Listening to your customers using Social Media is essential, especially in a time when it takes very little effort and cost to do so. However, despite the advantage you have thanks to today’s technology, listening to the consumers is still not an easy task.
It is a process that should be part of every one in your organization, in order to make the customer the most essential part of your operations. Traditionally, listening is done through marketing and research. This limitation is erased by using Social Media. With the use of Social Media, you—and everyone else in your organization—can listen to your market.
Again, listening to the consumer is not an easy task. Of course, it is possible, but it requires effort, time, and patience—not to mention the employment of the right strategy when listening to Social Medial users. Here are some tips which can help you listen to your consumers properly:
- Know your market.
Listening can only be effective if your customers are into Social Media; otherwise, your efforts will be futile. This is self-explanatory, of course, because you are only interested in knowing the opinion and response of your customers. It is also important to know how many of your customers are online. In order to see positive results from your listening efforts, at least 15 percent of your customers should be part of the Social Media population. You can use Social Media to monitor your brand online if this percentage exists on the Social Media. However, you are required to use Social Media as a brand monitoring tool if 35 percent of your consumers are part of the Social Media population. This is because the said percentage is already a sufficient representative of your market. Listening can still be done if less than 15 percent of your consumers are part of the Social Media. However, because this is not a sufficient representation of your total market, the scope of your efforts will narrow. The information you will get from this endeavor will not be sufficient to represent your consumers. This usually happens when the brand or the product has a older market base.
- Think big—
but start small. If your organization handles several brands, it is not wise to implement changes in terms of using Social Media in a wide scale. Instead, employ the changes in a small brand or product and observe the changes and the developments from there. Starting small will enable you to see the changes in a much more controllable scenario, making it easier for you to implement improvements. It is best to start with a single brand, and then let the growth take its natural course. It is not unusual for these programs to spread. Also, imagine the cost and the implementation difficulties if you start the program at a wider scale. Who will manage the program? How can they implement it? Will your vendors be able to grow with you? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you begin a listening program for your organization. You can find more info online. There are some forums of social media managers and some blog posts as well pertaining to social media management. This could be a great way for you to get started.
- Dedicate an experienced team.
Listening efforts through Social Media are very new concepts in business, but it is still possible to get a team with people who have sufficient experience for this endeavor. This is a new concept, an entirely new world, especially for people used to traditional marketing and customer interactions. It is not enough that the head of this effort is skilled and learned about the ins and outs of Social Media. Most likely, the head of this endeavor would be someone from your marketing team or from sales. But one man cannot do the job alone regardless of qualification. The staff also has to be experienced and skilled enough to get sufficient information from various sources. The staff also has to know what the information they will collect means to you and the organization in order to utilize it properly.
- Get someone who can interpret the information.
One of the minor setbacks of using Social Media as a listening tool is the volume of information you can get from it. While information is always useful, not all of it is useful. Therefore, you need someone who has sufficient skills to sift through all of the garnered information and classify which information is useful and which is trash. Furthermore, he has to be able to interpret the collection information and relate it existing materials and sources. Listening can provide insight, but it is unlikely for this insight to just jump out from the pages of your listening effort. It has to be interpreted together with other syndicated research, sales reports, among other information
Listening through Social Media is very helpful, but it requires effort and preparation to make it work. It is easy to get information through Social Media; anyone without prior experience can easily browse through blogs and social networking sites to get this done. But proper implementation will be the key into making this effort into an advantageous endeavor. Without proper implementation, listening through Social Media is like a having a car you cannot use. The vehicle is there, parked in your garage, waiting to be used. But to use it, you need several skills (for one, you need to know how to drive) and tools (you need to load it with has, for instance) in order to make it work.