Eavesdropping Online

Is this your reaction to Cold Calls?

hether you are brand manager, marketing director or sales person, you will probably have heard the term “listening”. Although many understand what it is, few truly know how to effectively “listen” to customers they care about, and even less about how “listening” can be done powerfully in the social media process.

Tim Ho raised a good point in his post predicting that social media listening will replace tele-marketing and consumer surveys – which I believe will happen soon! – simply because insights derived from social media listening posts would be so much more accurate than consumer surveys. Think about it, I am more likely to spend more time telling my friends about myself than a stranger. As a typical Hong Konger, I despise random calls – they are irritating, tele-marketers talk like robots, and I feel disrespected. I might give tele-marketers 5 min. max listening and responding to them when I’m in a good mood – afterall, tele-marketers too are just trying to earn a living. But with social-media listening, there are no tele-marketers – simply because we’re eavesdropping and not questioning.

Whether you agree with this, we are more likely to tell our friends the truth, disclose more information to them and be happy to spend more time interacting with them – than people we don’t know. By eaves-dropping on online conversations brands can save an awful lot of manpower just to dial those cold calls, and results would also be more accurate. More importantly with “bloggers” where you can track them down, and do followups. With cold calls, telemarketers have numbers – But what’s their name? Age? Job? Interest? No one would give away such personal information to strangers. Remember with Social Media Engagements, “listening” is only is only beginning step. After targeting the influential netizens you want to engage with, “FRM” (Friend-Relationship-Management) says the rest of it.

According to yesterday’s SCMP article “Telemarketers to Police Themselves” – just a 1 percent success rate of the average 491,459 cold calls in Hong Kong per day would generate good business for a brand. That’s 99% of the time effectively down the drain – very inefficient in my perspective. From a psychological perspective, social media listening beats tele-marketing by miles. We are more honest to our friends than strangers. Economically social media listening beats telemarketing by continents!