Social Success Strategy
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Listen. You need to know what your customers are saying.

A successful social media strategy means getting close to your customers. In a nutshell, the road map that I and many others recommend has five iterative steps:

1. Listen
2. Monitor
3. Analyze
4. Engage
5. Measure

In the interest of brevity, I will focus on the benefits of listening in this installment. Make sure you continue to follow my blog in the coming weeks, as I will unfold the benefits of each step.

The Future Belongs To The Listener

With the recent growth of Social Media, companies are struggling to understand how to leverage the huge amount of information that is being generated about their brands, and how to rein it in for a positive outcome.

With more than 600 million Facebook users, more than 25 billion Tweets a year, and two billion daily video views on YouTube, marketing as we knew it has changed. We aren’t communicating to a  passive, faceless customer, as we once thought, but to an empowered, opinionated and influential one.

A challenge? Definitely. But it also represents the best opportunity a marketer has ever been given.

Listening As First Step

One of the first steps in developing a marketing strategy is conducting a Situational Analysis, which helps tremendously in crafting the ever-important Positioning Statement.

Just think, when was the last time you had so much information at your fingertips about your customer’s preferences, attitudes and behavior as well as your competition?  And all this without having to spend on market research, or hire a multitude of overpriced consultants. Social media gives you the opportunity to find timely information to truly understand your environment.

All you have to do is to listen to what is being said about you, your competition and current or potential distribution channels. You can start with any of the free listening and tracking websites. Two of my favorites are Samepoint.com and Social Mention.

On these sites you can enter your brand name, or any other topic, quickly identify what is being said, and track comments. The downside is that the output is not contextual, so you may have to sift through many pages to identify the comments that are relevant to your needs.

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