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Listening to Your Customers: 15 Minutes a Day

Yesterday I wrote about “having a customer strategy, not a social media strategy.” Today I want to address how to do that in practical terms.

Whenever I speak with people about leveraging social media, the primary challenge for them is not understanding that there is value, and not even a huge barrier in skillset. The problem is often time – feeling that they have any time to either shift their brain into the social media world each day, or physically find a half hour to operate within it.

For those folks (which is most folks), I suggest this:

  • Don’t think of social media as something new, think of it as a way to do what you already do: focus on learning about and serving your customers.
  • Set aside 15 minutes a day to find and listen to your customers on social media.

So off the bat, we are trying to accomplish two main things here:

  1. Take the pressure off creating content, which takes more than 15 minutes for most people. While engaging with customers is the ultimate goal, we’ll just take that off the table for the time being.
  2. Create a simple process to find those who you feel are your existing or potential customers. This is not simple for many brands. Likely, it may take a few weeks of ’15 minutes per day’ to find an intriguing example of your core audience and their activities within social media.

How can you begin listening to your customers? Here is one way to consider:

  • Go to Twitter.com, and search on a few keywords. Ideally, you could search on a phrase, because just like searching in Google, you will get more specific results. So if I were a plumber, I could search on the term “sink leaking” and would find these results: days worth of people in their worst plumbing moments. What can a plumber learn from this? Right here is the basis of their future marketing materials and advertisements. You are seeing exactly how people around the world react to a plumbing issue. If you can use their words, their sentiments to find an engaging message – you have the basis for a successful marketing campaign. What’s more, you can interact with these people. Through @replies, you can follow up and find out how they went about finding a plumber or addressing the issue, and how satisfied they were with the process and solution.

This is just one example – but the start of an overall process of integrating your customer’s attitudes and needs into your daily workflow. For those who spend your entire day dealing with customers, it reshifts you to considering the needs of those who are not yet your customers.

After a month’s time, you will have spent 5 hours leveraging social media to better understand your customers and how you can serve them in new ways. That small commitment can have a profound effect on your business.