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Blogs

Stop tweeting and start listening

Charlie Sanchez
Charlie Sanchez

When it comes to social media marketing, everyone has their own agenda. And nowhere is this more evident than Twitter, where “Calls to Action” as well as hashtags, keywords and terms are jammed into 140 characters or less.

It seems that everyone wants you to click, download, vote, like, retweet or share their own unique branded content so somewhere down the line they can attribute a sale to their social activity.

Social media is now a major marketing channel and there’s never been more pressure for it to justify its budget. How much did I get for my money?

With every poor social media manager in the world tasked with generating revenue armed with little more than some flimsy branded content (now 6 months old due to approval delays), is it any surprise Twitter is awash with thinly veiled marketing messages pushing branded content?

But what else can you do right? You’ve got to demonstrate value… and what could look better than a juicy follower increase or a whopping 300,000 “potential reach” figure?

In my eyes this is selling social media woefully short. Social has so much more to share than just serving as another broadcast platform.

For my money, the most important thing a business can do on social media is simply listen.

Yep, the best thing you can do on Twitter is to stop Tweeting and start listening. Stop pushing out the gated ebook you write in May and start paying attention to the conversations happening around you.

Here are three ways that listening to your audience can provide your business so much more value than talking to them.

CUSTOMER INSIGHTS

In essence, Twitter is a FREE real time searchable index of everything people are saying about your product/business/industry, with the ability to directly correspond with anyone you choose. How amazing is that?!

Use it as a base for customer service, a brainstorm for product improvements, or even just a bellwether of how the general public view your brand.

Action:
Set up alerts for mentions of your company and terms relevant to your brand.

RELEVANCE

If you ran a business with two street stands – one for ice-cream and the other for umbrellas, wouldn’t you check the weather before choosing which to take out for the day? Twitter is no different. You will get nowhere if you ignore the interests and needs of your audience.

Action:
Find some hashtags relevant to your business or theme and see what people are talking about. Join in the discussion without pushing your own product or service – it will lead to genuine interactions (like the below!)

COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

Twitter is beautifully transparent. It’s great for seeing what your customers are saying, but even better for spying on your competition. Twitter shows you how popular they are, who is interested in them, what they’re talking about and how well their messages are received by their audience. Use this information to form a battle plan.

Action:
Follow your competitors right now. Find out what they are talking about, who are they talking to? What tone and style are they using? How can you do it better?

What do you think is the most important thing about social listening? Come talk to me on Twitter and let me know.

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