They’re Talking…Are You Listening?

soci

In today’s new and emerging media world, there is much talk about about how social media is key to the success of any company.  This is obviously correct, in that marketing has become socially-focused over the years, due to the growing need for customers to have hands on access to their favorite companies and products.  Marketing is now a two-way form of communication instead of the one way form that came with traditional media, and a lot of companies can benefit tremendously from what social media provides.  More and more companies are rushing to social media to establish their presence in a sea full of communities, and they are aligning social media strategies to fit the needs of their business accordingly, but how complete are their strategies? Companies spend so much time implementing their social media marketing yet forget that maintenance is just as important.  Part of maintenance is listening to what customers are saying.  Just think about it…You are a business owner and you just set up your first Facebook and Twitter company account…(congratulations by the way!)  Now how do you manage how effective your efforts are?  Listening or social monitoring is a method that allows businesses to keep track of what customers are saying about their companies.  It allows companies to know what they are doing right, and what they may need to improve upon.  An example of a company that is doing social media monitoring right is Dell, one of the largest technology distributors.  In 2010, Dell built an enormous social media listening command center to monitor conversations surrounding its products and services.  CMO Magazine describes Dell’s social media command center as a sexy cross between an air traffic control tower and a TV production studio.  The company tracked thousands of tweets daily, in 11 different languages and trained over 5,000 employees in social media listening, offering classes which allow employees to become certified to monitor conversations in the social media world.  This allowed all areas of the business to get involved because conversations can be routed to the appropriate department with can best handle the situation at hand.   For example, Search Engine Watch highlights social media monitoring with the following diagram:

social-listening-insights-departments

HR, Sales, Product Development, Marketing/PR, and of course Customer Service all are functions of a business that can benefit greatly by utilizing social media.  Each department has its own unique function that contributes to the success of the brand.   A brand not only encompasses the actual product, but overall  components such as the various department, that contributes to the image of the brand.  By listening to what customers are saying, companies are now able to improve all aspects of their business unlike ever before.

So the next question is mostly likely, well how are companies able to listen? There are so many different tools available which allows companies to be able to track and monitor what is being said about their brand.  Dell uses Radian 6, which allows the company to monitor and track comments, complaints and questions in real time, and as a result they are able to respond accordingly.  However there are tons of others that companies can use such as HootSuite and Sprout Social.  Here is a video which features a compilation of different social media monitoring tools that you can use for you business.  Happy Listening! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “They’re Talking…Are You Listening?

  1. Feedback is key to a company that wants to be successful and move forward to the next step in their strategic plan. For instance, in healthcare, we use a company named Reputation.com, which funnels comments and complaints (from many different reputation sites) to our marketing staff which funnels that our to the appropriate departments that can take action against any neutral or negative comments. Its so essential in the health industry to listen to our patients not only during their visits, but online as well. We prefer to make calls to our patients who have had a mediocre or bad experience to get them to come back and allow us to improve. At the very least, the feedback allow the doctors and staff understand how they doing and being perceived by the public, thus correcting it for the future.

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  2. Thank you for your response. Feedback is indeed the key to the survival of any company. How can a company possibly know how they are performing if they do not have strategies in place to listen to their customers? It also helps with PR crisis too. Since marketing has now transformed to two-way communication, there is now an increased risk that a PR crisis can occur. All it takes is one extremely dissatisfied customer, especially in the industry that you work in – Healthcare. This is one of the reasons why it is imperative for companies to have an active monitoring strategy in place.

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