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Why social listening is important?

Are we listening right? A question all marketers should give a thought to. Social listening has definitely become an essential addition to today’s digital marketing strategy, but we continue to treat it as a value added service.

Unlike other forms of advertising, digital gives us the freedom to be more like a telephone and less like a gramophone. Don’t we all hate conversations that are just one-sided? The real value comes from what we hear, not what we say.

As digital marketers our ultimate motive is to make our brands as human as possible and to do so we really need to build a connect with our audience. The easiest way to get there is by moving from selective hearing to active listening. We tend to restrict ourselves to listening to what we want, as a result missing opportunities to identify new ways to mine insights.

Social media is inundated with posts, blogs, tweets,videos and photos that tell us so much about the lives of our consumers, their choices and behaviour. Listening actually identifies the questions we didn’t know we needed to answer.

How can we make the best use of all this information?
Take cues from feedback: A consumer feedback can tell you so much about what he liked or disliked about your communication/product/service.

Join conversations: As you listen to conversations, you’ll likely find, that people are often asking for help. They’re looking for tips about how to do something and the best way to do it. The idea is to connect with your consumers by giving them a customised solution to their query. You’ll be surprised at how much they would love this gesture.

Pre-empt trends: Listening to online conversations helps you proactively understand which are the upcoming events/days consumers are excited about, in turn helping you as a brand to plan or schedule campaigns relevant to such events/days

Here are some brilliant examples of social listening done well:
Don’t we all love it when someone unexpectedly finds a solution to our problems? Here’s how Van Heusen India is doing it so well for it’s audience.

We all know that there are certain topics that are bound to trend online every year. The volume of conversations generated around days like April Fools Day is phenomenal and here’s how Ola Cabs used the trend to their advantage. This was one of the most talked about activity this April Fools Day.

It’s hard to predict the kind of things that will “break” the Internet, but a picture of a simple dress – and debate about its true colour – did just that. While optic experts explained why the dress looked white and gold to some and black and blue to others – and others deemed the dress ‘ugly’ whatever colour it was – the Salvation Army South Africa had an inspired idea.

Therefore, the bottom line is being passive is passé. Keep Listening folks!
“You cannot learn anything with your mouth open.”-Earl Nightingale

Anushila Gurung

Anushila Gurung is a Digital Marketing professional specializing in Social Media. She is currently working as a Trend Spotting Manager at Razorfish India and is part of one of the first social media hubs deployed for real-time marketing. Her work here is a mix of online listening, content marketing and account management. Prior to Razorfish, Anushila has worked with Tata Global Beverages & Madison Media.
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