When it comes to social media marketing, one of the few “must-dos” is to actually listen to your network. Social media is a conversation, not a soap box for your brand. No one wants to be talked at, whether it is in a face-to-face conversation or an online one. Social networking has taught your customers that they have a voice and a right for their opinions to be heard, and they are expecting you to listen. But paying attention to what your network is (or isn’t) saying shouldn’t be important to you just because SEO and social media consultants tell you it should be. If you actually listen to your social connections and take what they say to heart, you’ll find you will better understand your customers, their needs and where your brand fits into their lives.
They will tell you what kind of content they want.
Content marketing is a critical component of a good SEO campaign, but the number one problem for many companies is coming up with topics. Social media is the perfect place to turn to for topic inspiration. What kind of questions are people posting on your Facebook walls or in industry forums? What blog posts get the most attention and “love” from your social network? Does your audience prefer videos to long articles? All these questions and more about content can be answered when you listen to your social networks.
They will let you know when you’re doing it wrong and when you get it right.
Social media is not a one-size-fits-all tool. It’s your duty to figure out the best sites to connect with your target audience, what kind of content they respond best to, when they are online and connected to those networks, when they want to talk and so forth. If you pay close enough attention, you can start to judge the effectiveness of your social media marketing based on their responses. Do links shared between 9-5 get the same kind of response as the ones between 8 PM and midnight? What kind of tone do the comments on your Facebook wall take? Keep in mind that 100 people may visit your blog post in a day, but only 2 bother to leave comments. Those two comments might represent majority opinion, or they might be the outliers.
They will let you know what they really think.
Social networking is nothing if not honest. Consumers turn to social networking sites to complain about poor customer service from the local cable company, rave about the new coffee shop that just opened up or ask their friends for great date ideas. If they love something, they’ll let everyone know. If they hate something, they’ll let everyone know. Social media gives everyone a chance to say what they want when they want to. If you’re paying attention, you’ll get access into the minds of your customers that no focus group or survey could ever give.