When it comes to social media, it’s pretty easy to figure out which brands are doing it right and which ones aren’t. The brands that listen to their customers are the ones that get screenshotted and shared, with good reviews, and the ones that find the correct target audience are the ones with the most followers. It’s as easy as that.

Listening

In chapter one, Kerpen says that the best thing anyone can do on social media is listen. Whether that’s listen to find out what is needed in your industry or listen to help customers solve their issues with your product, listening keeps you engaged and part of the conversation.

Everyone posts their thoughts online, and Kerpen says that listening to what’s important to your customers helps you better plan your offers, promotions and contests, or even tweak your product to fill a certain niche.

Social mentions and searches on different platforms are great ways for accounts to listen. Brands need to always be broadening their search terms.

When people get upset about a company, they are not hesitant to put it out on social media, as this man did with Jet Blue on Twitter.

Kerpen also says it’s essential that negative posts about your company get resolved right away, or else more people will see that post and your brand will lost its credibility. Gone are the days of bad customer service, brands can’t afford that anymore.

While people may be known for posting negative reviews on social media, they will also post positive reviews. In this example, Jet Blue replied to the user apologizing and asking for their flight confirmation code to give them a credit in response to the broken TV.

And while listening needs to take place way more than talking, it is important that your customers know they are being heard with a simple like or comment. Kerpen says, “…the customer talks, the company listens and acknowledges, and the customer is happier.”

Social media also allows brands to have a voice, so we see brands become “memes” when their social accounts have character. Denny’s has begun trying to connect with millennials on Tumblr with simple, sassy remarks such as this.
This sponsored post came up on my personal Facebook feed. I have the free version of Otter on my phone, so they are targeting me as someone who already uses their product to potentially get a subscription and get Live Zoom Notes.

Targeting

You hear all the time about how important demographics are in marketing. But what you don’t hear is how specific those demographics can be. In chapter two, Kerpen introduces us to the term “hypertargeting,” in which companies target a specific group of people based on their social media profiles, activities and networks.

Facebook allows users to target by interests and demographics, so companies can specifically send their ads to people with certain terms on their profiles. Kerpen uses the examples of targeting people with “baking” in their profile, or even more specifically “pies” or “cakes.”

Targeting potential customers this way also saves companies money on advertising. Not only that, but when potential customers are ready to buy, your company’s name will already be in their mind.

In conclusion, using social media to listen and target customers is a cost-effective, and just straight-up effective way of building a brand. Listening will build the brand’s reputation while targeting will build the customer base.

Kerpen says that brands should never stop listening because things are always being said online and there is always room for improvement. And targeting should be towards a smaller group of people more likely to use your product than a bigger group of people who might not be interested. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

Convergent Journalism major at Missouri Western State University