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Listen First, Then Broadcast

Over past few months, I’ve been hit with identity fraud issues through my bank account. Several weeks ago, I headed to the bank branch where my account was originally established. Within 24 hours, they had ironed out 75% of my issues — and had my balance resolved by Friday afternoon. They took a horrible experience and, through their actions, created a more loyal customer.

While I plan to bring cookies to the banking team that went above and beyond, I needed to do something more immediate to express my appreciation. So, I took it to Twitter. At 4:16 p.m. I wrote:

At 4: 45 p.m. I received this Tweet:


How did @AskUSBank know about my tweet? Why does a huge national firm even care what I tweet? How were they able to respond so quickly? The answer: They were listening.

At ShoeFitts, we’ve learned from our experience setting up listening channels for our advisor clients just how important it is to remember that communication is a two-way street.

Cyber Sleuthing

Many folks view social media as a one-way communication vehicle — a broadcast and marketing medium meant to sell products, share news and post opinions and ideas. They miss out on the opportunities to research consumer trends, investigate competitors and actively engage with clients and prospects through listening.

So many thoughts, opinions and dialogue are transmitted through social media channels. If you’re not being a cyber sleuth, you’re leaving one of the most valuable pieces of social networking uncovered.

A recent Forbes article, “Who is Your Chief Listening Officer?”, highlights some firms that are using social media listening as a brand differentiator. Though these initiatives tend to source from multinational brands with vast resources in place to safeguard their brands and brand experiences, they still provide a valuable model for advisors. Paying attention to the two-way communication in the social media space provides valuable information and feedback; it’s worth dedicating time to this effort.

Set up Your Listening Channel

To develop a listening channel, here are a few tools to get you started. (I suggest you create a separate email address (e.g., to help you sort through all of the email updates you will receive.)

• Use Google Alerts to stay on top of news in your area, specific clients’ activities and prospect news. Track your name, as well as the name of your firm and the names of your competitors.
Newsle is a service that helps you track when your contacts are mentioned in newsletters, articles, white papers, etc.
Twilert is a Google Alerts version geared for Twitter.
LinkedIn Signal allows you to search the updates of everyone in your network using specific phrases or words.
Mention, currently in beta mode, claims to be a be-all and end-all in monitoring personal and professional brands, offering a Google-like alert for most every online space.
• I am experimenting with IFTTT (If This Then That) as a way to create automated filters and notifications. This is an extremely powerful tool that requires additional digging.
• Social profile settings provide a simple way for you to be notified when someone tweets your name. Check the setting area under mobile and email. Facebook has a similar function.

Take a Step — Embrace Listening

Remember that social media is a two-way conversation. Just as your teachers said, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should be spending twice as much time listening as we do broadcasting.