The act of listening is defined as “Take notice of and act on what someone says; respond to advice or a request”. Knowing this definition is very important to social media as listening is one of the most important things you will do whilst being involved in social media. The value it gives you to truly listen is understated. We all want to be on these amazing platforms and talk about “interaction” when really a lot of marketers just consider it another way to get their message out.
Let’s turn the tables on that for a second and consider it from this angle – The platforms social media makes available allows consumers to get their message IN to companies. I am sure you can see the potential opportunities from this. A person would not bother to interact with your brand unless it already meant something to them, listening to them can offer valuable rewards and turn the most irate customer into a brand advocate if dealt with correctly.
It is very important that when you are preparing to use social media or setting up your social media division that you consider the types of interaction you will be getting over these platforms and prepare for them. Interaction that requires a response can be divided into three segments:
1 – Opportunities
2 – Customer Complaints
3 – General Enquiries
This segmentation allows you to manage your social media in an effective manner which reduces response times and the possibility of misinformation.
It is important to follow the 4 steps to effective listening:
1 – Listen
2 – Classify/Assign
3 – Compose
4 – Respond
Do not be overwhelmed by the amount of traffic within social media that could come your way. The key to managing it effectively is putting the right resources in the right places to enhance your social media abilities.
A team of people should be responsible for “listening” and “classifying/assigning” the conversations. This team should be comprised of people who are good traffic managers and know how to designate work to the correct people. Spotting opportunities should be a talent of theirs (a talent not everyone has) as they could bring you some great returns on your social media.
The team that actually deals with the communication back to consumers should be separated into the three segments stipulated above. They should make themselves visible over social media platforms and be knowledgeable in Public and Customer Relations. They have to know how to communicate over these platforms and over more personal face to face platforms. Do not be afraid to give them traditional tools like a telephone etc. to help them do their jobs. Just because a complaint comes in over social media it doesn’t mean all the gory details need to be splashed out over the same platform, as long as the resolution is posted, people will react positively. Keep the response times down and keep the customer informed as to when and how they will be contacted and they will be happy.
There are various tools you can use to help manage your social media requirements. With companies only answering about 5% of the questions posed on Facebook (click here for article) it is important to invest in taking this rate higher as the damage to your brand can be immeasurable when these questions are left unanswered. The Omllion Dashboard is an easy to use listening tool which covers your total brand mentions, sentiment analysis behind those mentions, allow you to classify and assign conversations as well as listing your top authors and sources. There are other abilities the dashboard has but for that you can go to their website and take a look. The point is there are always ways to make things work more efficiently, I have had word from Omllion that they will be introducing a new product soon to further enhance your owned media and some of the abilities are astounding.
In conclusion, when diving into social media, remember that it does not fall to the marketing division only but really to all divisions. Listening to what is happening out there allows a company to deliver what consumers expect from them (scary thought, I know) or allows a company to pick up on industry trends very quickly in the B2B area, whatever it is that you do, it never hurts to have your ear close to the ground. Remember the definition of listening is not the same as hearing.