4 Steps to Stop Listening and Start Social Listening

4 Steps to Stop Listening and Start Social Listening

It’s 2015 and we still can’t move past the concept of social listening.

Enter “social listening” into Infegy Atlas and you’ll find there are more than 100 posts each day by digital influencers and bloggers mentioning the subject. The vast majority treat the subject with almost a sense of reverence…simply putting one’s ear to the proverbial ground to hear what people are saying about their company, product or service is groundbreaking. Yes, we can all agree social listening is important, but it’s time to take a more active stance rather than treating the act of listening itself as a defining strategy or competitive advantage.

You have some companies, such as Target, who have moved beyond social listening to having organic social media conversations that influence customer policies and strategies. Yet most companies still fail to realize the true power of off-channel social media data. The things people say about you rather than to you can be incredibly instructive both within marketing and beyond to other business units.

We’ve agreed that social listening tools such as Infegy Atlas or Sysomos Map are a good thing for the customer data it provides, but what can you do after listening?

  1. Align Content Strategy: Does your current content strategy reflect what consumers and others are actively discussing?
  2. Involve Inventory & Supply Chain: Consumers are quick to take to social media when a brand disappoints them. Consider social listening as an early warning system to help identify if, for example, people can’t find a claw hammer in Atlanta or a Beck’s beer in Chicago? You can uncover this with social data and shift your product to where it’s needed or where there is a shortage of inventory.
  3. Innovate: Find a need that is not met in the marketplace that your company or product can credibly meet with some updates and R&D. It’s time to explore and validate those findings with more primary research to see if there is a new opportunity.
  4. Update Messaging/Value Proposition: Are you focusing your advertising on what motivates a consumer to buy? You might discover that your customers don’t buy based on price but maybe some other attribute, such as safety or quality, which will allow you to improve your margins.

These are just four quick examples that can help move a brand from social listening to acting on the significant amount of insight that can be gleaned across hundreds of millions of social channels. Your community managers, analysts and affected executives (everyone in an organization) must become action-oriented rather than passively listening.

Please, let’s evolve beyond listening before the next article comes out.

Article written by Jeff Bodzewski
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