As if it was yesterday, I can hear my mom saying, “Gerard Michael Moran, do you have your listening ears on?” Or, “I know you can hear me, but are you listening?” I typically wasn’t listening since my mind was on so many other things. Flash ahead to today, I truly need another set of high-tech, social media listening ears, since there is so much content to sift through to do my job. My mom would be proud that I was considering these high0-tech listening alternatives!
Working as the social media lead and Center of Excellence for SAP in North America, I have been receiving regular inquires to help enable our marketing and sales team to listen better to:
- Seize the advantage on the competition
- Understand what’s happening with our customers
- Have a daily handle on the buzz in the industry
- Have real-time access to media coverage on niche business areas
- Tap into what the individual influencers are saying?
I have to agree, these are five key areas which to pay attention and listen to be able to serve up daily updates and engage in each as informed!
When connecting with my marketing and sales peers, the first request is always along the lines of providing a heavy-duty social media listening tool like Netbase, Radian 6 or Alterian access to be an immediate solution. Most times it is not the best tool to do the job of answering the above five questions. I am not sure if the correct analogy of using these types of tools is like bringing a bulldozer to a container gardening party, but I think it does the trick of making my point of too much fire power for the basic work that we need done.
I truly derive inspiration to solve these types of problems revisiting my comfortable days of 1980s television … when the mullet was cool! In this case … MacGyver! What would MacGyver do if he had to do all of this social media listening?
Well I combined my Google and Apple Store searching skills and found one great application that every marketing and sales executive should have to manage their real-time social listening stream and keep them a step ahead of the competition. Let me explain how Flipboard is THE free tablet tool to use to get your social listening ears on! I will position the benefits of Flipboard in the form of key questions that need to be answered:
What would you do you do if there was one free tablet application to answer all of these questions?
- How do you keep real-time tabs on the competition, like Salesforce.com or Joes Bakery?
- How do you follow real-time discussions around your individual key topics like “retail anlaytics”, “big data” or “MacGyver collectibles”?
- How do you easily maintain contact with LinkedIn contacts of co-workers, customers and prospects so you can connect with them sooner vs. later (or after your competition)?
- How do you read key media publication updates in your industry, such as retail or furniture, when visiting sites and reading emails is too time consuming?
- What are the retail, florist or other industry thought leaders saying that will help you stay ahead of the competitive curve and have strategic conversations with your customers?
I highly recommend that you use Flipboard as your personal social media listening, one-stop-shop to provide your real-time updates. Flipboard is one of those MacGyver-like tools that updates on information on your customers, competitors, media publications, thought leaders, contacts and the conversation around anything you need to understand. These updates include conversations, videos, pictures or Facebook posts, just about everything you need to know to stay on top of your listening game!
Like anything else, it’s a GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) proposition. And, that is where the strategy comes in of knowing who your competition is, what key terms you should follow to inform you of the buzz, who your industry influencers are and what key media publications should you follow!
There will be a little bit of work on your end with entering the conversational terms, customer handles, etc. However, in under 15 minutes, you can be monitoring your business intelligence on the convenience of your tablet – iPad or Android!
So, can you hear what I hear in social media? No? Maybe you are not listening the right way and need to put on a new kind of “listening” ears, one that would make your Mom and my Mom proud! Now, I just have to get my mom to open up a Facebook account to keep up with her grandchildren, who doesn’t have HER listening ears on now?