socialmedialisteningIf it is used without prejudice, ‘Social Media Listening’ can be used by companies to the benefit of business development, sales support, or personnel and product development, to name a few.

In addition to creating and sharing content on social media, it is always worthwhile to listen what’s going on before starting your next social media campaign. The following social media usage tips might come in handy:

Product development: When companies listen to current and potential customers, they can identify their needs, problems and preferences, which makes social media perfect to support the development of products and services. We know that it does not always work out to ask people directly what they want, but social media listening can at least bring the right ideas. On social media platforms, it is easy to see what customers think about product tests or new innovations. When companies observe the discussions around their competitors and their products, the problems that have been discussed there could be avoided.

Sales: Lately, there has been a lot of talking about social selling. Like marketing and communication, sales get increasingly popular in the social media channels. In practice, this means that social media listening, content creation, and participation in social media discussions are integrated into the daily actions, in addition to the cold calls. In future, businesses will most likely look for customers mainly on the social media channels and forums, which is why it is important for the sales professionals to be active in social media and to follow discussions happening there.

Customer service: Customers give feedback almost in real-time on social media, making listening an indispensable tool for customer service by allowing quick reactions to complaints and negative comments.  Active listening to customers clearly helps to recognize crises and find solutions rapidly by talking to customers directly and clarifying any problems.

Searching for partners: Where can you find guest bloggers for the website, a partner agency for the upcoming marketing campaign, or a dealer who can resell your new product? Well, social media can obviously be used to search for suitable partners, as usually the industry's most important experts are quickly highlighted in discussions and customer comments. A company that is active, interacts with customers, and strikes the right tone is easier for users to contact than a vendor that cannot be found anywhere.

Recruitment: The use of social media for recruitment is becoming more widespread. Especially when looking for a professional in marketing, communication, or human resources, companies expect potential employees to be able to manage the social media channels and logically look for them in social media. An easy way to find active and interested social media marketing experts is to follow their industry discussions e.g. on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Personal branding: Personal branding is nowadays much more common than just a few years ago. Particularly trainers for job seekers and social media experts recommend to market themselves to stand out from the crowd. In addition to recognizing and highlighting one's own strengths, networking and the follow-up of innovative role models in social media is a strong part of personal branding. To be original and different from others, it is therefore good to know how others market themselves and create their own persona.

Recognizing future trends: Trends come and go, and it is getting more and more difficult to make predictions. Following trends and looking for silent signals in blogs should start in social media discussions, simply because people spend more of their time there. Topics and products mentioned in Twitter, Facebook, or other social media channels by influential users, trendsetters or experts, are likely to be found in the shopping carts and discussions of many other people.

By Daniela La Marca