Shut-up and listen: the crowd will improve your B2B company

An often overlooked aspect of social media is the plethora of information that can be gained by tuning in to what your audience has to say. Whether they simply make passing comments, give targeted negative feedback or share what is important to them, there is valuable data to be found in your social following.

While finding this data is key, it is analysing and acting on the insights you find that is most important. More and more people are using social media to express themselves and share their views on particular brands and companies. This provides a huge opportunity for companies to learn and grow.

How can social technologies help?

Strategy:
Determine a common strategy and objectives that represent your brand. Decide what it is you are listening out for and make a plan so you know what to do once you have gathered the information.

Social listening:
The first step to optimising your social media platforms to gain insights into your audience is social listening. This involves constantly monitoring for feedback and social commentary. Insights can come from blogs articles, comments, direct messages, hashtags searching, and sharing of information.

Community:
Being aware of your audience, what they want and why they are following you will help you build your own community. Traditional platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are important, however remember that they are controlled and don’t always allow you the power to reach your desired audience without payment. Don’t overlook the opportunity to develop your own community with software such as Lithium or Jive, both of which provide a new way of interacting with your audience, specific to your needs and requirements.

AkzoNobel is a Dutch based manufacturing company who did exactly that.

They recognised that no one person or company has all the best ideas, which is why they created a platform to encourage people to submit their own. The platform, OpenSpace, embodies the AkzoNobel vision and invites its audience to submit proposals which the company then review. For AkzoNobel, it is about developing an “open dialogue with the best thinkers, scientists, engineers and inventors to enhance [their] shared capability to build a better world”.

By tuning into what the crowd has to say, they are able to stay abreast with common trends, themes and also build their brand value. Social has intensified the broadcast mentality. It’s key for B2B businesses to actively listen to what the crowd has to say and where relevant, find ways to incorporate those insights into their broader strategies.

To learn more about why B2B companies need social media, download our eBook “10 Reasons B2B Companies Need Social Media” here. If you work in social media yourself at a B2B company, join our community to learn even more from your peers.