Social Media is all about relationships. In fact, the success a brand will have in the social media era will depend on the relationships it builds. These are the relationships with its current customers, potential customers, friends of customers, influencers of customers and future customers. Some will run deeper than others, but in the end, they are all relationships.
So, how do you build a successful and meaningful relationship? The fundamentals are not much different than a relationship you might have with your mom, your lover, your sister, your friend, or anyone in your life for that matter. You need to share and you need to listen. More importantly, you need to be good at listening.
How To Be A Good Listener
Don't forget that listening is a skill. Like all skills it take time to develop. Here are some good steps to take to make you a better listener. You can benefit from these skills in online and offline relationships.
1. Don't pretend to listen. Really listen.
We live in a world of distractions and as a society our focus is diminishing. Turn off your distractions and focus. Even if it is short periods of time, it is important that you are present while listening. You don't want to just hear, you want to understand.
2. Register what has been said.
When you are listening to someone, you need to make connections in your brain to confirm that you actually understand. Often this means turning off your own mental noise first.
3. Care about what is being said.
If you don't care about what is being said, then you will never make any changes in your relationship. Take the time to think about the topic at hand. If you don't care about it or the person you are talking to, chances are you are not going to listen.
4. Respond in a timely manner.
Sometimes when we are listening we want to respond immediately. We are fired, fueled or sad. Whatever emotion is driving you while listening, take a minute to think about what has been said and respond when you have calmed down and have a clear mind.
Why It Is Social Listening Is Important In Marketing
I'll go into depth in my next article about how to get started and why it's important, but here is a primer.
1. Customer Feedback
Social Listening allows you to hear what your customers like, want, hate, desire, and need. This is an unbiased opportunity for you to take that into consideration and adjust your product or service accordingly.
2. Potential Leads
This is a huge opportunity that can't go unnoticed. People are on the social web talking about everything. It's your chance to pounce.
3. Gain Insight Into Your Market
By monitoring specific keywords that are relevant to your industry you are able to see what people are saying. You will start to notice
4. Identify Your Influencers
Are people talking about your brand? Are they talking about it often. Are they talking about industry related topics? These can be your influencers and brand ambassadors.
5. Explore new content
When people share online you may discover new platforms and content you can use. You never know where your audience and customers hang out online. Here's a great chance to dig a little deeper and engage with them there. I discussed the value of Instagram for marketers in a previous post.
In my next blog post I will show you some examples of how you can listen to conversations happening on the social web and use them to your benefit.
Do you have experience with social listening? What benefits have you found?