18% of brands don’t listen to their social customers

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42% of social media users talk to brands

… and 35% of users post information about a brand on social media sites.

There’s a lot of engagement. 

But all this engagement is totally wasted if you don’t know what is being said about you.  Do you care about what is happening online?  Do you have a listening strategy?  No? well, you’re not alone.

If you’re one of the 18% of brands that doesn’t have a brand monitoring strategy in place.  What should you do? 

70% of marketers have little idea about that people are saying about their brands or their clients brands.  They don’t have an idea how many free and paid for tools are available.  I’ve put together a list of  a few free, paid and crowdsourcing tools which you can use to listen to the conversation:

Free

Paid

Crowdsourcing

Backtype Alterian Crowdspring
How Sensible Hootsuite Pro Fold It
Social Mention Lithium Threadless
Tinker Meltwater buzz Mechanical Turk
Thinkup Onalytica Mob4hire
Who is Talking Peerindex WeArehunted
  PeopleBrowsr  
  Radian6  
  Sysomos  

There are many more tools, with new tools evolving and disappearing each month so this list is not exhaustive.

But having a list of tools is not enough.  You also need to have a listening plan that deals with the appropriate actions to take when brand mentions occur.  And if you have a listening plan, you also need an engagement framework in place to deal with the data:

Discovery: Blog post, Tweet, News article

Evaluation: Positive, Neutral, Critical, Anger

Assessment: General enquiry, Dissatisfaction, Criticism, Rage

Response: Success story, correction, Facts

Considerations: Timeliness, Tone and Manner, Acknowledgement

When brands listen actions happen.  Brands shouldn’t wait until a social crisis occurs before they respond.  They need to respond promptly and they need to listen to the customer.

Otherwise, their messages will fall on deaf ears…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image credit: ky olsen