Listening tools and techniques have progressed a loooooong stretch since the days of switchboard operators and party lines. However, despite the fact that technology is improved in many ways, our listening isn’t necessarily better. In fact, in many cases, as our friend The Phone Lady would surely tell you, technology has compromised the art of listening because we rely so heavily on electronic text in order to communicate.
Business growth depends on listening. Listening allows you to understand your customers and serve their needs better. It allows you to have authentic conversations that translate into meaningful business relationships. It allows you to hear your employees and develop a company culture that everyone is part of.
Listening also helps you generate leads. You listen to conversations at an event and recognize opportunities. You listen to phone conversations and recognize opportunities. Likewise, you can listen to online conversations, and if you’re listening the right way then you’ll find that opportunities are there.
Listening in all its forms is never a passive activity but rather one that requires intent and concentration. In addition to that intent and concentration, online listening also requires proactive searching for the conversations that you want to hear.
You have to know what you want to hear people talking about, where they will likely be having these conversations and how to find them.
The following social listening strategies and tools will help you find the right online conversations so you can turn those social talkers into leads.
Monitor Online Conversations
Monitor online conversations of your identified prospects or clients you want to work with by putting them into segment lists and checking those lists on a consistent basis for opportunities:
- On Twitter, create private Twitter lists.
- On LinkedIn, join groups where these audiences are participating.
- On Facebook, like their pages as yours.
Search for public conversations on social channels using hashtags or keyword phrases your audience would be using. For example:
- If you serve food, watch for local posts about where to go for lunch/dinner, looking for restaurants, etc.
- If you provide a service, watch for posts asking for referrals to service providers or advice about doing something themselves that you offer
On Twitter, save these keyword or hashtag searches by location.
- Step 1: Type your phrase into the search bar on the top right corner of Twitter and make sure to put it in quotes to look for those exact words
- Step 2: When the results appear, click on the “Latest” button on the top left to ensure you are seeing the most recent results
- Step 3: If you need to get more specific results, click on “Show” next to Search Filters.
- Step 4: You can then either put your choices in there or select Advanced Search.
- Step 5: Type in your exact phrase, specific location, language and whatever other parameters you want to set and click Search to get your results
- Step 6: To save your search, click on the 3 dots under your profile photo on the right and select “Save Search”
- Step 7: Your search is now available every time you click in the search bar at the top.
Take a look at those steps in screenshots:
STEPS 1, 2, 3:
You can also use a tool that will monitor these conversations for you.
There are paid tools that are extremely powerful that will monitor conversations and identify targeted leads for you. One of our favorite paid tools is SproudSocial, which starts at $99/month.
If that isn’t in the budget and you need a free tool, take a look at TweetDeck. TweetDeck allows you to enter multiple searches for Twitter conversations that are targeted based on keyword phrase and location, just as you can do in Twitter searches. However, in TweetDeck you can put all of these searches in streams and set notifications so you are made aware of any opportunities for you to engage. It’s a much simpler process than using Twitter saved searches if Twitter is going to be a regular source of leads for you.
Watch the video below to find out how to use TweetDeck:
Respond to Potential Leads
Listening for conversations is not where the process ends. Then your job is to reply to the person who is looking for what you do. Here’s how:
- When you see conversations relevant to the products/services you offer, reply back or send a direct message with additional information. (Ideally you want to drive them to a landing page where they can fill out a form and go into your ongoing lead nurturing system.)
- Create a bank of ready-to-go responses for when you come across these opportunities
Nurture those leads
Depending on your industry and what products or services you offer, this process will look different. Here are some ways you can continue to follow up with these leads you have found on social in order to increase conversion rates for them becoming customers:
- Follow up further when applicable off of social channels with emails or phone calls (make sure to stay in compliance with anti-spam laws)
- Add these new leads to lists on social and like/follow them on other channels
- Look for opportunities to send these leads information that will take them to a landing page where they will fill out a form and get into your email lead nurturing system.
- Watch for future engagement opportunities
So really, that’s all there is to it. Social listening isn’t hard. It simply requires intent, concentration, and a few handy techniques and tools to make it easier. Take your listening to new levels, and give it a try. There’s a wealth of opportunity out there talking about what they need. You just need to hear those conversations.