Hints on listening…

When social media first made it big there was a lot of noise about the importance of companies listening to their customers talking on these channels. Everyone has their own preferred method of communication, and many folks are turning to the social web to share their thoughts and ideas about life and about your business. Social media is just another piece of the communications puzzle, and it’s become a regular part of our existence. Social media listening (or monitoring, or however you want to call it) is a non-stop effort. Will it need amending? Yes. Will it change? Yep, it might not even be recognizable in a year should you push it aside for bigger and better? Well, have you pushed your telephones aside for email? Let’s look at what listening might entail:

Hint 1: Refine, refine, refine.

Since social media have been around a while and actually, despite (or thanks to) the hype chances are you’ve already got a listening program in place. Should you feel it’s not providing you with the results needed you might want to review both programme and strategy. Below are few thoughts – what do you think?

Review your keyword search terms and phrases. Review frequency is normally based on factors like new product releases, industry speed, the goals of your listening programme, and the flow of conversation around your brand. To start, make a monthly review and reduce or increase the frequency of that review as needed.

Review the metrics and goals of your listening programme. You’ll very likely have to adjust your goals to account for the findings of these listening efforts. Companies often start off listening to everything about their brand and industry. That kind of listening is overwhelming and sometimes useless because the sheer amount of information. After that initial listening phase, use the data from your efforts to target on the forward-thinking, future-driven conversations that will matter most to your company’s progress. While of course keeping an eye on the Johnses’s …

Hint 2: Process what you hear.

It is too easy not to do anything with what you’ve heard. If that information isn’t being processed and acted upon, what’s the point?

Create seamless workflows. Well, THAT’S easy to say, isn’t it? Nevertheless, it will be key to your social media strategy to create simple but efficient workflows that ensure that social media input and results are steered into the right parts of your organization. In simple terms you need to lay out who, what, how, when, where, and why of your responses to comments and questions. The difficulty is that comments are often cross-functional which might make it difficult to nail “who’s responsible.” In order to avoid bottlenecks, you’ll very likely need cross-functional processes for listening. This might mean assigning a social media listening role to one person in each department.

Filter. You might never be able to respond to all questions, comments, and recommendations. Ensure answers to the issues that matters most by creating a database of feedback and recommendations and establish a rating system to identify which of those pieces of feedback make the most sense to act on.

Acknowledge those who contribute to your brand conversation, but don’t feel obligated to fulfil every request.

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