Social Media: Why listening is just as important as talking …

Once you have your social media sites set up, it’s hard to resist talking about yourself all of the time. You have all of these followers who are waiting to hear from you! But why is it important to listen as well as talk? And what does ‘listen’ even mean on social media?

Listen to your followers

The first thing to remember when deciding to be active on social media is to listen to your followers. They are the ones who ultimately make or break your success.

If someone comments on one of your posts or writes on your profile, listen and react. Don’t ignore it. If a person has taken time out of their busy day to write something on your profile, then they are passionate followers. Whether it’s good or bad, they are still passionate.

If it’s a good comment - great! Respond and start building that company-customer relationship. If it’s a negative comment, then turn it into a positive one. You’d be surprised at how quickly a customer’s opinion can turn around if you respond, apologise and offer a solution to their problem. But if you ignore it, that negative comment is going to stay negative.

Listening to your followers is number one on this list for a reason - it’s that important.

Listen to your competitors

You don’t have to publically follow your competitors on social but having a sneaky peek every now and again will give you some insight into how well their social activity is working.

What are they doing that is successful? What are they doing that isn’t?

Learn from them by listening to them. You’d probably do competitor research in other areas of your business, so social media shouldn’t be any different.

Listen to your brand mentions

Sometimes your customers will use your product or service and talk about it on social. But they might not follow you or they might not know your username, so they will simply post a status without tagging you in it. Listen out for these keywords to see if there is an opportunity for engagement - there are some handy tools out there that help with this ( Sprout Social, for example).

Any time user mentions your brand name, you will be able to see. Listen out for them and maybe respond if it’s appropriate.

Listen to your industry

It’s also important to listen to developments in your industry in general. Social media is a great platform for finding news and innovations in your industry as it is so instant and quick. As soon as a story breaks out, everyone in your industry will be talking about it on social.

Even topics that have no link with your sector will reach your radar if you listen out for trending items on sites such as Twitter. The most talked about things in your country might provide some great inspiration for blog posts so listen out.

What's the point?

The point of listening is to get a grasp of what’s already going on social before you post content that either is out-dated, inappropriate or careless. It will also give you an idea of brand sentiment - are your social followers liking your brand? Listening to them would give you a good idea …

If you have any more thoughts on how to engage with your audience on social media, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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