Brands are often great at what they do, although this might be true, communicating the qualities and benefits of the business to the world can be a challenging task.
Before the emergence of the digital world, brands could communicate with less transparency than is required nowadays, in reality, the world has taken a significant shift as to how businesses should talk with their target audience thanks to social media.
With the rise of consumers skepticism towards corporates, they have grown disloyal to brands and have become more knowledgeable about the products and services they need. On the same note, they are unwilling to be “spoken to” with annoying commercials telling them what to do or what to buy. Through social media, people listen to one another as to which brands are worth looking at and which they shouldn’t bother.
With the rise of social media, brands must take advantage of the channels that are now open so they could listen to their consumers rather than neglecting them for the sake of business sustainability and likability. The brands that are keen on displaying an excellent public image, good PR skills and social game are the ones who are leading the way. Establishing a strong social media presence means they are skilled at communication, they could speak and listen simultaneously while asking for feedback from their loyal customer base and implementing their needs.
Some brands, maybe not a corporate one, may take the conventional way of hiding behind the curtains that show from their poor display on social media, turning of their reviews and caring less about what people have to say about them digitally. An active way to garner feedback genuinely, allowing reviews whether on facebook or google accounts, monitoring their customer’s comments and possible discomfort towards them to remain on top of their game as a strong brand.
Another strong channel that is on a professional scale is Linkedin. It has become a universal tool that aids in recruiting, networking and even seeking investors which makes it quite a powerful tool in the business realm. As a co-founder to Big Bear Agency, we help corporates and brands connect with their audience through relevant and engaging content. Whether it’s media production, digital marketing, content or copywriting. Linkedin on that part has helped us connect with possible team players, partners and businesses that are interested in our line of work along with gaining exposure in the professional world. Increasingly, many of the people who connect with us whether they are investors or businesses; stick with us for the long-term. The idea is, the more valuable content we provide, the more traction we get. Also, the more we listen, the more we understand the market’s needs.
Engaging with the crowd is an essential strategy in this new era of digital, especially on social media. As crowd opinion is gaining more authority, corporate opinion is losing depth. Winning the trust of the crowd is more important as new ideas and brands are developing, and it won’t be long before the crowd chooses to stop listening if you couldn’t gain their trust in an earlier stage.
One of the most unusual ways of listening is crowdfunding platforms. These platforms serve as a primary engagement with consumers and investors in introducing them to their ideas and innovations. Equally, they see extreme growth, as more business ideas are being perceived as either original or boring. The engagement and emotional part of decision making is what most SME’s are relying on to gain investments. If your idea is a buzz creator, it’s likely that it will gain traction and possibly grow into a decent company.
Take it as a way to gain and engage the crowd early on, and see if the idea is spiraling or not. Making the masses be the judge is what makes the brand hold a stronger position as every investment made no matter how insignificant is an endorsement to the brand, and this endorsement means that they are part of it which implies that people are part of its voice.
Whether you are crowdfunding, looking to expand or trying to establish better brand awareness, you will need to become better at communication, and that would require you to be a better listener.
Setting your goal that customers are the first objective that requires you to satisfy their needs and listen to them, transparency, on the other hand, is equally important. Almost every industry should learn to become better at being transparent and better at communicating. This way, you can create a community around your brand and embrace its powers by creating better feedback from clients while creating a better experience for the user.
When looking for new ways to engage your potential customers or even ones who already exist, you will need to become more innovative in building your community, listen to their ideas, demands, problems and in doing so, you should be giving them feedback instantly, making them feel more active as a voice that shapes your company.
The Biggest Complaint from the audience
Salespeople talk too much; they don’t listen enough and dominate the conversation by speaking more than listening.
– You have gathered so much expertise, so you think, but in doing so, you have eliminated the customers right to talk which results in the irritation of any prospect.
– You might think that you know every single side of the customer’s concerns, and that you can predict what they might say. But that means you are not learning more about every customer alone, and how people are changing their needs while to uncover their perspective and find a solution, you will have to become an active listener.
What should you do as a brand or salesperson?
The best brands and salespeople are the ones who give their ears more than they talk. The ones who, even though might not be concerned, at least seems like they are keen to understand them. By doing so, they help customers and lead them into a more cost-effective way to purchase products or services which means that they are closing deals that are relevant to each customer on an individual level.
Ever felt tensed approached by a brand’s salespeople who together with the company they work for, have no communication skills and are too eager to sell?
