Social listening is just as important as generating good content.

Check out the first post in this series here.

If your property management company maintains an active social media profile (which you should be doing), you already know that social media requires regularly posted content. You’re probably comfortable with talking online, but are your listening skills holding you back from making the most of your web presence? At its most basic level, social media is highly visible, public communication. Social media offers all people, businesses, and organizations the chance to craft a public persona that is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Social media strategists are full of advice on how to craft better targeted content in hopes of reaching the right audience for a message, but even experts forget the most important rule of talking on the internet.

Social media is a conversation

Every good conversation is a give and take between two or more voices. The best talkers listen more often and more carefully than they speak. Building a solid customer base through social media requires regularly updated content that is relevant to the needs of the ideal customer. But if a business does not tune in to the voices of those it wishes to serve, then they are willfully ignoring valuable information.

What is social listening?

Social listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying, categorizing, and analyzing industry specific conversations and content in order to use that data to improve business services or brand image. Social listening is part of every effective social media strategy because it is the best way to gauge customer relationships, monitor competitors, and promote good public relations.

Delta Airlines' twitter account is a master lesson in leveraging social media to improve customer service.

Delta Airlines’ twitter account is a master lesson in leveraging social media to improve customer service.

Active versus passive listening

Social listening can be active or passive, and a good strategy will utilize both types of listening when appropriate. Passive listening is the regular monitoring of online conversations that mention your company, reading industry specific news, and listening to prominent voices or leading companies in your industry. Active listening is when you utilize company social media accounts to interact online with customers in order to solve problems, maintain good customer relations, or even make a well-timed joke. The best social listening plan will understand the difference between active and passive listening, and be able to use both strategies when appropriate.

Humor and social media are best friends, as long as the taste fits the brand.

Humor and social media are best friends, as long as the taste fits the brand.

Hone in on key voices

You can be the best listener on the web and it won’t matter one bit unless you’re tuning in to the right voices. As a property manager you will benefit from listening to news and voices from three key areas. If you’ve created an online space that is specifically tied to your professional services such as a Facebook page or a message board on a personal website, then your residents have a platform to formally interact with you and each other online. Tracking resident posts and responding when appropriate is necessary for maintaining good rapport with your tenants and also keeping an ear to the ground before small problems get out of hand. Using your professionally branded social media accounts, you should also regularly read blogs, twitter feeds, and web content written by industry leaders and key professional publications online. Lastly, if the properties you manage are located in the same city, region, or clustered around a university, it’s important to maintain an up to date knowledge of the local goings on. Following local news outlets, prominent blogs in your area, food news, and university specific happenings keeps you informed about the places your residents will live, work, and study.

Monitor social media networks on a schedule

The list of active social media networks grows all the time. Just like different properties attract an ideal renter, each social network caters to a slightly different crowd. Finding your industry’s online space isn’t difficult, because almost all companies and publications that are active online will link to social media profiles on their websites. After you’ve identified online spaces that are worth your attention, it’s important to create a social media monitoring schedule and stick to it. Staying in the loop is easier than ever, but you must treat social media like a daily task worthy of your attention.

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