You Ask, I Answer: Social Listening for Small Business?

Tim asks, “Any tips for convincing a small business that they need to pay for social listening, Not just posting?”

You Ask, I Answer: Social Listening for Small Business?
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Christopher Penn 0:13

In today’s episode, Tim asks any tips for convincing a small business that they need to pay for social listening? Not just posting? Sure.

Do you want to know when people are talking about you? And that’s, that’s the easiest way to position it.

Do you want to know when people are talking about you? Do you want to know what they’re saying? When they’re talking about you? If the answer is no, then you’re not going to make a sale on social listening software, because that’s a business that is not interested in listening to people, it’s not interested in listening to what customers have to say.

On the other hand, if a company is interested in listening, that would be how I would try to convince that person.

Think about it this way.

social listening is about hearing what people are saying about any given topic.

So it could be you.

It could be your industry, it could be the problems people are having.

It could be your competitors, what people are saying about your competitors? Wouldn’t you like to know what people are saying about your competitors? Wouldn’t you like to know what people are saying about you? And if nobody’s talking about you, that is a pretty big problem.

Right? If nobody’s talking about you, if there’s nothing to listen to, you’re not doing a very good job of building a brand.

Right? That’s fundamentally what’s happening when there’s no data to look at.

And social listing, if you’re tuned in to your name, your products, your services, your executives, and there’s no conversation, then you need to invest a lot more heavily in brand building, because you’re not, you’re not creating a brand, you’re not creating something that’s worth talking about.

If nobody’s talking about you and your competitors and your industry, then you’ve got a much bigger problem.

You’re basically in a space that nobody is active in social media about, which is maybe fine, right? There are certain industries where, yeah, there isn’t a whole lot of conversation on public social media.

And that’s a good thing, right? Anything around like national security, you should not be having top secret conversations on Twitter, right? Just like you shouldn’t be leaving, you know, top secret file folders in like, you know, next year pool.

Those industries, highly regulated industries, yes, you for sure do not want to be having conversations of a sensitive nature in public.

And social listening might be of relatively little help in those situations.

Because again, that’s not where the conversations happening.

But good media monitoring tools, can can provide that the social part along with everything else, right, there are certain services like Talkwalker, for example, that cover not just social listening, but also media publications, news, television, podcasts, etc.

And that is something that you’d probably want to have your your your finger on the pulse of to say, are people on podcasts about our industry talking about us? Do we ever get mentioned in podcasts, if we do get mentioned, great.

If we don’t, then people don’t think about us people don’t remember that we exist, people don’t realize that we are part of this industry.

And that’s something that you can and should solve for.

So the way to make a use case for media monitoring or social listening, or conversation monitoring, or whatever term you want to call it, is one, does the organization already have a commitment to listening in some form? Right? Do you read customer emails? Do you handle customer complaints? Well, if the answer there is no, you’re probably not going to get anywhere social listening, right? If you’re not listening to the most valuable people that you already have contact with your customers, you’re not going to listen to anybody else.

And it is time possibly to update your LinkedIn profile.

If the company says yes, we have a culture of listening, we have a culture of of paying attention to what customers have to say, then you can say great, here are places where customers are having conversations.

And you can use you know, either free or low cost tools.

One of my favorites is Talkwalker alerts.

Christopher Penn 4:21

If you go to talkwalker.com/alerts you can sign up for free, some free basic media monitoring, and see what is being said to see what’s being talked about.

If nobody is saying anything.

Nobody’s talking in and you’ve set up your queries, well, then, yeah, social listening might not be a good fit.

On the other hand, if people are talking about the industry, or talking about your competitors, maybe even talking about you, then you can demonstrate a business case like yeah, we want to know what the audience has to say about our industry so that we can react to it right if We’re doing some social listening and our competitors are talking and they’re, they’re talking trash about everybody else the industry, we want to know about it, we want to be able to say, that’s not true, right? That’s not true, our burger is just as large as their burger or, you know, our pizza delivery is just as on time as their pizza delivery, whatever the example is, fill in your own blank there.

But you want to make sure that you can showcase here’s the conversations that are relevant to us, and why we need to be listening for them.

And maybe, if there’s good competitive chatter that’s available, maybe even showcase Hey, we might even be able to snipe a customer from a competitor by being part of the conversation faster than our competitors are.

Right.

And so we would use social listening software to do that.

So there’s a lot of different ways.

Obviously, one objection is price.

quite small businesses, small budgets, for the most part is a general rule.

And there are options all up and down the spectrum for, for literally every budget, there’s the free things like Talkwalker alerts, on the other hand, is the paid Talkwalker product, which is more for mid sized business.

There’s a company like brand 24, which is a small to midsize business sector, this, there’s so many different options, all along the spectrum of tools that can do a lot of good listening for you find the right tool that fits your budget that fits what you’re going to do with the data.

But make sure that you have those examples of here’s how we would use this data to take action because that for a lot of people is the hard part.

Explain to a company why they need they don’t see what you do with the information.

When you see a media mention of yourself, for example, maybe you see a someone calling you out on Twitter in a good way.

Yeah, retweet that run ads, promote that post boost, do something.

And once you have a series of decisions that you take based on a piece of media, then it’s easy to justify media monitoring and social listening, because you can say yeah, this is what you do with the information.

This is how we take action on it.

This is how we build the business with it by saying yeah, we can we use this as third party testimonials, right? We can showcase these things on our on our LinkedIn page or on our website.

Here’s what people are saying about us.

Unpaid people are saying this about us on Twitter.

This is you know, these are conversations you want to highlight.

So that’s how I would do it.

Come up with the use cases.

Figure out where your company’s culture is around things like social listening, and then go from there.

Good question.

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