Are You Listening to Hear or To Build?

This is a series I am doing with my good friend and wine fiend, Matt! Hebs done a first part over hereb& Go Read it, itbs really good and we will be doing a third post together from our different perspectives on marketing and more specifically social media! While Matt and I agree on a good many thingsb& we often take a different path to achieve the same thing!!
We hope you enjoy the series, let us knowb& we are thinking of doing these more often!

bListening is such s simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practiceb

Margret J Wheatly

Listening isnbt passive, itbs alive and breathing! Not for the the faint of heart, companies must actively listen. Listen for their customers and potential customers. B This act of listening being done online is not as easy as just signing up for a platform, itbs not being actively posting all your specials and blog posts to ALL the social channels! Letbs not just shout about ourselves all over the interwebz. Letbs talk sales, strategy and community!
Your customer wants to know you care, they want to know you appreciate them and most importantly they want to know you are listening! Are you listening now?

Are you listening?

Who should be listening in your company! Everyone. B No, itbs not that simpleb& while everyone can be listening (employees are your best cheerleaders and advocates) not everyone needs to respond! This is where a Community Manager(CMGR) steps in! Your #CMGR will respond, talk and build your online community that is aligned with your offline community. B With a strategy in hand, content calendar full fabulous content (not just kitten videos) your community manager will set the tone and voice of your brand online! This is done by multiple ways, your CMGR will wear many hats in their role with your company and they will be able tell when to zig when the plan says zag and with some tools and creativity they are going to keep your online community agile and alive. They are going to be cheerleader, advocate, moderator, Mama Bear and they are going to create your own online store!
Donbt get me wrong, itbs not all cat videos and hashtags! There needs to be goals, strategy and a plan. B There is are also, several tools to make this so much easier! There are millions and millions of tweets, facebook posts, instagram pictures, images pinned, etcb& you get the idea. Itbs a daunting task for a brand to listen. B How do they listen and for what?
First, letbs talk toolsb& I have my favourites but I strongly suggest you head over to Social Media Examiner and Razor Social and take a look at what they recommend. B And, while you are there definitely subscribe and follow Mike Stelzner and Ian Cleary, they are wickedly brilliant! B So, back to my favourite tools and in no particular order:

  • Hootsuite– Set up columns with search words or hashtags or import your twitter lists (don’t forget misspellings)
  • Mention– B they monitor whatever you tell them all over the web! Itbs pretty awesome
  • KeyHole– Monitor keywords and hashtags, you can do a quick search or get an indepth analysis with one of their plans
  • Commun.It -Gives you insights into your community for Twitter and Facebook
  • Iconosquare– Letbs you search instagram and community management
  • Google Alerts- Google knows and sees all (at least that’s what they say)

These all have free versions and you can pay for a more indepth analysis. Data is very important and should be a huge part of your strategy and plan. B Of course, itbs important to look at the analytics provided by the platforms themselves.
Now, we have the tools and the strategy and planb&. how do you listen and what do you do with what you hear?
You listen for people talking about your brand, respond. B Yup. Thatbs it! See someone posting to instagram about you? Like the picture, thank them and even share. See someone using one of the hashtags your brand uses a lot, jump into the conversation. B I will caution you, do your homeworkb& look at the profiles before you comment, follow or like. B Have your brand persona thoroughly seated in your head, this sets the tone and conversation with your community. Take the time to talk to the Community, grow and develop relationships with them. B This isnbt going to be easy or even short term, using social media platforms should be ingrained into your every day, itbs not a once in awhile thing or a once off.. Itbs a very long term process that takes thought and planning.
Come back on Monday and see the third in this series, make sure you go check out Matt at Hoot N AnnieB and if you have any suggestions for Matt and I to dissect, we will take them! We love to take our conversations and turn them into knowledge and hopeful help some members of our communities!!