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

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, + 31 (0) 6 2020 499 42

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  1. Ingrid Coke January 14, 2013 -

    This article is quite informative and timely, as MAPCO transitions into offering cross-media marketing solutions to a varied target market. I certainly would appreciate more information on how to integrate, leverage and maximize the full potential of social media.

  2. Bill Michael January 14, 2013 -

    Hello Ingrid – I’m glad you found this article to be interesting and helpful! The social media landscape can be very intimidated, but by surveying the land and actively participating in listening activities – you can really bring great value to your business.

    I’d like to send you a free copy of the book, ‘Social Media Field Guide’, as I think you will find great benefits in the suggestions it has for businesses wanting to get involved in social media. I will send you an email to get your mailing address. Thanks again for the comment and good luck in your transition into social media!

  3. Dharminder Biharie January 15, 2013 -

    Hello Ingrid, Thanks for your reply and thanks for reading our blog. First of all, you will need to know what Social Media channel in mentioned to do and to deliver for yourself and your customer. I would advise you to read the two books of Erik Qualman, ‘Digital Leader’ and ‘Socialnomics’ ( You can also get from your local Xerox contact a copy of ‘Print Providers Guide to Social Media’ by Peter I. Muir. This is also a very helpful tool as starter. There are a lot of website that will tell you all kinds of stories…but the first thing is to learn by Social Media. You need to understand the voice of the end customer before you can offer a service to your customer. Outline the pain points.

    After reading and gaining information, you need to develop a framework of the services MAPCO Printers Ltd will want to deliver. In Holland, we see small and medium Xerox Graphic Arts companies offering Social Media Services on a monthly basis to their subscription base.

    The tool I love to work with is as it is a very effective platform to deliver and manage social media. They do have Hootsuite University for online education. Once you get the Social Media DNA with the right tools you will enjoy this offering to the customers.

  4. Ingrid Coke January 15, 2013 -

    Thank you so much Dharminder. Therefore, as we transition into offering cross media marketing solutions using XMPie, are we saying then full “cross media”/multi-channel marketing solutions can and should include social media? Both as a service to our clients, as well as a means to enhance our own communication with our clients by using these channels. Two different ball games, however, when combined, work very well together. More to learn and grown….can’t wait to receive those books. Will keep you posted and really appreciate the support. Again, thanks again.

  5. Emmanuel Amoh October 31, 2015 -

    Quite an excellent delivery, and timely too. Our Company is reevaluating our value proposition to target its target market. Would really appreciate more exposition on the social media concept and its application.

    Emmanuel Amoh

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