How Big Are Your Virtual Ears?

Monday I was on a panel at the VRMS Emerging Marketing Technology Summit in Boston. My fellow panelists (Suzi Craig of Fathom and Steve Ustaris of Studiocom) and our moderator (Brian Costello of Red Plum) and I attacked the perils and opportunities of social media as it related to the attendees during our hour long discussion.

I thought I’d post my slides here for any of you interested. The panel decided to wing it without slides to promote the concept of communication and get the attendees more involved, and it seemed to have everyone engaged throughout. I expanded on all of the points in the slides, though they don’t show the additional remarks I made specifically for the grocery/shopper loyalty program industry.

The biggest point I stressed for the VRMS attendees was the importance of listening. You don’t have to have a brand presence in social media to listen to what is going on in social media as relates to your brand. Listening is free. It’s simple to implement. It doesn’t take a lot of corporate bandwidth to get going. Every brand should have as many ears to the virtual ground as possible, soaking up information so that they can begin laying the foundation for their eventual foray into this often overwhelming medium.

I also stressed how you listen as well. Listen without defending. Listen without agreeing. Listen actively, but just LISTEN. You are listening to make sure you understand what people are trying to tell you or say about you and brand. The engagement part, the part where you can try to interact with the brand’s perception online, comes later. Engagement comes after understanding what you have listened to.

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