Listening in on Social Media

This weekend Neville Hobson (@jangles) posted a great interview with Scott Monty (@scottmonty), Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager at Ford. Among other things at Ford, Scott champions creative uses of social media. Most recently this last week he used twitter as a crisis management tool, to help keep folks up to date as he dealt with a misunderstanding that was being propagated across the internet. Now much of his success in this effort was due to the network Scott has built on twitter, it’s almost 6000 strong. Notice I say network, not following. Scott, in my opinion, is using twitter the “smart” way. He’s building relationships. He’s interacting on a daily basis with colleagues, with clients, with media. He, like me, manages multiple corporate twitter accounts as well, which are used for other purposes such as customer support, or b2b marketing. In this capacity though, he is also building relationships.

As the resident social media guru at BluePoint, clients often ask me for advice on social media strategy. The question I am asked most frequently is, “How do we chose between all the social media tools and groups out there? Why would we chose to be on twitter, versus facebook or linked in? We can’t do it all!”. My response is:

You know your audience. Where do you think they hang out?

Marketing and PR may have changed a lot in the last 10 years, but one thing remains the same. You need to reach your audience. In the age of social media, I would argue that this is becoming easier, not harder. Instead of just sending out direct mail or e-mail and waiting for a response, you can get online and find your customers. You can listen in on their conversations, or grievances. You can speak to them directly.

So as 2009 rolls around, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the multitude of options out there. You know your audience. Take a look at the communities that you think might appeal most to them. Then join a select few, and LISTEN. (I have my friend Kyle Flaherty to thank for this piece of invaluable advice) Don’t worry about broadcasting a message or making yourself known right out of the gate. You will learn a lot if you just listen. You may learn that your customers don’t hang out on twitter. You might be surprised to see them already talking to each other on a Facebook group. You may even have the enjoyable experience that I had over the weekend of meeting a new colleague, while listening in on twitter!

— Posted by Liz Moise


4 Responses to “Listening in on Social Media”

  1. 1 KFFBOS December 15, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Yay, Liz is blogging for BluePoint, this will be great and helpful for everyone!

    I’m really into listening lately, and the end of year provides a great time for any company to start setting up all the necessary listening techniques heading into 2009.

    I’m certainly listening to this blog now (j/k Tim, I’ve been listening to you as always!).


  2. 2 Jim Gilbert December 25, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Excellent topic!

    There is an art to listening to your customers. Some companies shy away from social media because they just don’t want to know. The problem is, that in order to compete in this day and age, you MUST know what your customers are thinking, good and bad.

    To me every complaint is a potential customer advocate. We live in jaded times. Solve a complaint, fix a customers problem and you could very well win that customer over for life.

    I wrote a story about this for Catalog Success Magazine a while back. The link is:

    The days of merchants knowing what their customers wants and desires are over. We now have a way, a powerful tool to actually get feedback, in almost real time, to improve our goods and services on.

    Jim Gilbert

    • 3 Liz Moise December 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks for your comments Jim, the ability to listen to what your customers need and want in real-time is an advantage most companies didn’t have before! At some point in the future, I think customers will begin to expect companies to “know” their needs and desires…

  1. 1 Deploying Social Media for New Product/Service Development « Propelling Brands Trackback on December 30, 2008 at 6:44 pm

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