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Stop, Look, Listen…the first #socialmedia code

Our Uk Social Champion Lilach Bullock, a leading social marketing consultant, discusses how to effectively filter social media noise.

We’re taught as children the importance of listening. In the UK the Green Cross Code is a perfect example of how we’re taught at a young age the art of effective listening and why it’s so important to do so.

But good habits can be broken! It’s very easy to hear someone but to actually listen and focus on what someone is saying can be two very different things.

In the business world, listening plays a crucial role in communicating with our customers. It builds trust and can deepen relationships. It also plays a critical role in building brand loyalty…hard to do in this increasingly fickle digital world! But with more and more businesses trading online, our listening skills have been forced to adapt. We can no longer rely on hearing someone’s tone of voice or looking at their facial expressions. Written communication has never been more important.

So how do we ensure that we’re listening to our customers?

It’s time to get back to basics – remember that age-old business tenet of know your customer? It applies even more so to business today.

The more we understand about the way customers think and what they want, the better we will be able to cater to their needs. Many businesses nowadays aren’t able to deliver to their target audience what they want/need, and the main reason for that is the fact that they are not listening to them.

Fortunately, social networks, forums, blogs and other digital channels offer people all over the world a simple way to express their views about anything and everything. There is a gold mine of unfiltered and unsolicited opinion out there!

However, on the downside, since it’s so easy for anyone to get their message across, it can lead to a lot of noise – which makes it that much harder to listen and to distinguish between what is truly relevant information, or simply noise.

The best way to make sure you hear the right social conversations is to listen to separate aspects, one at a time:

  • Customer Service – Listen to your audience online to find out in real time if they have any feedback, complaints or questions. It’s important to identify these issues as soon as possible and respond in real time in order to keep your audience happy.

  • Your brand/products – Use tools and social media to find out whenever someone talks about your brand or about one of your products. By listening closely to both negative and positive comments, and then putting your conclusions to good use, you can create a better brand and better

  • Your competition – Listening shouldn’t be limited to discussions only surrounding your brand, but also your competition. What are audiences saying about your biggest competitors and are they listening to them? In many cases, the observations made looking at your competitions’ audience can also help your business in the long run.

  • Your industry – What are people talking about in your industry? What are the latest trending topics? Being up-to-date with your audiences’ latest interests will help you create better content for them, get more new ideas for content, and will help you grow your social media presence in the long run.

There’s no denying the importance of listening; and, fortunately for businesses, their audiences want to be heard. Even if they are being negative about your brand or one of your products or services, most people want to be acknowledged and see businesses take action.

As overwhelming as all this noise can become, with the help of technology, it doesn’t need to be complicated. So make sure to listen to your audience – and show that you not only heard them, but are willing to do something about it quickly, efficiently and transparently.

Interested to see how your current capability compares to the rest of Europe’s leading businesses, take part in #TheSocialInfluencer Survey and access the latest benchmark report for free.

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