Social Media Listening Coupled with Action – the Key to Positive Change

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Social Media Listening Coupled with Action – the Key to Positive Change


Synthesio Sessions Banner Final no 4

As we approach the holiday break and the stresses of work and Christmas shopping mount up, we’re sure you’ll want a little breather. So why not take five minutes out to read our fourth Synthesio Sessions installment?

This week we’ve got influential blogger and consultant Adam Tinworth in our red leather armchair, to pick his brain about social media monitoring, the next big innovation he’d like to see, and other musings. Adam has an extensive track record working in editorial and consulting around digital and social media, currently working as a visiting lecturer at City University, editor of a consultant for agency Brilliant Noise. He’s also got a great blog called ‘One Man and His Blog’ (definitely worth a read), featuring his thoughts on all things digital. So it’s safe to say he knows his stuff.

Kick back for a few minutes and hear what he has to say – and have a great holiday!

1. What are your recommended top 3 best uses for social media monitoring? Why should brands listen to social media?

Number one is, and always should be, “listen”: just build searches for key terms around your business, and watch. See what people are saying. See when they’re saying it, and the tone of their comments. That will allow you to prioritize your own number two and three. I come from a content and journalism background – so I’m biased towards contact building and maintaining through social media, research tasks, and crowd-sourcing information. But equally, depending on your department or business, marketing or customer support could be as important. Brands shouldn’t listen to social media. People within brands should listen to – and interact with – their customers and contacts that use social media. Lumping these distinct, human-scale interactions together as one mass called “social media” is often a barrier to achieving business benefits from social media. Start at a human level and scale up to a business level, rather than the other way around.

2. Who do you feel should ‘own’ social media monitoring in business / which departments (if any) have owned it in companies you’ve worked for?

I’ve been lucky enough to work with and for companies where it isn’t owned by any one department – and in at least one case, I’ve been involved in quite a protracted struggle to prevent it becoming owned. Fundamentally, social media is much like the telephone – it’s a great communication tool that everyone uses, but it might be more central to some departments’ functioning than others. I’m convinced that in 20 years “who owns social media?” will be as ludicrous a question as “who owns the telephone?”

3. What’s your most hated social media buzzword?

Engagement. It’s been so abused that the word is in danger of becoming – actually, no, is already – meaningless. I blogged about this one at some length.

4. What’s your favorite example/use case of ROI in social media listening?

Still, my favorite one is from years ago, before “social media” as we know it now existed. I was working with some agricultural journalists, who interacted with their industry online through a forum. The way that they listened, found the questions the farmers needed answering during an outbreak of foot and mouth, and then turned that around into site content, customer engagement and brand loyalty – by providing exactly what was needed – still inspires me today. It’s a shame that as the tools have gotten easier to use, people haven’t taken the opportunity to push the boundaries of the idea of doing business closely with their customers in the way they did.

5. What do you feel are the biggest challenges with social media listening solutions right now, and what would you love to see as the next big innovation(s) in listening?

Scaling is the big one, with a true commitment to making the business social close on its heels. Scaling – well, that needs better tools for distributing the task around the business rather than dumping an increasing need on a specialized social media team. But the innovation I really want to see is listening being translated into actual action. When our internet connection was accidentally disconnected earlier in the year, BT’s social media team responded to my complaints sympathetically and quickly but weren’t able to do anything to fix the problem at the time. Listening coupled with the ability to change things is critical to make this a successful part of the business. And we need to start thinking about social interaction in a different way to make that work.

Thanks very much for talking to us, Adam!

Check him out on his blogTwitterLinkedIn, and Google+

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