Late last year, Dell computer opened its Social Media Listening Command Center at their headquarters outside of Austin, Texas. The listening room is just one of many social media marketing strategies that Dell is using. The company has a series of Facebook pages with user-generated content promoting its products; formal ways to incorporate customer-based suggestions into future product features; and a number of Twitter accounts they use to broadcast daily deals.

Other companies using social media sites like Twitter for business include Southwest Airlines who uses Twitter to inform their customers about deals, and Comcast who uses Twitter to resolve customer service issues.

Customer conversations are happening—with or without you—be a good listener!

Tracking social conversations does not need to be daunting. There are a myriad of online buzz tracking tools that gauge consumer sentiment (positive, negative or neutral). Social analytics tools exist to allow you to “listen” to social conversations and track brand and product category mentions. You should use tools like these to:

  • Identify posts that warrant your attention
  • Understand consumer sentiment and define response strategies
  • Shape consumer sentiment and influence perception
  • Be responsive to consumers and display good customer service
  • Educate and inform by answering questions and resolving issues
  • Improve products and services based on complaints and suggestions

By listening to online conversations, marketers can leverage social networking channels to engage in a two-way dialogue, gain insight into consumer opinion of their brand, and get actionable business intelligence from their customers more than ever before…in real-time. Once the data is collected and deciphered, you can tailor email marketing campaigns to influence perception based on community or target market sentiment.

Coming Soon: Identifying Brand Evangelists and Influencers.