Making Money With Your Ears

By Temitope Peters

Listening is the best starting point in developing goals for your social media strategy. By garnering feedback that your customers post on social media about your brand or industry, you will be more capable of meeting their needs and securing their business.

How does this play out? Let’s look at Southwest Airlines as an example:

Southwest uses their Facebook page to assess customer feedback. When they post information about a new fare sale, their social media team is constantly filtering through comments to process how customers are responding. Comments are used to either affirm or disqualify future sales.

For example, if the majority of responses are positive, they will continue to offer sales similar to the one advertised. If the majority of responses are negative, then adjustments are made the next sale to better meet customer needs and desires. Customer-focused practices like this have kept Southwest profitable for over 40 years. As evidenced by more than four million Facebook “likes,” Southwest customers remain loyal because the airline listens and responds to customer needs.

This approach can be applied to many different types of businesses and organizations. Facebook and Twitter can be viewed much like a customer center – one that is far less expensive, and more convenient to manage. Listen to what your customers are saying so that you too can prioritize issues, find solutions and improve business practices.

As a result, like we have seen with Southwest, customers will reciprocate your commitment to customer service and satisfaction by sharing information about your brand through vehicles such as social media, Yelp reviews, blogs, and word of mouth.

Now let’s review a few resources that will maximize your social media listening skills. To begin, most social media channels have internal analytics that allow you to see when and how customers engage with your posts. These embedded tools are great resources, but users often become frustrated when working with multiple tabs and screens to analyze the data. Pam Dyer published a list on Social Media Today that featured the top 50 management tools, some of which can be used to aggregate social media listening, i.e., using one platform (some free and others not) to track the engagement on multiple social media accounts. Some of our favorites are Brandwatch, Facebook Insights, and Vocus.

What do you think? Does social media suffice for effective customer relations? Is listening an effective part of your social media strategy?