Commercials, billboards, print ads, radio ads, T-shirts, labels all yelling “Buy my stuff!!” Traditional advertisers never really listened to us. It’s always been about them and their product. So we’ve learned to tune them out, effectively nullifying much of their effort. Enter social media, offering marketers another chance to get it right by having conversations and building relationships. Marketing an event these days all begins with listening.
Social Media Marketing
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, et al, all started out as a fun way to help fulfill the natural human desire to connect with other humans on a meaningful level. As their popularity exploded, marketers started looking at how they could use these new tools. But when they tried to use their old pushy, impersonal methods in these new spaces, not only did they get no response, traditional advertisers were actually derided and ostracized as “spammers.”
So the smart marketers adapted. They learned that as a marketing tool, social media is only useful if people are engaging with you. How do you get that engagement? A) By listening B) By using what you learn to respond and build relationships within your social media community
Listen, Listen, Listen!
Unlike old-style “push” marketing, social media is a two-way street. It’s about dialogue and creating opportunities for dialogue. You don’t create dialogue by repeatedly getting in someone’s face. So those who master the art of listening have a distinct advantage.
Twitter is a great place to listen. You can create a search on Twitter for any subject, brand or key word that you want and you can monitor that search indefinitely.
I learned about the #eventprofs community on Twitter by doing this. It was like stumbling on a goldmine of people in the event industry talking on a daily basis and sharing information. You can search for the people who might be your event attendees, or potential clients. If you use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite for Twitter, you can create columns for each Twitter search and listen in on real-time conversations.
You can also get daily email alerts on more comprehensive web searches on Google Alerts. Or choose from real-time searches or email alerts about your topic on Social Mention which also allows you to choose from a variety of social media site categories.
Watch these searches. Through them you may learn about the general perception of your brand, how your competitors are using social media and what trends may lie ahead for your industry.
If you have a news aggregator or feed reader like iGoogle, Google Reader or MyYahoo, you can collect these feeds in one place. Speaking of feed readers, they are also a great place to collect RSS feeds of your favorite blogs. As you listen on Twitter, you will find links to some very helpful blogs. If they pertain to your business, event or followers, get an RSS feed and follow them. They are another great way to listen and will be useful in helping you to add value to your social media community.
It can be scary to know that anyone can complain in public or give you a bad review that could affect attendance at your event or even your business as a whole. But seen as opportunity, rather than a problem, you can turn the discussion into an opportunity to showcase your supreme customer service.
If you notice a tweet or post complaining about your event or business, respond. Try to find a solution, be sympathetic and make sure that the attendee/client feels that you are listening. Sometimes that is all that they need.
If you find that someone has just mentioned you or your event, respond to them if you can. It spreads good will and encourages people to promote you. I experienced this method firsthand when I was reading the book Trust Agents by Chris Brogan.
Chris is a great believer in using social media to listen and respond to customers and in the book he says that he tries to respond to everyone who mentions Trust Agents on Twitter. I decided to test this out by mentioning the book in a Tweet and in very short order I got a personal Tweet from Chris Brogan regarding my mention.
How do YOU make listening work for you?