In some ways the phrase “social listening” sounds chic and intimidating at the same time.  To me, social listening sounds a little something like what James Bond would be doing if he was on Twitter or Facebook.  There may be a touch of intrigue and mystique involved in social listening, but it really has become a serious business and it actually has been around for a while.  The reality is that B2B companies should definitely be getting on board with social listening, if they haven’t already.  One important reason for adopting social listening is provided by an article published via Social Media Examiner on 12/29/11:  “Why? Because listening is an ongoing process that is necessary to keep a strategy fresh and competitive. It enables decision-makers to find and better understand opportunities...”  This reason also explains that social listening is a 2-way street between B2B companies and the people they do business with.

Why is social listening becoming so important to B2B companies?   Here are 3 reasons that are yielding positive results:

1. Proactively handling and possibly diffusing negative situations regarding your company

Social listening allows people to easily find and track online conversations related to brands or B2B companies.  If negative comments are made, it is possible for company representatives to quickly jump in and either explain the situation or correct any misunderstandings.  The possible customer service opportunities are huge in these situations – either through maintaining positive sentiments or by turning negative situations into positive ones.

2. Identifying potential clients and lead generation opportunities

Social listening, combined with some simple target marketing research by B2B companies, can allow businesses to uncover a treasure trove of information.  This information can be filtered and analyzed to determine important aspects such as the types of businesses that are actually looking for your solutions and what their specific pain points may be.  When this information is appropriately utilized when introducing yourself and your company, the possibility for lead generation opportunities can be increased significantly, especially if you are “speaking their language” via online platforms.

3. Understanding your competition to consequently offer your potential and existing clients the very best

Finally, social listening can allow B2B companies to see exactly what their competition is saying and doing online.  How do they engage with their audiences compared to your company?  What are they offering in the form of promotions, for example?  Social listening can be a very useful means for assisting B2B companies.  The businesses can use the online

information to provide better solutions and offerings which will ultimately benefit their clients.

Is social listening part of the strategy within B2B companies you either work or do business with?  I would like to hear your comments on what benefits you have seen so far.

Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Featured Image: By Sofiaperesoa (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons