Active Listening - The Single Most Important Social Media Activity for Business Success

Author: Chris Marentis
Published: August 04, 2011 at 5:58 pm

As business owners, we’re often focused on the next best way to generate more leads for our business using social media. However, it’s important we begin to expand this focus to look at social media as having a much wider scope for our business, including using it effectively as a customer service platform; and one key element of doing this is active listening. Social media presents us with an open table of information where consumers talk, and as business owners, if we don’t listen, then we’re missing out on a golden opportunity to understand our consumer base from a variety of angles.

The importance of active listening with social media is a perspective many business owners overlook when thinking about the uses and benefits of social media for local business. And it’s true there’s a lot of information out there on the web about social media and active listening, but it’s often one-way, meaning the focus is on businesses ‘actively listening’, but what about active responding and consumer engagement?

Active listening is most effective when a company listens and responds. Companies should respond anytime a consumer has a question, comment, or whatever the case may be; but companies should also be proactive and ask for what consumers are looking for, how they’re performing, if there are any known issues or concerns, and so on. By doing so, they’ll be ahead of the curve by providing what consumers want before they’re asking for it, as well as resolving issues before they become wildfires.

In addition, part of a company’s active listening and response strategy should focus on getting consumers to become active responders and promoters vs. passive fans and followers. This approach, which is discussed in more detail in’s post, Active Listening with Social Media Monitoring, will create an environment of pulling in leads and new customers vs. solely pushing information to gain more leads. When consumers are actively engaged within your social media networks, it’s more likely that others will follow suit and your business will gain more exposure within the social media networking sites and in some instances, it could help with external search engine rankings.

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Article Author: Chris Marentis

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. With a long-history of counseling local businesses …

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