Listening to Act on Symptoms

Social media monitoring is an invaluable first step for brands entering the social media space as well as a critical aspect for brands’ ongoing social media marketing efforts even if they’ve been leveraging social media for some time.

The reason is because simply listening tells marketers so much. It tells us who is talking about a the brand, its competitors and the category. We can also infer the motivations behind the conversation. Are they happy or mad? Are they looking for information or providing it?

Just listening makes us smarter marketers, and there are always insights, even if there isn’t a lot of conversation out there--it tells you that you need to do something to start conversations. The more a marketer knows about the ecosystem a brand finds itself in, the more effective execution.

At the end of the day, it’s all about execution.

Online Conversation Is a Symptom of Offline Interaction

Nine in 10 word of mouth conversations occur offline, so marketers should be aware that what they see online is only a symptom of a larger conversation occurring offline. Customer dissatisfaction with product quality being discussed online is probably only a piece of a much larger conversation that a brand cannot see and needs to address. Online complaints about the friendliness of store associates indicates a need to address issues at the store-level.

A business cannot respond to the needs of its customers unless it first understands what those needs are, and social media listening is a start. However, that shouldn’t be where it stops.

Listening Is Only the Beginning

Listening is fantastic and should be a cornerstone of any marketing plan, but listening without a plan to act (maybe not right away, but soon) can quickly turn into a waste of time. Listening allows marketers to stay ahead of the curve, identify threats and address customer needs quickly and efficiently.

Have a plan in place to turn online findings into organizational action. Some insights will be easier to mobilize than others. Execute the short-term wins and develop a plan to leverage the long-term opportunities. When you do, don’t forget to let your online customers know that you’ve been listening and have taken action on their behalf. They’ll thank you for it.