If you could understand how irritated and defensive you can be from salesy people and conversations, I believe you would come to understand the value of a good communicator. Listening reduces tension and defensiveness on the customer’s side; they realize that you are not pushing them into making a purchase and that is precisely why they may buy something after all.
How flattering is it when someone can listen to your story intently without pushing you around or cutting you off to propose their pitch. It’s quite flattering, for people to know that a salesperson is listening too and it is good business for both the salesman and the company.
Put in your mind that listening is not hearing!
Hearing is passive while listening is active. Hearing is what people do when they are bored out of a conversation while listening is genuine attention to what the other side has to say.
Transparency is critical in a world of digital power!
When business owners are confronted by the fact that their business needs to be more transparent with both their employees and customers, they almost always say “What, am I supposed to tell them about my bank statements? Or how much I pay myself?
Well, to say the least, this is precisely the mindset of businesses that are shutting down. They fail to see that many companies who use transparency with their employees have seen a lot of support from them in times of struggle. Using empathy and openness to make people feel like they belong and that they matter, is essential in building a strong team from the beginning. So even if struggles face you; when sitting down with your staff, forgetting that you are a CEO and telling your staff the situations that the business is going through, people will act as team players and as part of the struggle. Explaining what they have to do to survive becomes a ritual to live by, and you would be surprised when you as a business owner act with empathy from the start. Turning off the lights and feeling accountable for what they do that might be wasting money are examples of what employees would do to help the business from falling apart. People would even stop asking for their money or a raise and supporting a company becomes more urgent than monetarily demands.
How could you build that transparency?
This way you are setting core values for yourself and also to other people who enter your life whether in relationships or business. If integrity and honor are what you want, then you must do that too.
Transparency with your employees, customers, and even investors are essential to make them understand which page are you on and to trust you, there shouldn’t be any secrets about the business between yourself as a business owner and anyone.
Not only should you be there for your employees but you should also be there for your customers. When they comment on social media, respond to them within 24 hours with an honest, real response, not a formal answer that is just copied and pasted from a manual. Providing honest and straight to the point answers to people’s questions and complaints are beneficial in building trust.
It is okay to put your company’s opinions on social media, but keep in mind that many people will disagree with it and while so many businesses would shut down the comments section or replies, maybe even keep it open and disrespect people’s opinions or even worse, removing their comments. Instead of doing that, stay open to discussions and respond politely, after all, this is a way to enhance and develop your business, and it’s free, you just need to listen.
Not using your social media is one thing, but using it and not benefiting from the community that surrounds your brand is the most stupid thing you could do. Your digital channels should be welcoming, and engaging, this way your pages will thrive. The bigger your welcome to people the more genuine & transparent you appear to them and that creates trust.
Many businesses or their managers fail to understand that employees are supposed to be accountable, they are part of the team and the more they feel like the atmosphere is like a family, they will instantly like you and your business and do anything they could to make it thrive. Talk to your employee to find solutions to whatever problem arises. It will be effective in solving problems, but that is not just it, your employees will be happy that they are included in the discussion. Same goes to your customers, they need to be involved, and it is worth it, after all, you are getting a free approach towards developing your business. Just give them an ear.
Not giving credit to employees is a business’s surefire way to failure. Many managers or business owners take credit for things they didn’t do or solve; they treat their employees as an underdog who performs tasks and reports back that it’s done, also, almost always giving negative feedback. While there may be businesses who are still running for years in this atmosphere, the turnover rate, work environment, and negativity is just dooming. Not giving feedback of any kind, or even a kind gesture to your employee will keep them wondering how they are performing. Criticizing them will make them upset, causing them distress will make them hate you and your business gradually. The cost of looking for good employees is tremendous, not forgetting that it is a daunting task too. It’s much easier to act as a mentor and benefit your current employees rather than making them leave and getting a new set of people to replace them. Rather than focusing on the negatives, give positive feedback to your employee. Positive feedback will make people more interested in doing more and check which aspect of their work should they improve. Remove bad managers, not employees, and when an employee does good, give them credit for it. Even a thank you would do it!
As you now have read, listening is one of the most important tactics for a successful business. Combining listening with empathy and transparency will get you on a new level.
How are you listening to your employees or customers?
Do you use empathy in your workspace?
Let us know in the comments below?
An entrepreneur. Creative and hardworking young professional focused on helping companies Grow and increase profit while sustaining a long-term relationship with businesses, Digital media certified consultant. Also has a passion for writing and motivating people.