Written by Dharminder Biharie
Business Development Manager
Xerox Graphic Communication, The Netherlands

Stop, Look, and Listen: Social Listening with your Customers

In elementary school, we were always taught the golden rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. I now find myself observing the golden rule of social media more than ever: stop, look and listen…largely due to being part of the Business Development Group at Xerox Netherlands and responsible for helping our customers take their successful businesses to the next level,

I talk with many individuals within print operations every day – from marketers to the directors of the company. Let me know if this scenario resonates with you: A client you have been working with is highly interested in your solution, as long as you are able solve his problem. Sounds familiar, right? Resolving your customer’s pain points, however, cannot be done through an act of silence.

In an organization, complaints always go from bottom to top. Whether the subject is training, product offerings, market penetration, or bad coffee. Conversely, any pain felt by the company, such as low turnover, goes from top to bottom. Action must be taken to turn the tide.

The higher your customer is within the organization, the faster they will want a solution. You must come quickly with a solution.

Knowing the basics about your customer’s organization is only part of the battle. Figuring out the pain points and how you can resolve them plays a much larger role in solving the puzzle. Thankfully, tools such as social media make it easy to listen to the voice and pain points of your customer and their clients.

Here are some easy social listening tips that you can employ today:

  • Twitter: Looking for a simple yet powerful method to monitoring relevant, customizable feeds? Start by creating a stream using ‘#’ and relevant keywords to your industry. For example, #oilpricing, #pharmamarketing or #carbrand. Now you can easily listen to what end users are saying.
  • LinkedIn: Find relevant groups where your customers are active and join in on the discussions. Providing valuable insight can help you quickly gain credibility with your peers and help you earn valuable networking opportunities. Just never forget to investigate the network of your connections, as LinkedIn gives you a great start on this.
  • Facebook: Follow a company and listen to the tone of their voice. See how they deploy marketing activities, and what their followers have to say.
  • HootSuite is a great tool that provides streams and analytics for a variety of social media channels, allowing you to monitor the pulse of your followers based on key words you have defined…plus its fully automated.
  • Industry websites: Trends and developments are often mentioned, further strengthening the information you’ve been accumulating.
  • News through Google Alerts: There is a lot more posted than you think – but it’s all dependent upon how you set-up your alerts through key words.
  • Annual report: This is not always present, but if it is, make sure you at least know the vision and direction of the customer.

The first step of Account Management is listening to your customer. We once did this at a desk during a meeting, but now we can practice this through the Internet via social media.

And never forget: we have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. Look and listen first and foremost, and you will always understand your customers better.

What have your experiences been with leveraging social media to actively listen to your clients and their needs? Do you find it to be an effective tool? What challenges have you come across?

Comment below for a chance to receive a free copy of the book ‘Social Media Field Guide: A Resource for Graphic Communications’ by Julie Shaffer and Mary Garnett. This book details best practices for many of today’s social media tools, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and more. Learn how to successfully implement these into your business today!

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Dharminder Biharie is a Business Development Manager with Xerox Graphic Communication in The Netherlands. To get in touch with Dharminder, please contact Dharminder.biharie@xerox.com, + 31 (0) 6 2020 499 42