As a business owner, you might have invested time and money into research. You might have even paid a reputable research company to give you statistics regarding your customer, your industry, and your competition. It’s always important to gather as much information as possible so that you can make good, strategic business decisions. But, equally important these days is listening to the chatter – also known as talk, gossip, rants, prattle, and anything being said by the community about your business, your product or service, or your industry.
A New Imperative: You Must Keep Your Ear to the Ground.
Whether or not your company has established a social media strategy (and we highly recommend that you do!) you should absolutely be investing time listening to what is being said online. Consumers today are turning more and more to social media to do research. More importantly, consumers today are turning more and more to discuss purchases with friends and colleagues online. These discussions are public and in most cases can be viewed by anyone. Further, these conversations are frequently indexed by the search engines. What this means is that you could search for your product or service in Google and find an unhappy customer ranting about the service you provided. You never want to let statements like this hang out there for all to see without a response from you. You need to address them quickly and in a professional manner. But in order to do that you must be monitoring.
Here are the basics of social media monitoring…
What You Need To Know: Who Is Talking About Me And What Are They Saying?
The most obvious thing you should monitor in social media is any mention of your company name. However, you should also be sure to watch for any mentions of the business owner’s name, employees, and any person that would represent your company.
What You Need To Know: What Is Being Said About My Competitors?
You should also be watching for any mentions of your competitors. Very valuable information can be obtained by listening to what is being said about them. It could give you an indication of where they may be lacking and where you could fill a niche. Or, you might find out that they are doing something really great that people appreciate. In this case, you’d want to learn what they are doing really well and then do it better!
What You Need To Know: What Is Happening In My Industry?
One of the best ways of learning where your industry is heading, or should be heading is to listen to customers. Through discussion in social media you can learn how to improve your product or service by listening to your customer’s experience.
The Bottom Line: Social Media Monitoring Is Now Part Of Your Life
Back in the “olden days” before social media, customers used to pick up the phone and call businesses to ask questions, get help, or lodge complaints against your company. Today, this is all happening in social media. If you are not monitoring what is happening through social media, you may find yourself left in the dust by your competition who is listening.