Social Media Strategy: Are You Ready to Listen?


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Social Media Strategy: Are You Ready to Listen?
Written By: June Bachman ~ 8/25/2023 9:00:00 AM


Before you jump into the Social Media arena and start pontificating about your great products and services ... STOP.  If you haven't listened for a while ... you're not ready to jump into the deep end just yet.  Good social media skills have a foundation in good listening skills.  Take the time to listen first.  As you listen, you'll discover the social networks that are most popular with your niche - where your community members are spending time and participating.

Listening is a CRITICAL step in the process of social media engagement.

  • Listen to your stakeholders (who are your community members?)
  • Spend time at the beginning of your social media efforts to figure out what your stakeholders/community are saying.
  • Listening provides you with a grassroots understanding of what others really think about you, your company, your brand, your products and services.

How to listen effectively – WHY, WHAT, WHERE & WHO

Why you should be listening.

  • People have always talked.  Today they are talking on the social web ... on blogs, social networks, forums and videos.
  • Reviews from "average people like me" are powerful.  They influence consumer attitudes and behavior ... and they also show up prominently in search results.
  • Listening will help you better serve your target niche community - because you will know what they are saying to others ... and to you.
  • There is valuable information to be gleaned about your customers, your competition, and your competitions' customers. Think of listening in the Social Media arena as your “real-time focus group.

What you should listen for.

  • Listen for comments from community members about your business, your brand, your products and services.  Hearing what others are saying about you, your company and your brand will help you figure out how to insert yourself into the conversation.
  • What is the tone of the conversation?
    • Positive, negative, neutral? Reward those who speak positively about you, your brand, your company, your products and services. If the tone is negative - get to the root of the problem and fix it.  Fixing the problem may change or improve the tone.
  • Size of voice - the measure of how much, how often others are saying things about you, your brand, and your company.
  • Bear in mind that nothing being said is almost as bad as people saying negative things. But everyone starts somewhere - and that is with no one chatting about their business.  After you’ve mastered listening we will help you with ideas and strategies for stimulating the conversation.
  • What conversations are taking place about your competitors?
    • Are there opportunities for you to gain insight into your market through the positive and negative comments you review about your competition?
  • What to listen for specifically:
    • Your business name, your name, your tagline.
    • Remember to search common misspellings.
    • Your product names.
    • Your competitor's business names.
    • Your events.
    • URLs for your blog, website.
    • Industry terms and phrases - important niche keywords.
    • Try not to be too general or use generic terms -- your search results will be too large.
  • As you are listening think about the tension and passion you hear.  Recognizing tension and leveraging passions is a quick way to implement more effective marketing ... and a great way to get to know the sentiment of your community as you listen intently.
    • Tension is the pain people express ... I wish, That was hard, it hurt when . . .
    • Passion can be positive or negative ... Love the way that, Craving peanut butter, That was totally awesome . . .
  • The context of listening is the "who" and the "where."
    • Who you should be listening to?
      • Influencers - people who others listen to and take the advice of.
      • Customers - their wants, needs and pains.
      • Competitors - what are they doing well, where do opportunities lie?
  • Where should you be listening? 
    • Where are conversations happening about you and your products?
      • Forums
      • Blogs
      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • Search engine results

Don't just listen for the sake of listening ... listen and learn based on what you are hearing.  The listening process is iterative - you'll need to start listening as the beginning of your Social Media strategy. And, plan to continuously listen as you grow and implement your plan.

Listening is a tactic that you must do as you get started with Social Media. Moreover, you must also continue to listen continuously. Our challenge to you this month is to start listening to what others are saying about you, your brand, your products or services. That way … when you read next month’s newsletter article, you’ll be ready to being the next step in your Social Media strategy … engaging!

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