Can You Hear Me Now? Practicing Social Listening

Listening is a critical tool for successful business development. You know what I am talking about… not just hearing what someone is saying, but rather soaking in the detail, understanding where it can lead and giving back to conversations appropriately. There are many tools for listening to your potential buyers, but social media leads the way.

Social media is a huge player in telling stories. There are billions of images, videos, comments and posts pushed out every single day. And people now appreciate that social media is more than a means to broadcast information about ourselves. Social media provides a powerful platform for listening to industries, markets and individuals. So, what do we do with this information? Dig into it.

Social listening is the process of digesting digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand. Why is it meaningful in a business development context? Social listening allows us to extract important insight into our networks and their vetting processes. It allows us to figure out who the influencers are in our target markets. Social listening allows us to find better ways to develop relationships, build a presence and differentiate brands.

How do you social listen? There are many ways to listen through social media. But start with a healthy mix of monitoring social media using analytics, carefully following notifications and actively engaging your networks in conversations. Remember to keep track of what you hear so that you may connect the dots across an industry and use the information you decipher to your advantage. Finally, once you understand the topics that are important to your buyers, create content this audience wants to consume and in the format they wish to receive it. Then keep listening for more feedback so that you can adjust over time. There is no secret recipe, but maintaining a balance between broadcasting your content and listening to your consumers will become more clear over time.