Listening (by itself) is Not Enough in Social Media

I recently talked about ”B2B marketing in the Real Time Web” at the #140conf in San Francisco, organized by Jeff Pulver. One point that resonated the most with the audience is that “listening” has become the most overused and abused word in social media.

Some people actually think that “listening” is  a brand-new concept invited by social media gurus. The reality is that if you need an expert to tell you that you should “listen” to the customers, your business may already be in more trouble than you realize.

While listening is a great first step in getting started in social media and helps set up a good foundation for your activities, that by itself is not enough any more. As consumers get more savvy in their use of social media, it’s become a business imperative that companies move beyond just listening and start responding to what they’re hearing.

Setting up social channels by itself or “being on Facebook” is not good enough any more, companies need to have solid processes in place to quickly relay feedback from social media channels to create better products and help solve customer issues before they reach a crisis point. Social media monitoring/listening tool vendors should be focused on translating the streams of data into meaningful insights for their clients as quicky as possible.

In this fast evolving conversational age,  the true measure of success and a key differentiator will be how quickly companies respond to feedback from their customers. It’s time to assess – Is your company ready for this challenge?

2 thoughts on “Listening (by itself) is Not Enough in Social Media

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Marketing Mystic » Blog Archive » Listening (by itself) is Not Enough in Social Media -- Topsy.com

  2. Hi Mia:

    This is a great post.

    One of the most important issues that marketing, communication and business leaders (in general) face is managing the effects associated with the socialization of business.

    Over the last decade we have seen the creation and convergence of many great enabling technologies built around the Internet (search) and Web 2.0 (collaboration) and mobile (connectivity and accessibility) that converged to provide a rich environment for social media to thrive and for people to benefit.

    Advancements in bandwidth (speed) and data storage will further enhance the social media experience as we are able to access information more quickly and collaborate with people more effectively on any device regardless of how we are ‘connected’ to the social web.

    This convergence has ushered in a new era of business that I often refer to as Business-to-Person (B2P) communications that has made it increasingly if not completely impossible for companies to separate their products and services from their brand promise and the experience of their key stakeholders.

    In a world of B2P companies are expected to speak directly to and establish relationship with the customer (at individual level) and are also increasingly expected to listen to the customer in an effort to improve relationship and experience.

    Understanding and managing effective customer relationships is the core to any successful company; and the strength of any organization is largely dependent upon the company’s ability to deliver the right products and services to its customers in a timely way.

    So knowing what the customer wants and understanding their current and future needs is paramount to increasing revenue and exceeding customer expectations. In this regard, social media (or social business) programs provide a prime opportunity for companies to get to know their customers more intimately and keep the finger on the pulse of their needs and behaviors to create and sustain value and competitive advantage.

    Don

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