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Among companies that are “very successful” at achieving goals with social media, 47% make extensive use of social analytics. Among companies that are “not successful,” 17% use social analytics (source: Marquette Group and Ascend2). Is there a similarity between companies that listen and achieve success? Decide for yourself.

Here are 18 reasons to listen to social media before your leap:

  • ADVOCATES: One of the most valuable segments to any business or brand are the people who support your cause and recommend you to others. Tools like Technorati (for blogs), Topsy (for Twitter) and Booshaka (for Facebook) can help you find them on social networks.
  • AFFORDABLE RESEARCH: Online audience profiling and listening is probably the most affordable research a company can do. Although it’s worth doing it with someone who knows what to look for and can set up reporting, the data is readily available and most of the listening tools are low cost or free.
  • COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE: If you are watching your industry, you can be the first to spot a competitive opportunity or learn from your competitors. You may also discover industry advocates.
  • COMPLAINTS: A posted complaint may also draw out other comments from people with the same concern, which provides an opportunity to reach out to them.
  • COMPLEMENTS: A customer raving on a social network or review site about the experience they just had with a product or with customer service is the online equivalent of offline testimonials. Create a delicio.us account or use another social bookmarking utility and save all of these compliments in a list for future use.
  • CONTENT CREATION: The best way to guide your content marketing is to listen to what consumers are saying and give them information or teach them what they want to hear and learn.
  • CRISIS MANAGEMENT: Social media lets you know about a bad decision and often how to correct it. For example, to keep up with demand, Maker’s Mark reduced the alcohol content so they could mass-produce the product faster. Customers took to Twitter to announce their displeasure. So Maker’s Mark listened.

Maker's Mark Social Listening

  • IMPACT: Social media marketers who listen and do analysis are more informed as to when their efforts have the greatest impact.
  • INFLUENCERS: Different from advocates, influencers gain their power either from the number of times they post on a topic, and the number of people who link to their posts on a topic. Knowing who these influencers are and their opinions of your brands helps you determine who to engage.
  • INTEGRATION: In the Marquette Group and Ascend2 study, “very successful” companies with social media were 6X more likely than “not successful” companies to integrate social listening with other types of marketing.
  • KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS: An actionable scorecard to keep you business strategy on track defines the role of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’). Why did you get into social media? Increase awareness? Improve engagement? Generate more leads? Do better customer service? Pick the social metrics that align with your goals and take actions based are what the KPI’s are telling you.
  • KEYWORDS: The same words and terms used in your overall marketing are very easy to find using HootSuite. In fact, you can share, comment or connect with the person expressing them for their platform. Or, you can use them to validate whether the keywords you have chosen are the right ones or need to change.
  • REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: The best way to manage our reputation is to listen and respond to what others are saying. Think about including site like Yelp and Reputation.com in your listening consideration set. A study from UC Berkley showed that an extra half star on Yelp increased the sell out rate for restaurants from 30% to 47%.
  • SEGMENTATION: For any business, there is a wide disparity between best and worst customers. Audience profiling and social media listening helps you set up a more effective segmentation scheme.
  • TARGETING: Your segmentation gives you a better means for targeting. Through social media metrics, you can do by personas, geography, devices and messaging.
  • TRENDS: Product gain or lose popularity or command greater interest during certain times of the years, days of the week or hours in the day. Make the most of your effort by being there when your audience is most active.
  • TRUST: When you know what your audience is saying, brands can instill trust among customers (social media followers), by engaging in constructive discussions and implementing consumer suggestions into your business policy.
  • VIRTUALLY REAL-TIME: The data that you’re getting back is very actionable because so much of it is occurring in real-time.

BarnRasisers has helped companies in a wide variety of categories listen and achieve better results through social media listening and action.  Talk to us or consider the course Mike Moran and Rob Petersen teach at UCI Extension on Social Media and Internet Audience Profiling.

How do you rate your companies success with social media? Do you listen before you leap. Are you ready to start?

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Rob Petersen

About Rob Petersen

Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.

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