While much of the focus of social media and your online presence tends to be on how to deliver your message and communicate with your customers, there’s another aspect that is often overlooked: listening. Having a strong social media listening program in place is crucial because much of the discussion is happening online. There are plenty of tools you can use for social listening, starting with one of my personal favorites, Google Alerts.
And even when we talk about brand monitoring, the focus tends to be on reputation management and knowing when people are saying bad things about you and your brand. This is important, but it’s not just about finding and responding to the negatives. It’s also important to hear the good things that people are saying about you, as well as the general mentions of your brands.
This is such a simple thing for small businesses, and there are free tools to help you out. This was brought home to me just last week with a very simple Twitter exchange. You can see the exchange below, which began when my friend Jason did what many of us do: he went to Twitter looking for suggestions on how to spend his iTunes gift card. I just happened to see his tweet, and decided to respond, suggesting some of my favorite music, including Sugar & the Hi Lows.
And that’s when the good stuff happened, because the band was paying attention.
The interesting thing is that I didn’t even use the bands Twitter handle, which would have made the “listening” easier for them. I just mentioned their name, and clearly they got the word, and got it fast. Obviously they are tracking mentions of their name on Twitter, and they responded.
I have no idea whether Jason would have purchased any music from my suggestions without that one tweet from the band, but their response is what sealed the deal and got him to download their album.
They listened, they responded, they got the sale.
And notice, their response wasn’t some sort of hard sale. It was just a pleasant response. Certainly this is a small scale example, but it’s the type of thing that can really make a difference for a band. Jason downloaded their album, and if he likes what he hears, he’s very likely to tell others about them. And because of how they reached out to him, he might even share that story along the way.
This is the sort of thing Frank Eliason initiated with Comcast a few years ago, and other large brands have followed suit. Small businesses are perfectly suited for this sort of thing, and can certainly benefit from such a social listening program, especially since so few are doing it. It’s one more way you can stand out and rise above the competition. There are plenty of tools you can use to manage your social media presence, but choose one that allows you to monitor your brand as well.
Listen and respond. It might just seal the deal.
How are you monitoring your brand online? Have you seen the benefits?
- Five Step Process for Using the Social Web (spinsucks.com)
- The Small Business Social Media Swiss Army Knife (inklingmedia.net)
- Four Steps to Create Your Personal Brand (spinsucks.com)
- Social Business Enables More Meaningful Customer Relationships (edelman.com.au)