Street News (Surveillance)

‘The word on the street is that there will be a major announcement soon’ –murmurs ensue, and the rumor mill transforms from a mere chirp to a stadium size chant. The fight or flight endorphins kick in, “Ahhhh, help, we’re being Googled”, and the cycle repeats. But when is the last time you or someone in your ecosystem employed active listening, media monitoring, and reputable surveillance measures to enhance your/their business and better inform your leadership and stakeholders? Whether you are a business developer, marketer, strategist, brand manager, service provider, or product developer, the insights you gather about your customers, prospects, products, and competitors “on the street” with active and social listening can be invaluable – just as important as real time discussion in identifying what is being said about your company, your competitors, your customers, and other points of interest. It’s not like we would “Google” you or anything right?!

If generating leads by solving problems, attracting new customers, identifying influencers and advocates, discovering where your ‘community’ hangs out, improving customer care, getting feedback, finding top talent, and driving innovation are important to you and your organization, then these are just a few of the benefits of social listening. It’s kind of like that moment you gave up your Social Security Number (SSN) 400 times at the Office of the Registrar your freshman year at college, when all your life you were told to “NEVER” disclose your SSN – right?! In today’s reality, search engines are heavily employed to identify or gather the ‘street news’ or ‘street credibility (cred)’ of people and organizations, and even potential dating opportunities – what?! You know it’s true!

If you’re a startup or a global enterprise, social listening can lead to very actionable leads. Even better, these leads may already be very far along in their maturity that can save you time and money without having to do much customer development to get them to convert. One word of caution is to not be too pushy or intrusive when jumping into someone else’s social conversation. As with most interactions, coming off too aggressively can be a turn off and a deterrent to making the connection. You need to know when and how to jump into someone else’s social conversations to avoid being pushy. A leading method is to make sure you have something valuable to say.

You don’t necessarily have to engage in ‘every’ conversation on ‘every’ platform or website. It’s more productive and beneficial if you participate only when you can offer real help. Social listening is also key to some slightly more intangible aspects of customer engagement relating to how they think, what triggers them, why some things appeal whereas others do not. This is critical to being ahead of the pack and in sync with customer needs. Incidentally, omnichannel marketing automation tools enables the profiling of customers through social listening and operational risk management. It is this level of customer engagement insight that can result in a lot more traction among brands vis-à-vis the usual social media analytics.

The formula is simple – but you must actively pursue and execute the formula to make it pay: f • Listen into the active and organic conversations surrounding a business interest + start your competitive analysis + dig into what’s driving that situation = healthy surveillance indicative of consumer trends, purchase intent, service and product attributes, drivers of sentiment, competitors, or category-level conversations. Long story short, listen up! If used properly social listening can transform your business!

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