If you are in the process of creating a social media marketing or a digital marketing strategy, did you start this process by listening (researching) first? One of the most neglected key rules of communication and social media is listening. Who are you going to target with your campaign? Do you know what interests them? Are they already talking about you? On which social media channels can they be found?

Setting up a couple of keyword alerts on Google Alerts and creating empty social media dashboards is not listening. Reporting on all your Twitter followers and Facebook fans is not listening. Measuring your web traffic is not listening – only hearing. In the book Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff explains the importance of listening, and why every social media campaign should start with a listening process.

Listening is perhaps the most essential neglected skill in business. Part of the reason is that it’s always been so hard. The result was the narrowest form of listening (market research). But in the era of all the social technologies surrounding the web, listening is easy. Not listening, on the other hand is criminal. 

Start listening, and you have a baseline. Keep listening, and you understand change. Your brand is whatever people say it is. Listening generates insights, but it won’t sneak up and shout in your ears. You need to manage this resource.

As explained on thousands of blog posts and books regarding social media, listening is an absolute must with monitoring what people are currently talking about online, but do you actually know why listening is important? Find below six reasons why you should start listening.

Six reasons why listening is important

  1. Find out what your brand stands for
  2. Understand how buzz is shifting
  3. Save research money; increase research responsiveness
  4. Find the sources of influence in your market
  5. Manage PR crisis
  6. Generate new product and marketing ideas

Once you begin to listen and act on the information you have gathered and learned, your company will never be the same. One of the most important benefits of listening to the buzz online is that you will understand your customers better, and ways that you can improve your business.

Understanding your customers

Paying attention to what your customers and audience is saying shouldn’t be important to you just because social media and digital marketing experts tell you it should be. If you actually take the time and listen to what is being talked about online, you will find that you will better understand your customer needs and where your brand can fit into their lives.

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