1000heads: Likeminds 2010: If you do one thing…

Yesterday, Molly wrote about the pros and cons of having and implementing a set of social media guidelines into your company. While this kind of policy is virtually essential to any modern day brand, the problems that arise more often than not spring out of employee reluctance to take part.

How do we change that?

Listening.

Photo credit: The fantastic Paul Clarke

Listening was a key theme at Friday’s Likeminds conference and nearly every keynote touched upon its importance.

“Listen, listen and listen again.”

Here at 1000heads we have two main streams of work; word of mouth activation and word of mouth tracking & monitoring. The former is what you’ll probably read about here the most. The different ways we help our clients spread the word range from helping brands make their consumers feel special to building long-lasting relationships between people and brands who love each other.

What we don’t tend to talk about is what drives this activation.

That’s where our word of mouth tracking comes into it. ‘WOMTrak‘ is a whole suite of products originally designed to provide insights and analysis to inform our ongoing activation ideas. Like I said to a number of people at Likeminds on Friday, there really is no point coming up with an amazing idea if you have no information or insights to base it on.

With all of our clients, old or new, we always advise a period of listening first. Obviously with some of our more long standing accounts, this system is already in place; constantly defining and refining our creative as well as our engagement strategies moving forward. Building in reactive and creative strategies that we can execute on a six-pence.

It’s a fantastic resource to have.

Coming back from both the Likeminds conference and the subsequent summit at Bovey Castle, I feel inspired and invigorated. Each and every practitioner we met spoke of the importance of listening first, then engaging. Be that through using something as simple as a Google Alert or a fully fledged monitoring program from a specialist system like WOMTrak; make sure you listen.

Listening will provide a mean of what your people already think of you. Once you have that, you can start researching and discovering insights… and once you have that, you can start educating your staff and your stakeholders about why this is important. Sell that in and you’re on course to begin creating informed strategies that provide useful, engaging content that will not only improve your bottom line but ultimately, improve the experience of your end user.

So remember, when it comes to WOM, if you do only one thing –

LISTEN.

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