Do you listen to what your customers are saying about you and their experiences with your products—good, bad, and ugly? It used to be that listening to your customers was an expensive and clunky process (e.g. focus groups, surveys, etc.), but now, with social media, you have an unprecedented look into the hearts and minds of your customers.
We’ve all heard the adage that we have two ears and only one mouth so we can hear more and speak less, but do you put this adage into practice in your business?
Social media listening is not just a B2C technique—it has a lot of applications for B2B as well. For example,
Your customers are talking about you, so listen to what they have to say. You will learn what they like about your products and how to best reach them. You’ll also hear an earful about their pain points, but that is important too, because you can use their feedback for improvement. The more you listen, the more you know and the more you can grow.
Besides learning about your customers, social media listening can also help you keep informed about your competitors. Understanding how your competitors are engaging with their customers can help you better position yourself to prospective customers.
Social media listening is also very useful for crisis early warning and reputation management. If there is a crisis looming for your company, there is a good chance you will hear about it on social media first—that is, if you are listening for it.
Social media listening is not just about negative things like complaints and crises. Listening on social media is also a great way to find brand champions and interested journalists. Both brand champions and journalists can be great business allies, but you have to be able to find to use them.
What might social media listening look like in a B2B context? What are the ways B2B can use social media listening besides the typical B2C techniques of monitoring Facebook and Twitter for mentions? (which are great for B2B as well!) You need to think about hanging out in popular business forums where industry members talk about business trends, follow industry blogs and comment on the posts. LinkedIn is another great social platform for B2B because of its groups—which are where professionals often gather.
If you want to take your social media listening to the next level, try using social media to respond to the negative comments you hear. Responding in as close to real time as possible demonstrates commitment to your customers and builds trust.
How will you use social media listening to connect with your customers?