Tuning in: How to implement successful digital listening

Modern customers know what they want and expect you to provide it. It’s time for marketers to start listening to what customers are telling you. In our increasingly digitalised world this means engaging in digital listening. Conor Lynch and Faith Johnstone from Connector.ie report how this is best done



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13 August 2014

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Digital listening means locating and analysing what is being said about your company online. Ideally, marketers should tune in to as many platforms as their customers are on to get a full, balanced report of how their company is viewed.

Getting started with digital listening can intimidate even veteran marketers, but there are some simple steps you can follow.

1. Define your personas

Creating personas which represent your ‘typical’ customers is the best place to start. Generating personas, finding out about their likes, dislikes, occupation, geographical location and more allows you to understand your customers, find trends in what similar people are saying about you and address their needs or concerns accordingly.

2. Find where your customers are online

Are you a B2B organisation? Your clients might be on business oriented LinkedIn. Targeting millennials? They’re usually on Facebook or Instagram. Finding where your customers are engaging online will give you a clearer focus and allow you to adopt better digital listening tools.

3. Use listening tools

For the sake of simplicity and your sanity, you should use digital listening tools to tune in to your customers and ensure success. Comprehensive tools like Sprout Social or Brandwatch are great but expensive, so they might not be suitable for smaller businesses. For them, tools like the free version of Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Klout and Social Mention may be better options.

4. Collect data

There are lots of different ways to collect data, including:

– Keyword tracking

– Setting up Google alerts for your brand

– Identifying brand advocates and influencers

– Identifying brand sentiment

– Social media metrics

– Data on your competitors

– Determining your Klout score

Gathering as much data as you can to begin with will give you a clearer picture of your brand, helping you set better long and short term goals.

5. Define your goals and analyse your data

To accurately analyse data it’s imperative to define your goals for digital listening.

– Want to increase Twitter engagement? Then thousands of followers don’t matter if none of them engage with you.

– Looking for Facebook ad conversions? Make sure your ads and landing pages are optimised.

– Aiming for great customer service? If your reps are getting negative feedback online, it might be time to retrain them.

There are an endless number of goals you could have – it’s up to you to decide which ones are the most important for your business.

6. Address issues and implement changes

After analysing your data, you should have a clear picture of what needs to be changed.

Some key takeaways when it comes to making changes based on digital listening are:

– Address comments

Whether positive or negative, all comments should be addressed. Thanking customers for pleasant comments will foster positive brand sentiment while addressing a negative comment or customer concern will show that you care. Almost half of those who leave a query or comment expect a response in an hour or less. Deleting negative comments will reflect poorly on your brand. Try to deal with them, not hide them.

– Always improve for the customer

If a customer raises a problem or suggests an improvement, take them seriously. Don’t make arbitrary changes to your website or service. Listen to the customer and make decisive changes based on fact, not fiction.

– Reassess in six months

The digital landscape and customer expectations are always evolving, so you can be sure that in six months time, there will be another tweak to make. Ensure you keep on top of your listening tools and analytics to make identifying and implementing necessary changes easy.

If you’re worried about mishearing your customers or nervous about potential digital disasters, remember that this can mostly be avoided by remembering not to treat digital listening like traditional marketing. Instead of trying to guess or tell your customer what you can do for them, listen to what it is they want you to do and act on that.

In every business of every size at every level the message is the same: listen, listen again, listen some more then alter your service accordingly. Your customers will thank you.

For more information contact Conor Lynch at team@connector.ie.






















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