The Importance of Social Media Listening

Social Media ListeningEarlier this week I tweeted about a new EConsultancy blog post reporting a Forrester Consulting survey which claimed that 88% of US businesses were now actively monitoring online feedback and online conversations. My tweet received a reply from Dr Lesley Sawers, CEO of SCDI (@scdiCEO) asking ‘what level are we at in Scotland’? My (only slightly) tongue-in-cheek response to Lesley was pick a number between 0 and 5%.

It would appear that my ‘off-the-cuff’ estimate might not be too far off the mark. Closer inspection of the Forrester Survey shows that while 88% claim to be doing it, only 6% of US businesses claim that listening and digital engagement are integral to their organisation.

Social Media ListeningThe failure of most companies to leverage the listening power of social media is a major strategic error. If social media is meant to be ‘marketing as a conversation’ then surely the basis of a good conversation is to listen first. After all, our maker gave us two ears, two eyes and one mouse for a reason. Listen first.

On Wednesday of this week, we held the first workshop for Programme 3 of our very successful ‘Mastering Social Media’ series. One of the highlights of the day was a presentation by my colleague Alan on ‘Social Media Listening’. Three key points were covered in the presentation which is embedded below: what is social media listening?; why do it? – the business benefits; practical advice in setting up a free Social Media Listening System using a combination of RSS Feeds and a Google Reader account

The practical advice given by Alan puts Social Media Listening well within the budget, knowledge and skills set of all companies, even the smallest SME. It may not deliver a ‘perfect’ solution but neither do the very expensive and over-hyped Social Media Monitoring Tools. The system proposed by Alan is easy to set up and can be ‘trained’ to ensure that you are receiving the ‘right information at the right time from the right source’. Once set up and running, you can focus on what you should really be doing namely developing actionable insights from the information being pulled in. The high value question is ‘so what’? What does this information mean for my business? What are the opportunities and threats? How should I respond?

The system suggested by Alan is exactly how I keep up-to-date with the dynamic pace of change in social media. It provides me with the oxygen i need to stay relevant. Why not do the same for your own company/sector?

As usual, comments and feedback are very welcome.

See below for the presentation……


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