If you’re using social media merely as an amplification system, you’re missing two great opportunities and both are about listening rather than talking.
First is listening to your customers on an individual level. If they have complaints or raves – if they’re taking the time to talk about your company or your products in any way – you need to be paying attention. Raves are wonderful, but there can be even more opportunity in the rants. Responding effectively can earn you a customer for life. Doing so publicly earns you great respect.
There are many tools for monitoring social media. Give a shout if there is a particular social media service you want to monitor and we’ll make some recommendations. Even better are tools that let you monitor online activity around your brand more broadly.
The second opportunity is also a form of listening, though it’s less about addressing individual members and their interests directly and more about a sort of digital anthropology.
Smart marketers and others, including magazine editors and other content producers, are turning to social media sites to see what is bubbling up from the grass roots. Is orange still the new black? What will all the kids be wearing next season? Are attitudes changing toward climate change?
It’s a pretty broad range of topics you can glean insights into from a steady look at social media services like Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, Twitter and others as long as you’re in it for the long haul. Because of the constant flow of new updates, individual snapshots in this social ecosystems tend to be wildly inaccurate. It’s only over time that larger trends will emerge.
So sit back and listen to your social media feeds from time to time. You stand to learn a lot.