Prior to the birth of social media, one of the best ways to obtain consumer feedback on your product or service was through communicating directly with your customers to understand their needs and wants. The key to this form of business development is to actively listen to customer feedback and to make tweaks to your business proposition according to what you have learnt. Businesses that carry out this form of marketing are much more able to flex and bend with changes in the market place as they have taken the time to understand what their consumer requires. Naturally this gives them a competitive edge over those who are two busy working on their business to listen to what customers are saying. Ultimately carrying out regular listening and learning exercises will mean that your bottom line will reap the rewards!

In this technology driven world we now live in, these essential principles of marketing are still vital for success, but the way that we can go about unearthing them has changed drastically. We can now use social listening tools to carry out much of our active listening work for us and it can literally provide us with information on anything anyone has said on an open API.

Some say it’s a little creepy using these tools but I personally find it fascinating and insightful. Carrying out a social listening exercise can provide you with a wealth of in-depth knowledge on your specific industry, your competitors and your brand. It’s like holding up a glass to the great wall that is the internet and hearing all its many whispers! But, social listening will only provide you with insights as smart as the person who is entering the sometimes very detailed and elaborate search terms. Therefore, if you are interested in scraping the web for information on your arch rival or you want to monitor the sentiment of a recent product launch, don’t do it alone! I always collaborate with colleagues on this side of things as the search terms you can come up with in a team always provide a much more successful scrape of the web to find your desired answers. So, when it comes to Boolean searches – remember the old adage: two heads are better than one!

Scraping the web for information on what people are saying about you is only half the puzzle. The other half is to interpret the reams of data that this exercise provides you with. There is a certain skill to this which only really comes with practice, but if you need a hand to help you open your ears and really listen to what is being said about you online, why not get in touch and we can embark on an active listening exercise together. Who knows what valuable insights you might learn to enable you to tweak your business model or marketing strategy and accommodate your markets demands.