By: Jon Fisher @jonnfisher
I can count the number of good listeners I know on one hand. I know a lot of great talkers and conversationalists. But people who will listen and ask questions without their own agenda are truly hard to find. Sadly, it’s a trait that is no longer valued.
Just look at college for example. Constantly, students are being told to perfect their elevator pitch and to always be prepared to tell their personal story. While this is great for acing a job interview, it does not teach students one of the most important parts of relational success. And even when we do stop talking and take the time to listen, we often fail to hear what the other person is saying. Steven Covey, a well-known American author and speaker, states that “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” From personal experience and recognizing my own faults, I’d have to say this is true.
Being a good listener is not only key to building deeper relationships, but also exposes us to new ideas, perspectives, and subjects we know less about. A common attribute of highly intelligent people is their willingness to ask questions. Look no further than Socrates and Albert Einstein, who are recognized as two of the brightest minds in history. Einstein claimed that he had “no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
This curiosity and willingness to listen is especially important for brands in regards to their approach to social media. In order to build a successful social media strategy, a four part blueprint should be followed:
- Strategy – analyze customers, competitors, collaborators, and your company
- Plan – prepare your content, campaigns, and the platforms you will use
- Programs – create profiles, response management, community building
- Measurement – track mentions, followers, engagement, response rate
This is referred to as the social analytics cycle. Within the blueprint for social success, measurement is essential as it shows the brand what is working with its target audience and what isn’t. In this step, a brand should be asking three questions. First, what are my best channels? Second, what are my best and worst posts in each channel? And lastly, which content resonates best with my followers? This kind of social listening is how brands obtain social intelligence. In other words, it’s where brands find actionable insights to make impactful decisions for their business.
Social listening is what causes Taco Bell to introduce a taco with a fried chicken shell or Hidden Valley to come out with Buffalo ranch dressing. On top of this, it’s what assures them that these moves will be game changers. If Chipotle can find a way to be “killing it on Instagram” (credit to our guest speaker James Brown, not the pop singer) with burritos, any brand can have a successful social media presence. It just takes being willing to ask questions and listening to what your social media is telling you.
Like the old adage says: talk less, listen more. And you might just learn something.