It is well documented that social media is a conversational medium. However, the aren’t too many brands out there you would want to have a conversation with. Why? Because they don’t listen.
There is a pretence of listening, whenever you shout loud enough but you get the feeling they aren’t listening but rather waiting for the next opportunity to tell you more about themselves. They come across as superior egocentrics who would drop you if someone more interesting enters their field of view. The novelty of having brands reply to us is wearing off. We want to converse as equals now.
I often compare social platforms to parties. If you put your brand on Facebook you have just walked in to the party. Sure you can have flashy lights and look interesting but ultimately you need to be of interest , relevance or entertaining to the people there or they won’t engage.They may hang around for a while but when they have a choice to make they will not have loyalty to your brand.
Have you ever entered a room and just started talking? No listening to what is being said, just walk into somewhere and gone, “hey everyone, look at me” . If you have, you are either a stand up comedian or have no friends…or both. We all listen first in any conversation. That is the first thing to do in your social engagements…listen.
What are people talking about? What is trending? What is current? What is relevant in that place at that time? The more listening you do the more you will be able to understand your customer and your own voice.
Don’t just listen for your brand name. That’s like Googling yourself ( I only did it the once honest). Listen to everything relevant to you. Your industry , your consumer , your competitor – listen to the lot and find the conversations you are relevant in.
Listening should be at the core of your company. It should dictate strategic approach, how customer services should communicate, marketing, sales and product. All of the information you need is out there and searchable at the click of a button.
I had a flatmate come home with a black eye one night and his explanation should serve as a warning to brands nowadays, ” I was talking when I should have been listening” .