Engaging Social Media Fans by Listening

Guess what, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use social media.  The wrong way is to blow your entire marketing budget on brand promotion only.  Social media is about so much more than tooting your own horn.  It’s called social media precisely because it should be a conversation rather than a shouting match.  

The best conversationalists know how to listen.  Then, when they do speak up, the other party can hear a thoughtful response which tells them that what they had to say was valuable.  Listening more and speaking less means that what you have to say affirms the benefit of shared dialogue.  You win more fans by listening.

Engaging social media fans is 75 percent a matter of learning how to listen well.  Most customer issues which work their way into social media could be easily and happily resolved if the format had been used more for listening than talking.  Automated responses and form replies don’t count as customer engagement – that is just more talking.  And it’s irritating talking at that.

This means that social media is much more a public relations tool than a mere marketing platform.  The way to get the most out of your social media investment is to view it as a way to listen to your customers.  Your own words should reflect attention to what the customer is saying.  That is just one reason why form responses are a major no-no.

Always keep in mind that engaging social media fans isn’t as much about hawking your wares as it is about listening well in order to offer prompt and meaningful responses.  Social media gives you the opportunity to demonstrate great conversation skills.  It is your chance to let the customer see that what they have to say is valuable.  In all likelihood, the customer migrated to social media in order to be heard after not finding satisfaction through other contact routes.

Social media engagement gives you the chance to diffuse a problem before it ever really develops.  Strong listening skills and pertinent responses can do more for your brand than the drone of publicity messaging ever will.  Get the most out of your social media budget by putting your finger to your lips and, instead, lending your ear to your customers.

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