‘Since in order to speak, one must first listen, learn to speak by listening.’Rumi, 13th century
Social media and email are still mainly used to push messages out, creating a very one-sided dialogue. As Simon McDermott (Attentio) pointed outduring the March 2010 PLUGG conference on what we can learn from the Eurostar debacle, few brands currently have social media ‘listening’ in place and disaster often prompts companies to make the delayed investment.
In order for you to build a relationship with your preferred community via open dialogue, it´s vital that you first listen using these tools.
An efficient way to find out where the customers are is to ask customers you already have what networks they are on, what they talk about on them, and who they are talking to. Also find out what bloggers they listen to. This will give you a clear idea of the platforms that you can start with, as well as the bloggers in the industry that you should try to build a relationship with. Pay particular attention to what influencers such as Nalden are saying; their impact on the wider community is significant. You will soon see that there is a lot of conversation and passion about most products and brands.
Interior design company MyDeco, for instance, simply follows tweets around certain keywords. Who is talking about interior design, and why? Then, they follow the talkers to find out what their interests and concerns are. Matthew Brazil (6Consulting / Radian6 UK Partner) during the above PLUGG conference, suggests these stepping stones for fresh listeners: search for key terms to do with your brandusing free tools such as Google, Twitter and Facebook; post your brand name, product, services or names of key individuals in various locations so these can be found and talked about, and look at what effective communication strategies your competitors are using.
Only when you have located your preferred community and your digital ears are in place, you can start selectively responding and reaching out.
Written by Esther with the material from the forthcoming book of John Sadowsky