If you have a business or a community that you are trying to grow than yes! You want to know this secret. Listen. Yes you want to listen to what your target market is saying about you with out interfering with the conversation.
In this Blue Shirt video Best Buy speaks about the strategy of listening to your employees for insight into what your customers are wanting. Because your front line employees are speaking with your customers everyday and hear their complaints and kodos. They have their ear to the ground so to speak. By providing employees an online space where they can discuss customer issues and pass along a pat on the back for good service we have a better picture of what the customer experience is really like.
What’s that buzz? Tell me wants happening!
As Li and Bernoff discuss, a companies brand isn’t what you intend it to be, but it is whatever your customers say it is (2011. p 78). So it makes sense to listen to what the online community is saying. They look at two listening strategies in their book Groundswell. One is to set up your own private community. For my purposes of engaging women who are working in predominantly male industries, I have set up a private group in LinkedIn. However, it isn’t working to engage my community as much as I would like to see. It is quite possible that the work involved to make a LinkedIn page in order to get into the group is too cumbersome. So here again you need to know what social media your target uses and why. Good thing we know about social technographics. My target market are spectators. They will read articles and share them but rarely do they comment or provide content.
The other strategy to listen to your customer is brand monitoring. You could do a survey or a focus group to find out what they think of your brand but a more honest and unsolicited tactic can provide you with insightful detail.
Companies can use vendors like LRWMotiveQuest. Calling their approach “Online Anthropolgy” they leverage the groundswell, monitoring unstructured word of mouth consumer-generated data from online communities, to gain empirical insights in real time (About LRWMotiveQuest ). This is a very powerful tool as they provide analytics that can delve deeper into the groundswell and look at emotional states of consumers. Check out this interview with Brook Miller CTO of MotiveQuest as he explains the power of their analytics.