Are you listening?

Through the
fray of the recession, a new career has emerged: the social media guru. Social
media gurus tell you what tools to buy, which tweeters to follow and which
followers to retweet. They crank out, bit.lys, tinyurls and #s, @s, and
RTs. What baffles me is that many self-proclaimed gurus are missing a key step
in a strategic approach to social media: listening.

Sure, social
media is about managing your own brand and generating content. But it’s also
about listening to your customers’ problems and addressing them. Like this
Fast Companyblogger, who
missed a flight because his iPhone flight tracking application malfunctioned.  As the modern upset customer is apt to do, he
blogged about it.

At Corporate
Ink, we consult on tweets and posts, but spend just as much time listening to
the chatter in our clients’ industries.  One of our clients was tangentially related to
the app – we found the story, and recommended they get it to their partner with
a recommendation to reach out. The partner not only fixed the problem, they
reached out directly with an apology to
the reporter.

The Fast Company blogger was satisfied with
the apology, even though it didn’t include a refund for a flight, a coupon, or
a freebie. He was just happy that he was heard.

In his most recent post, he writes, “smart customer
service obviously is more important the more a company relies on technology.
After all, sometimes it’s not how well companies act but how well they react.
It actually makes you feel pretty good that someone out there is paying
attention through such channels as blogs. Somewhere,
out in the electronic ether, someone is

By Kate Greenough