One of the wonderful things that social media offers is the opportunity to engage with clients or customers in real time.
But what use is real-time engagement if you don’t understand current or potential clients? Knowing exactly what customers expect of you can be tricky if you’re a small business owner. Unlike bigger companies, many small businesses don’t have a marketing team at their disposal, telling them exactly what direction all of their efforts should go.
Fortunately, the concept of social listening can help.
Social listening is the act of tracking and responding to conversations about your business, brand, product or industry. By monitoring certain phrases or keywords, you can participate in a meaningful, real-time dialogue with those who matter. You can respond quickly to both positive reviews and complaints. You can also make yourself and industry expert by engaging in conversations about your line of work.
It’s not enough to monitor all your tags and mentions. As a business owner, you also have to forge new connections, and transform conversations about your business or industry into sales opportunities.
You can also use social listening as a way to understand what your clients or customers want. Even if business is going quite well, it’s important to always consider new ways of improving your product or brand, and creating content that speaks to their desires. Trends change. For long-term, sustainable success, social listening is a must for small businesses who don’t have the budget for a marketing team.
As a small business owner, how do you take advantage of this new insight? Here’s an excellent list of free social listening tools to get you started. Google Alerts is included in this list, and is an easy way for beginners to keep track of the conversations that involve their business or impact their industry.
Whichever tool you use, be thoughtful when choosing the keywords or phrases you track. Choose words that are associated with your company’s name and the industry you work in, and include common misspellings. Also track specific locations, such as your city (“Boston bakery,” “Atlanta car restoration”) or neighborhood (“Rogers Park coffee shop,” “Uptown doggie daycare”).
Social listening is a game changer for small businesses who want to market themselves through social media. If you need more guidance, always feel free to reach out to DCA Virtual Business Support directly. We specialize in helping small businesses get the most out of their social media experience.