Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Social Media as a Listening Platform

Much has been written about the importance of including social media in your marketing strategy and the types of activities that you can and should begin to explore. Perhaps one aspect of social marketing that might get short shrift is what Dave Evans of ClickZ writes about today in Get Started With Social Media -- leveraging social media as a listening platform.

There may in fact be greater merit right now to setting up your online community with blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et. al. as more listening and feedback outposts than as platforms for outbound marketing. If you remember from past posts I've written, I'm not sure if outbound marketing/messaging has yet found its' ideal niche in social media marketing (SMM). What social media can do right now is help form the foundation of an inbound marketing strategy, where you make available your intellectual capital, your ideas and solutions for solving business challenges and allow prospects and customers to find your brilliance rather than your going out and hunting them. By becoming a thought leader on specific business problems and best practices you gain much more credibility amongst your intended targets.

Part of that inbound strategy includes using social media as the true interactive medium that it is. And that means listening to all that is written about your company, your brand and your competitors. Social media is an outstanding marketing research tool. Just as important as providing your thinking and ideas online is the response to those ideas that you receive. It provides you with an ongoing dialogue with your constituents, to have a conversation, giving them the ability to express their likes and dislikes, what their needs, opinions, complaints are. How they like to be communicated to. It enables you to share, learn, better engage. Ultimately it gives you a deeper understanding and stronger bond w/your targets and helps guide and inform your own product/solution development.

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