Are You Listening? Turning Social Media Conversations Into Business Advantage

Steve Rappaport, author of Listen First! The ARF’s new playbook shares his expertise on how to turn social media conversations into business advantage.

Nearly anywhere you turn online, people are talking about your products and categories, what they like and dislike, what they want, what pleases them or ticks them off, and what they would like you to do, or stop doing. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, millions of blogs, forums, Web sites, and review sites make most of these conversations public, accessible, and researchable to every company. By listening in on those conversations, you position yourself to develop powerful insights into people that, coupled with strategy, drive your business forward and create an enduring advantage.

So…how can conversational listening help create a business advantage?

Listening is ideal for sensing and responding because it interprets meaning from signals of change that are embedded in conversations. Listening tunes into what people are saying today, gives their thoughts and comments structure, and, when astutely analyzed, leads to business-building insights.

The most successful listening companies do great work, have the guts to act on compelling insights, let go of the past, and shape their futures. Just imagine what boldness it took for Hennessy’s management to transform a centuries-old cognac associated with brandy snifters, genteel surroundings, and after-dinner pleasures into an urban, music-inflected brand, where the beverage is mixed into drinks and enjoyed at parties?

Or to persuade an editor who built a career on parenting publications that the readers for a new mom-targeted magazine she has in development don’t want that information? There’s a related factor, as well: These companies tell convincing stories from the listening research; they connect listening to the business in ways that bring people fully to life; understanding people as they are, not necessarily as a company would like them to be, makes tough decisions easier and sets a path for growth. Listening is not just another research technique; it furnishes a new platform for business and research, and needs to be recognized as such. If you haven’t already, get the know-how needed to listen and turn conversations into enduring business advantage.

Note: If you are in the Boston area and are attending the Future M conference, Steve Rappaport (above) of the ARF and Compete will be hosting an event on September 13, 11:30am- where Steve will share winning plays and insights from over fifty case studies. You will leave with a clearer understanding of listening’s value to your brands and business, and better equipped to make decisions about listening initiatives. Space is limited.