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Defining Corporate Listening In the Online Age

If you have been paying attention there is a pattern to my posts here at Biznology in the recent past. It’s quite simple. I am writing about listening in the corporate world. It’s not a new concept. Well, maybe it is. You may see listening in a corporate setting as something that happens between co-workers. Owners to employees, employees to employees and many other iterations. It’s a person to person practice. That’s true but that’s just the beginning. Listening in a corporate sense has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. You still need to listen to each other but now it is just as important to be listening to everyone and everything because of the rapid growth and increasing importance of the Internet in day to day company operations.

English: A left human ear. العربية: أذن بشرية ...
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Sounds daunting doesn’t it? Well, it can be until you understand the basics. So let’s review.

Online listening IS:

  1. Just that: listening. Being aware is probably 80-90% of the battle and from what I can gather about 90% of the companies are lagging here. Kind of stunning but it’s true, in my opinion.
  2. Essential. It’s not an option or a luxury. If you are any kind of astute business or business person, online listening is an essential tool in your tool belt.
  3. Simple and powerful. The more you listen, the more you know and the more you can grow.
  4. Basic and foundational to business today.
  5. Underrated and underutilized. These are two very bad things to say about anything this important.
  6. Ongoing and never-ending. If you can’t hire someone to attend to getting this discipline under control then find an automated option. If there was ever a ‘something is better than nothing’ situation in business, this is it.

Online listening IS NOT:

  1. Just for your brand. That’s like saying water is only for drinking. It’s important but there is so much more to the story.
  2. Engagement. Confusing listening with engagement is costly. Engagement, in fact, is a nice buzzword but it’s the social space’s equivalent to a claymore mine. You better think long hard about what, if any, are next steps. Listening is oftentimes enough because awareness leads to change and progress. Engagement could lead to flareups and problems.
  3. Just about the bad stuff. Often we limit online listening to being concentrated on the negatives. Bad customer experience, complaints, reputation issues etc etc. What is often overlooked is the use of listening to find brand champions, journalists hungry for content for distribution and even a compliment or two.
  4. All inclusive. If you are looking at tools to help do this for your business (and you should be) then you need to know that no single one covers everything. If they claim they do, then you are being pitched/sold and we know what that usually leads to.
  5. Fully evolved. There is plenty of work to be done in this area. It is a discipline where you better be able to crawl very well before you try to run.

There’s more. Care to add something?

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