Are you listening to your audience?

When we have been in a certain industry for so long, our brains become ingrained with the industry terms and lingo. While this may be a plus for you in your field – we forget that the majority of our customers and prospective clients (audience) don’t  use the industry lingo. This is important to note in your marketing because you do not want to lose their attention! Most importantly – you need to understand what terminology and lingo they are using in regards to your industry/products. Doing this will help you listen to them in the social world – which will allow you to engage with them and know what they really want (not what you think they want), connect with them, gather new leads and provide better customer service.

Your audience is already on social media voicing their opinions about their wants and needs from businesses in your industry (and possibly about your particular company as well). It is your job (or your marketing team) to step back from the ingrained industry lingo and look for the lingo used by your customer / potential customer base. This will allow you to to really listen to them on social media, reach out to them and create content that will catch their attention.


So, how can you better listen to your audience?

  1. Learn industry hashtags: The hashtags you are using in your marketing doesn’t always equate to what your audience is using or searching for. A great tip is to take a look at (and follow) influencers in your industry (those industry vloggers and bloggers) and see what hashtags they are using and talking about.
  2. Check out your competitors: Look for repeated questions asked of your competitors that could give your marketing team content ideas for your own blog. Make sure to take a good look as well at their special hashtags used for contests, taglines, or campaigns.
  3. Check misspellings and common mistakes: Customers may sometimes get the spelling wrong for certain products or services. Keep track of any you notice that may be useful for your marketing team to search for. Think about different ways your audience may be spelling your name or offerings, and track them on social media sites regularly. Some customers use a hashtag instead of a direct mention (using the @ symbol) for tagging a company, so be sure to check this for your own organization and competitors (e.g. @McDonalds versus #McDonalds).  
  4. Check a variety of social platforms: Don’t rely on just checking the big platforms, like Facebook and Twitter for hashtags and trending topics. Checking mentions of your industry terms, company name, or product offerings on sites such as Instagram, Reddit, Yelp, or Quora can help you reach out to more customers or prospects and engage. This does not mean you need to add these additional sites to your daily social media outreach – but make sure you are checking these for mentions of your company or industry topics. Also – check review sites like TripAdvisor or Angie’s List. Many reviews point out specific examples of customers’ experiences with your company or a competitor and this can offer very valuable information and connections for you.
  5. Ask your customer service team: If there is anyone who gets the most complaints, advice and constructive criticism – it’s your customer service team. Make sure you are continually asking them what complaints and compliments they are receiving. If you notice a trend in complaints  (i.e: shipping time) see if this is something that can be addressed and handled. Same thing goes for the compliments and advice (many customers will say “just a tip – maybe add “x” to your product line) see what’s working and keep improving it. If you notice a trend in product ideas, this may be a great way to consider what your audience is asking for.
  6. Ask the audience directly: the best way to ask your followers what  they want is to just ask them directly. Taking polls may be one of the best ways to do this on social media. Twitter has a poll option that you can use on your Twitter feed. While other pages like facebook do not have a direct poll function in regards to status updates (Facebook’s groups DO allow you to – however, not pages or feeds) you can always try this Facebook app or you can always use third party polling. You could also simply ask an open-ended question on Facebook or Twitter to see what replies you get.

No matter what industry you are in – these tips should really help you better listen to your audience. Making sure they know their voices are heard will usually result in brand loyalty – with you.  Is there a tip you would add to this list?

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