Since the advent of social media, people have been taking to social platforms, speaking their minds, and making sure they’re heard.
It’s a natural effect and consequence of giving the masses their own individual pages: They create and post whatever they want to.
Be it blog posts, status updates, tweets, pictures, videos, etc., everyone’s messages have an outlet.
Regardless of the how, the Internet has successfully accomplished one of its principal—fundamental—functions: Communication.
When businesses started using social media as well, a whole new world of possibilities opened.
The biggest of them being how easily problems, concerns, or suggestions could be escalated.
Before, the best anyone could do was write a letter to a company and wait for days (at best) for a response.
Now, a quick message, post, or tweet is enough.
It’s then at the company’s discretion to listen and plan how to act upon it.
This is the basic process and sound principle of social listening.
It’s killing two birds with one stone: You connect and listen to your customers—the latter arguably the most important communication skill—and you get free publicity.
It’s a win-win situation.
So why should you even consider social listening?
Because now, it’s more important than ever, especially the steps you need to take after.
Here are a few.
This is the crux of social listening.
You have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like from which to gather your feedback.
The meticulous will also check the comments section on articles web-wide.
Collate everything, from the smallest mention in a post—it doesn’t matter if it’s a neutral sentiment—to the most shared articles and see how your company, brand, or product is being talked about and perceived.
The main social listening objective is that you listen to what the public says not just about your brand, but also about your competitors and the industry.
Don’t just hear them out—take their words to heart.
This is also where social media analysis can be employed.
Now that you have their feedback—your data—it’s time to think about what to do with it.
Are there too many negative statements?
If yes, then how do you improve your service or product?
On the other hand, if you’re swimming in praise and good comments, how do you ensure you retain that likeability and make that level of quality consistent?
This is when you make your preparations.
What approaches work best? What factors must be considered?
Are there risks, and if so, will the rewards be worth it?
What strategies can be implemented to satisfy your existing customer base and acquire new ones?
These are the deliberations that await your collected information.
Act on Plans
When you’re done strategizing, it’s time to act on them.
The long hours of discussing and preparing culminate in the execution and implementation of your campaign.
All that’s left is following the plan to the letter and, when the results come in, they may turn out better than you expected.
Knowing is half the battle.
How you will act depends entirely on the information you gathered—basically the intel for your operation.
Neglecting a thorough approach to this step usually results in poorly planned and resource-draining mistakes that could have been avoided.
Take the time to listen to the people on whom you will depend on for the success of your business.
Social listening is arguably your best bet at intel-gathering.
Your customers are talking to you in the hopes their words are heeded.
You owe them taking the time to listen.
That’s why it’s called communication.
In that sense, you should also make the effort to talk.
Don’t think of your business as a request board that caters, reactively, to your customers.
Instead, be human. Converse with them. Interact with them. It’s important to socialize.
It makes them feel they belong to your group.
Besides, who knows? Perhaps the idea for your next breakthrough might come from them.