A well known relationship building tip from the experts is that you should listen twice as much as you speak. Yet when it comes to Social media it appears we seem to talk a whole lot more than we listen to everyone else! If you want to get better at the social media game, then you are going to need to change your approach. Jeff Turner gives his opinion.
There is no better engagement opportunity for your business on Twitter than if an individual expresses a need or issue for which your product, service or general knowledge is the solution.
Listening, the kind of listening that wins friends, improves marriages, and advances careers, is a skill few possess. Listening, active listening, is an art and a science. Good listening requires a level of focus and desire most people never attain.
This is why good listeners stand out in a crowd. It’s why good listeners are remembered. They command your attention with their own. You want to be around good listeners, because they make you feel important. They make you feel like you’re the only person in the room. And in so doing, they make themselves valuable and important.
“Because listening is rare, listening is valuable.”
This fact of everyday life is now playing itself out in the online world as well. Everyday millions of status messages on Facebook and Twitter go ignored. Questions get asked and go unanswered and opportunities to stand out and differentiate yourself are lost.
Twitter is often heralded as one of the greatest places to mine information ever invented. Yet a recent study by the Pew Research Center indicates that the majority of Twitter users never listen to what anyone else says. Not a word. Not ever.
The majority of Twitter users, the 59% with less than 100 followers, rarely ask questions because they only receive answers about 8% of the time,” says Joe Fahrner, Co-Founder and CEO of inboxQ “Given that most Twitter users don’t get answers most of the time, there is a massive opportunity for those who are listening to engage and unexpectedly delight potential customers who otherwise would not receive responses to their questions. There is no better engagement opportunity for your business on Twitter than if an individual expresses a need or issue for which your product, service or general knowledge is the solution.
The same is true, though perhaps slightly less so, on Facebook. Facebook’s “edgerank” system ensures that the vast majority of status messages, some with questions waiting to be answered, never make it into your “top news” feed. This is significant, since 95% of Facebook users never leave the default top news feed, which is totally in control of Facebook. They, by default, are listening passively. Even if they think they aren’t.
There is real value to be gained from these online social spaces, but you must commit to a listening strategy to harvest that value. Tools like inboxQ, which intelligently mines the relevant questions using proprietary keyword analysis on Twitter, can help you do that. The fact is, segmenting your audience into manageable lists and using built in tools to search for questions posted by your friends, can dramatically change the business value you find in Facebook. And the tools to help us do that are advancing at a rapid pace.
But tools are only a small part of the solution. The best tools and technology can’t make you a better listener, they can only make it easier if you have the desire. But first you have to have the desire. You have to want to help someone. You have to break away from the urge to focus your attention on broadcasting your company message, and turn your attention to the art of active listening.
Do you want to get more value out of the time you spend in any social setting, online or off? Commit yourself to better listening. People will notice. It’s rare.
Jeff Turner is President of Zeek Interactive and the Founder and creative force behind Real Estate Shows. He is also widely regarded as a leading thinker on how to effectively use Internet tool and a sought after conference speaker on topics related to emerging technologies. In his experience, he has recognized and applied the science and creativity of communication to his organisations. It has been instrumental in achieving uncommon successes. His insights and knowledge, both practical and academic are integral to how he helps his companies deliver exceptional results.