Stop Talking and Start Connecting
As you might have experienced at holiday parties this past season, people want to tell you their story. All you have to do is stop talking, and individuals will share everything from their latest scuba diving excursion in St. Barths to which dentist they go to for the best teeth whitening to every single detail about their 12-year old daughter’s lacrosse team’s recent game. Often times, you’ll learn things you never wanted to know, simply because you gave them the space to fill and your full attention.
Nowhere is there more evidentiary support for this than in social media, where every day millions of posts relay the private details of people’s lives. Interestingly enough, a report by the Aberdeen Group titled, “Social Media and Customer Service: From Listening to Engagement,” found that only 41 percent of companies actually use social media to connect with customers. This number is staggering, considering that this is the primary goal in the current marketing landscape.
Developing relationships with your target audience stems from adding valuable content, which, at the end of the day, is all about figuring out what people want and offering solutions. By incorporating a listening strategy into your social media marketing campaign, you’ll be better equipped to do just that. Here’s how to get started:
1. Determine The Best Platform To Connect With Your Target Audience
Before you can listen in on the conversation, you have to find it, but not all demographics are represented by every social media platform. Facebook doesn’t necessarily pull the same crowd as Twitter or Instagram (though there may be an overlap in some cases). If your target audience isn’t logging into Pinterest, you’re wasting your time with all those pins. Research which platforms attract your ideal audience and focus your attention there.
2. Determine Influencers
Think of influencers as the information gatekeepers of the internet. These are the companies and individuals affecting trends and stirring the communication pot. Figure out to whom your demographic listens, and then ask the following questions:
- What are they talking about?
- What platforms do they use?
- How often do they post?
- How often do they reach out personally?
- Do they use other forms, such as videos, newsletters, etc.?
- What is the reaction and interaction from followers?
- Is there a way that you can collaborate with him or her?
3. Stay Informed with Keywords and Tracking Programs
What’s important to your clients today may not necessarily rank high on the priority list tomorrow. Part of listening in the social media environment is keeping track of what’s trending, both in your culture and industry. This is especially true as their influence on each other continues to grow stronger. While this can be overwhelming, there are a number of tracking tools that will keep you abreast of the current climate. To get you started, here are three FREE options:
- Google Alerts
- Social Mention
After you spend the time listening, you’ll find that you have a better idea of exactly what your target audience wants and needs. From this, you’ll be able to provide better services and products. Not only that, but you’ll be doing this with the knowledge that the market already exists. Talk about efficiency.