5347237755_33539acea3_zMany enterprise-level businesses understand the benefits of listening to the social web to help them identify warm business leads, engage with high profile influencers (such as journalists and bloggers), manage customer service issues and maintain positive public relations. This is often referred to as “monitoring”. However, monitoring is not the be-all and end-all of the benefits of engaging with the social media landscape.

Monitoring, which tends to be limited to brand-related terms, conversations around products or services and perhaps competitive analysis, is an incredibly valuable business tool (provided it is supplemented with positive engagement). However, monitoring does not however cover the whole remit of social media “listening”.

While monitoring helps you react to current market conditions and stay agile, listening helps you make more informed decisions based on factors beyond basic buying signals and direct communications.

Advanced social media listening opens up a whole new world of big data. The more you listen, the more you can do with that data.

For example, if you know what your customers and potential customers are talking about beyond your standard brand and industry-related terms you could:

  • Build television advertising schedules based on the shows that they watch
  • Identify new markets based on where your potential customers are located
  • Launch new products or services designed around customer preferences and needs
  • Define brand guidelines and design principals based on customer aspirations and tastes.
  • Recruit brand ambassadors and celebrity endorsements reflecting the interests of your potential audience
  • Plan strategic public relations campaigns, identifying the media outlets and journalists your core audience consume the most

Listening, unlike monitoring, does not necessarily have to turn into engagement. In fact, in many cases this could be counterproductive. Its main purpose is the gathering of intelligence which can influence business decisions beyond sales, marketing and customer support, helping you develop more strategic approaches to business across your entire enterprise.

To find out how Viralheat can help you maximize your ROI from social media, join us for a free product demonstration every Thursday at 1pm (PST), 10am (EST), 6pm (UK).

Photo credit: liz west