Social media for listening

Mediacom’s head of innovation and technology said in Mumbrella today that the rush to monetise social media is wrongheaded and agencies should instead be focussing on the data created by social media engagement and insights into consumer attitudes.

“Almost everyone overlooks this value that social media monitoring brings to the overall marketing picture. And I know watch with even more interest on how specialist social media agencies… plan on selling and magnetising their services. Because the bulk of real vela that a social media offering brings to clients actually lies outside social media, so having business dedicated to just social media doesn’t seem like the goldmine many still believe it to be.” (Nic Hodges)

I think this is absolutely true – social media in general is an arena that does not respond well to sales pitches and overt marketing. It’s a cliche but it is a conversation, where most of the players that brands interact with are everyday people who are online to communicate with their friends, favourite celebrities, sportspeople as well as brands. It can be difficult to convert talk around brands, however positive, into solid upswings in profit (and even harder to prove) – although research suggests that online talk does affect consumer purchasing decisions.

The solid data that social media can produce is how people are talking about you – your brand, your products and your company – online. And it’s incredibly important to listen to this. Sure there will be haters that are not going to like your brand whatever you do, but more importantly there are also the unsatisfied customers, those who have experienced your product and have been left wanting. And it’s these voices that can help you and your brand if you listen by providing you, free of charge, a list of ways your company needs to change – all you need to do is implement them. And what’s more, you know where all your unsatisfied customers are – not only can you fix their problems, you can contact them and let them know. And so few companies do this well, you’ll no doubt pleasantly surprise your customers, who may well tell their friends on the same social platform they slagged you off on.

In the end, it’s this listening that will benefit brands the most, by detailing aspects of their business that are not performing well and allowing them to reach out directly to their client base. Beacuase in the end, however  much you market your product or service and however good your ads are, if you can’t deliver on your promises you will fail. Social media provides feedback on how your brand promises are being fulfilled in the real world.

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