Listening on Social Media

Individuals spend one out of every seven minutes each day on Facebook. Nearly 340 million tweets are sent daily.

If statistics serve us well, one thing is for certain: lots of people are talking through social media.

But, who’s listening?

Dr. James Nathan Miller said, “There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for.” Within the social media realm, this statement certainly holds true. Throughout every dialogue that takes place on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other platform, there is always an opportunity, one that can open doors, influence others and connect an emotion with a brand. That ever-present opportunity is the ability to listen intentionally.

Being attune to relevant conversations within social media, even at the most basic level, offers many advantages to businesses and organizations. When delving into these online conversations consider three stepping stones of advice:

Listen for the opportunity to humanize your brand.

Monitoring what consumers are saying online allows you the opportunity to relate to their situation at hand. Perhaps it’s a less-than-satisfactory customer experience or, on a more positive note, a stellar product review. These conversations happen all the time, and listening for them allows us as employees, business owners and community citizens the opportunity to respond with empathy or appreciation – often times when it’s least expected.

Listen for the opportunity to promote company culture.

The beauty of company culture is that it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that cannot be replicated. Allowing your company’s innate culture to shine through in social media conversations is a vital part of connecting with others. Listen for an opportunity to use humor, provide a helpful solution or even to go above-and-beyond the call of duty. These are all components of the very fabric of companies, and they should be reinforced, not overlooked, when it comes to social media.

Listen for the opportunity to establish rapport.

Listening within social media conversations is not only a matter of brand awareness: it’s equally a matter of monitoring what’s happening within your industry as a whole. Being engaged in these conversations allows you to discover potential customers who might be in need of your product or service, perhaps because they’ve been displeased by another company’s offerings. Moreover, listening to what’s being said within your industry allows you the opportunity to provide feedback and advice and establish yourself as a proactive member of your market.  While you may not close any deals immediately, you can certainly demonstrate that you are attune to the needs of customers and are an ever-present ear if they choose to explore options that might be a better fit for them.

Conversations – millions of conversations – are happening online every day. Within each of these conversations is the opportunity to connect on a human level and to reveal elements, qualities and intricacies about your company that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. As an engaged listener within social media, you must realize that behind every Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account is an individual: a husband, daughter, customer and business executive who has needs.

Are you willing to listen?

By Maggie Hodges