Social Media

The Power of Listening in Social Media

I’m amazed at how few marketers spend time listening to social networks before deciding whether or not to invest in them. Twitter and Facebook are often the perfect examples of networks you don’t necessarily need to participate in, but often companies get pressured into it because of all of the buzz they get.

So what are you supposed to do when your boss says to you: we need a Facebook page? The first thing you need to say is, “that sounds like a good opportunity, let me investigate what our competitors are doing and how our customers are utilizing Facebook and get back to you.” Of course, it never really is that simple. The point you need to make is that you want to figure out what your customers want instead of deciding it for them.

Now it’s time to put your listening ears on and get to work:

  • Find out if any of your competitors are participating on the network
    • How frequently are they participating?
    • What types of messages are they leaving: fun, educational or are they just sending out mini-commercials?
    • How many people are interacting with them?
    • What is the sentiment of those interactions and which ones received the most comments?
    • What time of day and on what days are they participating?
    • Are they running any types of targeted promotions?
    • Which promos are getting them the most attention?
  • Find out how your customers are using the network
    • Are they using it solely for personal reasons and avoiding any type of commercial interaction?
    • Are they asking for input from the community on buying decisions?
    • Do they frequently participate with brands on the network?
    • How frequently are they participating?
    • What type of day and on which days is activity the highest?
    • Are they participating frequently in any contests/promotions?
    • Who are the key influencers on that network?

Let’s assume that based on the information you collected that it seems like a good network to participate on. Now you need to figure out what companies are doing the best job with their marketing on that network. Keep in mind that you can learn a lot from companies outside of your industry.

So before you decide that you should be on Facebook or Twitter or some other social network, take some time and do a little research to make sure it will be worth the huge investment you’re about to make. And remember, there is more to social media then Twitter and Facebook. Don’t overlook forums, industry associations and other targeted communities. In many cases they’ll provide you with perfectly targeted customers and may even lead to more conversions and success.

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Taylor Pratt is the Product Marketing Manager at Raven Internet Marketing Tools. With Raven you can conduct research and analysis, manage link building campaigns, track search engine trends, instantly produce ROI reports for SEO and SMM campaigns, and collaborate with team members with intuitive multi-user features.

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14 thoughts on “The Power of Listening in Social Media

  1. 1st , using the word “power” is very smart and i do agree it is powerful !! listening is required for Sure :) great questions and very helpful , liked the post a lot thanx for sharing

  2. well in some cases social media is no good for companies and i am strongly going to agree with your last point that social media is not just twitter and facebook… there is lot more what you are not going to find on facebook and twitter that is forums i guess still the importance of forums can not be neglected and most of the times forums really brings more conversions then social media…(personal experience)

  3. well in some cases social media is no good for companies and i am strongly going to agree with your last point that social media is not just twitter and facebook… there is lot more what you are not going to find on facebook and twitter that is forums i guess still the importance of forums can not be neglected and most of the times forums really brings more conversions then social media…(personal experience)

  4. I really appreciate this post. In my excitement to help small business owners and entrepreneurs get the most out of social media with the least effort I forgot that it may not be worth the time and effort for everyone. Thank you so much for reminding me – this will help me improve my business by taking care of my customers.

  5. Using Facebook and Twitter for business promotion is the “HOT” in the market but it is really very helpful for small businesses from what i see. Marketing your products and services in the facebook is really cheap and easy plus creating your page and making a fan base can really help small businesses grow big and strong in minimum budget plan especially those businesses who cannot afford expensive marketing strategies social media has become a platform of Gold! But, I agree its never good to jump in without any idea…..One must have good plan and better observation of weeks

  6. Social media are really a great source to drive traffic on our website or blog..but networking upon social media takes some time to become mature enough to gain traffic.

  7. I think Twitter has uses for business – particularly to send folks to more substantive online sources.

    I don’t see Facebook as a particularly valuable resource for businesses unless they have a very dedicated clientele and/or the business has a particular niche which is suited to this sort of social networking. Yes, many businesses have Facebook pages, but I don’t see many who get significant returns on them.

    Blogs have endless possibilities and are more amenable to soliciting feedback than other forms of social media. They are much more interactive

  8. Every day I am spending at least an hour for reading various blogs that I get from Google search engine! It is the first time that I am going to leave a comment just to express my feelings from the expiration that I have received here.

  9. I have dabbled with Facebook and Twitter, but never really very seriously. Just recently I’ve tried a more focused attempt at using Twitter and have found it a surprisingly good way to drive blog traffic.

  10. So much of the resistance from business, large or small, to engage in social media is fear. A lack of not understanding the medium. The fact of the matter is ‘younger’ generations are not effectively reached by other means of advertising or influence. Jumping into social media for any type of business right now – will aide branding/marketing into the future.