Social media: Listening to act, listening to learn
Consumers of all types increasingly communicate with friends, family and companies via social networking sites. They are not shy in posting their opinions about experiences with companies, both good and bad. These comments hold rich insights that can drive business decisions in the areas of customer service, product development and marketing, but have yet to be utilised effectively by many companies. This paper provides a framework for how to look at social media both as a tactical tool for delivering better customer service and driving customer sales; and as a strategic tool for developing deeper consumer insights and driving long-term improvements to products or processes. These two primary use cases can be described as listening to act and listening to learn. Both types of listening can produce valuable information, but they differ in their aims, operations and the skill sets needed to execute them. Both types of social media listening will be needed as the social wave continues and companies jockey for position among connected consumers: listening to act, to address marketing and servicing issues in real time; and listening to learn, to identify more complex consumer insights across multiple social media channels over time.