so that when they need your product or service, you are top of mind.
When it comes to social media, anyone can post, tweet, and re-tweet.
But it takes an active listener to serve and respond to the customer that wants to be heard!
What To Expect When You're Expecting
Why are some brands engaged in social media without social listening?
Quite frankly, for so many small business owners, social media is still new. While some have jumped on the bandwagon and may even have a developed social media marketing strategy, others are just beginning. They may not know that they can listen, should listen, or that there are tools available.
Your Business, Your Baby
For many, their business is their "baby."
Would you care for your baby without some plan of making sure they are okay at all moments?
You want to hear if there is a problem so that you can respond. So, you head to the store, and choose a baby monitor.
Following that logic, does it make sense to enter into conversation related to your business without listening?
According to Ric Dragon (@RicDragon) of Dragon Search, and author of Social Marketology, "…from a benefits/risk viewpoint, not listening would be negligent."
So when should brands become aware they should participate in online listening? According to Ric: "Hopefully immediately."
Implementing online listening into your social media strategy would make your online marketing experience and results meaningfully unique to your business.
You don't have to worry about timing or pain – here are 5 benefits of social listening:
Be part of the conversation about your brand
With 900+ million users on Facebook and several millions on other social networks, you can bet your bottom dollar that if you're a big business brand, people are talking about you online. The same is likely true for medium sized businesses, and even small businesses.
So, you can either join and steer the conversation relative to your brand, or you can let others steer it for you. What do you want to be said about your brand?
Be part of the conversation about your industry
If you're a small business, you may find more dialogue online about your industry. So, if you're an Italian restaurant that serves stone fired pizzas, you might listen to and engage in conversation about the restaurant industry, and also food, pizza, and casual dining.
Engage with those that are talking about your brand, key words and business categories. This allows you to steer the conversation, but also form valued alliances.
Identify unknown competition
Sometimes a new source you did not know of appears. By listening, you would learn of potential competitors. If they are doing something you are not, this is also your opportunity to examine if that product or service is something you should explore offering. Sometimes listening also reveals ways to save money!
Identify new collaborators
Many times two heads are better than one. Interested in holding a promotion, but you're short on time and/or staff? You might be connected with a business that offers complimentary products or services that might partner with you on a project. A win/win.
Bringing It Home
Are we talking about an extra component to your plan here? Yes.
But listening in social media is important — In fact, the one aspect of social media marketing that that would ensure your business – your baby – grows and thrives to adulthood.
Show And Tell
Are you engaged in online listening?
Are there social savvy peeps who can share tools to help get the job done?
Please share your thoughts in the box below…
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Keri is the Founder and CMO of Idea Girl Media - A Social Media Marketing Agency. She works with small business owners, non-profit stakeholders and public figures to achieve social media success and positive online reputation. Most often: Real Estate, Interior Design, Restaurants, Travel Services, Entertainment, and Government Agencies. Keri's insight has been featured at Social Media Today, SteamFeed, and she has been quoted by Business Insider. Non-fat lattes, travel & quick wit make Keri smile, and she's always enthused to meet new people!