Why Listening Is Important
Social media marketing provides the ability for companies to build strong, lasting relationships with their target markets. The key to developing relationships is engaging in compelling conversations, and one of the fundamentals of being an excellent conversationalist is good listening skills. Twitter and Facebook, the most notable social media marketing outlets, are ideal platforms for listening.
Although Twitter and Facebook provide outlets for touting services and products, there are other valuable opportunities businesses tend to ignore. Businesses often make the mistake of posting on their Facebook and Twitter pages without taking the time to assess who they are talking to. Knowing what your target audience views as important and being familiar with the language they speak is crucial to social media success. It's also helpful to be aware of what your competitors are doing and what's changing in your industry.
A business who has mastered the art of conversation will take the time to anticipate their target market's needs and desires. They also will directly ask their followers what they value and use the information to utilize better business practices and provide relationship building and transaction inducing content. Rather than actively disposing of criticism, they'll utilize what is said about them to improve their customer service.
Improving Your Listening Skills on Twitter
1. Don't Follow Just to Gain Followers
It's Twitter etiquette to follow those who are following you. This is often not helpful for either parties. Many businesses and self-promoters request to follow with no intention of reading in-coming posts. It's a mistake to follow solely for the sake of being followed. You will end up missing out on great information. Following key businesses and prominent people is a great way to listen in on trends and best practices within your industry. Reading the public's posts will gain you access to valuable information about what's popular and how your product or service ranks. You will also find that the likelihood your followers will do business with you will increase when you stop relying on following people just to bring in followers.
2. Listen in on Conversations
Utilizing the hash tag is a great listening tactic. A hashtag denotes a reoccurring topic of conversation. To figure out the popular hashtags, or conversations, in your industry go to hashtags.org and type in your topic to get suggestions. This will help you to not only figure out which conversations to listen to, it will identify the conversations worth joining. Hashtags also help to indicate who is worth paying attention to.
Another great way to listen in on the conversations happening in real-time on Twitter is to go to the advanced search on Twitter and enter in the key terms for your industry. It will show all the conversations that contain those key words. This will give you a bird's eye view of your competition and target market.
3. Pay Attention to Trends in Your Industry
What the Trend tracks the trends, or rather, the hashtags, that are going viral on twitter. You can use their search engine to find trends in your industry. Some of the trends have explanations. For the ones that don't, you have the opportunity to be the first to explain the trend.
4. Watch Successful Tweeters
Another method for success on Twitter is watching the pros. Twitterholic and We Follow allow you to take a look at the most popular users. It's an opportunity to assess what they are tweeting about, their style and tone of voice, the different ways they tweet, and how often. This is great way to get ideas for tweets.
Improving Your Listening Skills on Facebook
5. Listen for Fans
Do a search for other fan pages, groups and profiles related to your industry and read what people are talking about. Carefully assess people's reactions to things. What is successful? What isn't working? Why do you think it isn't working? Once you have spent time listening you can start engaging in meaningful conversations that will lead to quality fans.
6. Show That You're a Good Listener
Show that you're listening by consistently responding to wall posts and comments. This shows you're engaged and allows for better relationship building. The goal is always to create a two-way conversation, which is the foundation of social media. If you actively read your news feed you can respond to negative feedback immediately, either publicly or through direct messaging. A prompt and tactful response to the matter will show your company in a positive light.
What will you do to be a better listener? Do Share! I love receiving comments, questions and feedback.
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By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, a.k.a the Cagey Copywriter, offers a powerful profusion of web copywriting tips that bring in the moola! Connect on LinkedIn.