Can you hear me?
It could easily be a conversation with my seven year old “Make sure you spend as much time listening as talking”, “Pay attention, you might miss something important” or, “If you listen you might find out something really interesting” and so on. I’m sure we all do our best to be interested and engaged in the […]
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It could easily be a conversation with my seven year old

“Make sure you spend as much time listening as talking”,

“Pay attention, you might miss something important” or,

“If you listen you might find out something really interesting” and so on.

I’m sure we all do our best to be interested and engaged in the conversations we have in our personal and professional lives but we take to social media (because we all know we should be there!) and it’s all too easy to become a toddler again – shouting over others, not paying attention and probably not even notices when someone says our name.

And so to social media – why listening on social media can reap event greater business rewards than posting.  By tuning in to the right conversations and using the right tools, you can respond, engage, and delight.

Social listening—just like listening in real life—is about identifying and analysing the meaningful parts of a discussion.

We’re all starting to get our heads around the twitter #hashtag idea but the world of social listening goes way beyond that.

So what should you be listening for?

Well, that depends on the goals for your overall social media strategy. If you’re looking to enhance your customer service experience then you need to ensure you’re picking up on mentions of your business and product names. Top tip lose the“@” symbol when watching the mentions of you or your brand. Many people forget to @-mention the company or they don’t necessarily want to mention you directly.

If you’re watching out for a new trend in your industry then it’s those keywords you need to hunt for. A few month back we were watching “Instagram advertising” really closely.

If you’re on the hunt for new business (and why wouldn’t any of us be?) then listen for people looking for your services. We know a local gardener who’s done a great job picking up new business by listening and responding to requests for gardening work in local Facebook groups.

Once you’ve thought through these questions you can build a very simple social listening strategy which will help you keep your finger on the pulse.

So what tools should you use?

And lastly if its topics you are following – use them! Read the great articles, comment on valuable blogs, share content that will be useful to your followers and become famous for your social media interactions.

My favourite and easiest social listening tool is a twitter only beaut – Tweetdeck. Here you can monitor any lists you have set up, keywords, product names and search terms in nice easy lists.

Another very handy source of cross channel listening is Mention.com where you can monitor your brand name or a search term of your choice across the web and social media. It’s a great tool but you can only set up 1 alert for free so either cough up the cash or swap the term you monitor tactically.

All major social networks offer to send you updates with any mentions or valuable content. In most cases, you can customise the emails you receive so that you’re getting the ones that fit your listening strategy best.

An oldie but a goodie is to work with Google alerts. All you need is an exisiting Google profile and you can set up alerts at www.google.com/alerts to scour the interest for keywords of your choice – best to choose to have them sent together as a ‘daily digest’ though if you want to avoid an inbox deluge!

So what do you do with it all?

If you’re picking up on conversations about your brand or products and services it gives you the right to reply – to thanks people saying positive things and share them to back the good news even better. If the conversations you pick up are ever less favourable it gives you the chance to put it right, avoid the spread of any negativity and also give you insights to revise your services or standards.

If it’s Continue your social listening to find out more about their businesses, current suppliers and needs so you can wow them with a tailored proposal.

And lastly if its topics you are following – use them! Read the great articles, comment on valuable blogs, share content that will be useful to your followers and become famous for your social media interactions.

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