Online Listening – two ears, one mouth

“We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” said a greek philosopher.Will listening via headphones

What’s dull about my blog – simple, it’s just me in my monotone keyboard thumping manner bashing out a new post.  I might think I’m engaging, but it could be that I’m just the drunk guy at the bar talking to everyone about what they don’t want to hear, hardly engaging.  So – how do you move from broadcasting to engaging – the key has to be listening.

A couple of blogs ago I talked about measuring online engagement – online engagement – is as much about listening as much as speaking, otherwise you are just broadcasting.

If you improve listening then I think you find out what people are saying and thinking, can understand what it is they are saying and most importantly act on it by then engaging.  There are lots of places you can go to listen, and some ideas are below but as always please do comment if you have other ideas.

Ideas of Places to listen

  • Twitter – twitter allows you to join in on the conversations people are having all over the world –  follow your customers and possibly those that tweet words from your products/brand.  Twitter is probably the best opportunity to listen to people and having a strategy for  it’s use would be a good plan.  Tools like Tweetdeck http://www.tweetdeck.com/ allow you to do this easily via a single interface you can watch out for tweets with keywords.
  • Online Polls/Feedback – stick one on your site, you will only hear the opinions of those that have found on your site so ensure you offer them the option of your ears to listen to them, also an easy thing to implement.
  • Comments
    • on your articles, youtube videos, facebook posts – what are people saying about you, what are they asking for.
    • on content from your peers, competitors or similar bands, there is a reason why people are engaging with them – they are doing something right, listen in to find out what that is.
  • Social Network Groups – what groups are out there thriving on social networks, linked-in is probably the place for the professional conversation whereas music is more likel to be found on facebook and myspace.  There will be a reason why some of these groups are really successful because lots of people want to discuss what is being discussed there.
  • Analytics – there probably is a reason why some of your pages get more hits than others, why some email campaigns are more successful than others.  Your customers or potential customers will be voting with their feet, and from this you can listen to their opinions.
  • Online Presentations, Lectures, Webinars – Not just yours, but your competitors.  There is a reason your customers go to webinars, why don’t you go along and listen in to find out what encouraged them to engage.
  • Blogs – do key customers have blogs, or are their bloggers representative of key customers blog, what are they saying and how are people responding.
  • The real world.  I guess the fact that a real world still exists out there to with conferences and events where you can liaise.

And this enables

So, you know what customers and prospective customers are now saying
What does listening enable you to do?  Probably a lot more than I’ve listed below!

  • More Engagement. Allow you to find people to engage with for whom your services/music is relevant.
  • Better SEO.
    • Terms – Find the terms that people are using, what are the key phrases, to you label yourself as “speed metal” when the term being searched for is “thrash metal” – the terms that you should build into you SEO strategy.
    • SSO (Social Search Optimisation) – now where  to place your content to be part of the conversation.
  • Direction. Make business choices on direction
  • Resolve/Respond. Respond quickly to problems and show a human side – deal with problems before they become problems – don’t view negative comments as problems, view them as opportunities to engage.
  • Image knowledge.  Find out what your customers and prospective customers are reading about you.
  • Provide. Adjust and provide more information when it is being asked for.
  • Retain. Know what makes people want to stick with your services , your music and act on it.

This is probably only a fraction of the overall story but it’s time for me to shut up now and start listening to hear other ideas.  I will end with a video I found on Youtube  that shows the sorts of things your customers may be saying  on social media channels – not a complementary song but I hope it raises a smile.

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