How To Really Listen To Your Customers

Imagine you manufacture and sell the world’s finest wrestling shoes. They’re hand- stitched, hand crafted, and come with a money-back guarantee. You’re proud of your craftsmanship and want to tell everyone about your great product. So you run ad and marketing campaigns across all the major social media channels. Right? Wrong.

Using a scattershot approach to sell a specific product is a waste of your time, your energies, and your resources. Why pitch your amazing wrestling shoes to senior citizens, boys who play tennis, or a married woman in her 20’s? You need to refine your reach and the best way to do that is by listening to your customers. Repeat it with me: Listen to your customers.

Social media insights allow you to identify your ideal customer, understand his or her wants and needs, and engage online in meaningful conversations. You must take the time to truly learn about and listen to your customer.

Personal keywords are fine, surveys are okay, and focus groups are adequate, but all rely on self-reported information. You need to dig deeper.

Who is your ideal customer? Let’s say he’s a male, age 10-25 years old, and he belongs to a wrestling club and/or competes in school. Now, where can you find him?

If you want to reach your customer, go where he hangs out. Who does he follow on Twitter? What sorts of content does he retweet? Which pages does he like on Facebook? What types of pictures does he post on Instagram? Which sports teams does he support? How does he spend his free time?

Armed with that data, you can now put it to use in your outreach efforts. Here are four simple ways to connect with your customer:

  1. Imagine words are catnip. Use your customer’s interests to uncover issues and items important to him. Then use these strategic words to deliver content he’ll care about, click on, read, and share. Nothing is nicer for your bottom line than having a customer share your content.
  2. Think like your customer. Insights will drive the type of content you create. For example, let’s say you discover 79 percent of your target demographic follows NCAA Division 1 wrestling on Twitter. Now you’re off to the races. Find college athletes who wear your shoes and encourage them to tweet using a special hashtag, produce a video or podcast about college wrestling, create an Instagram campaign featuring NCAA highlights, or post short NCAA blogs on Facebook.
  3. Listen and respond. Social listening is a powerful tool. It helps you better understand your customer. It allows you to respond in real time — across all channels — to people talking about your brand. And it boosts engagement and builds loyalty among your followers.
  4. Don’t go it alone. Partnerships are an ideal way to connect with your customers. Let’s go back to the Division I example. Perhaps you can become an official sponsor or have a presence at major wrestling matches. Maybe you start by talking with the AAU, National Wrestling Association, NUWAY, or other wrestling organizations. Pick the partners that make sense for you and your brand.

The digital world is a loud and buzzing space. There are plenty of people and companies clamoring for attention. Set yourself apart by listening, learning, and responding in thoughtful ways that truly help your customers.

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