Social Media Listening: What Are Your Customers Saying About You?
Conversations are going on about your brand and company—whether you’re participating in them or not. You have to stay tuned in to what people are saying about you so you can not only respond, but also better understand your customers, developing trends and problems brewing.
When reading social media posts and blogs, it may be difficult to know what’s really being said. Written comments are the hardest to decipher since there’s no tone of voice, facial expression or body language to help you interpret the meaning.
It’s important that you:
- Read between the lines when you’re monitoring your social media
- Reread the message several times to ensure understanding—this is a must
- Ask yourself if it makes sense the way it is written, or did the writer really mean
Eight Steps to Successful Social Media Monitoring
1. Define an objective: “I want to monitor to be sure we address all dissatisfied customers”
2. Choose where to monitor: Where do your customers hang out?
4. Triage: You should be reading all the social media messages that concern you and your business so that you can focus on what’s most important to address
5. Develop a plan: When a blogger raves about your product or service, how do you work it so both parties benefit? How do you deal with irate customers?
6. Involve others: Plan who in your organization will be involved (and how) in various customer interactions (product questions, customer service questions, etc.) and how their input will be disseminated to the customer
7. Listen first: You’ve found the community your customers frequent. But don’t jump in immediately and start plugging your product. Listen and observe the culture and rules before you speak and get to know the members.
8. Participate in inbound and outbound conversations: Outbound means that you’re participating in discussions within your area of expertise. Inbound means people have contacted you with a specific question or request for help. They may be leaving feedback or compliments.
Select the right tools for your strategy: Your list of what you need in a monitoring tool is driven by your objective in Step #1. Deciding the type of data you need to reach your business objective will help you understand whether you need analytics, historical data, charting capabilities, integration with existing systems, free or paid, etc. You’ll want to do a lot of homework.