How to Implement An Effective Listening Strategy For Your Business

How to Implement An Effective Listening Strategy For Your Business

How to Implement An Effective Listening Strategy For Your Business

How to Implement An Effective Listening Strategy For Your Business

It was 7 am on Christmas Eve in 2009.  I reached over to the bedside cabinet for my iPhone to check my Facebook feed.  This was a habit that I conducted every morning, even before that first cup of coffee!  Back then I owned a recruitment agency, and as I scanned the newsfeed I noticed that one of my temporary workers had written a status update saying “It’s Christmas Eve, and Ethos Recruitment have not F***ing Well paid me!!” – I was horrified as I saw the thread develop in front of my eyes. Some of my other temps were also friends with this guy, and they had also started commenting about how awful it was that the agency had not paid him, especially on Christmas Eve.

The nightmare got worse

My instinct was to first check that what he was saying was correct, and find out why we had not paid him.  I logged onto BACS and I could see that the money had gone through to his account.  I checked that we had the right bank details, which we had.  We had been paying him each week for the last eight months, so I was scratching my head.  There were now over 30 comments on the thread, so I needed to take action and fast!

I’m a numpty!

I did the old fashioned thing and picked up the phone to speak to the worker.  “James, why did you say that we have not paid you when the money has been transferred into your account?”.  The phone went quiet when he sheepishly replied: “Don’t worry about it, you have paid me, it was a direct debit that went out that I had forgotten about”.  He then went on to say that he would delete the post from Facebook immediately.    I urged him NOT to do this and asked him to add a comment to the bottom of that thread to say what a numpty he was, and what a brilliant recruitment agency we were, so that the 40+ people who had previously commented would get a “ping” to say he was a numpty.  He did this and then deleted the thread one hour later.  Disaster avoided, sort of.

Reputation Management

Some people think of using social media to gain more clients and customers rather than reputation management, but it should not be ignored.  What would have happened if I had not seen that post?  How much damage would have been done to my business reputation if I had not been listening out to my network?  It does not bear thinking about!

How to implement an effective listening strategy for your business

Nowadays, there are tools that you can use to find out if people are talking about you online.  If something is said about you or your business (good or bad), then you need to know about it.  Here are a few ways in which to implement an effective listening strategy.

#1 – Use

This is a free tool that allows you to monitor your reputation online.  Register free of charge, and receive up to 15 alerts a day on the entry level platform.  Upgrade your account to receive more alerts.  I use this software each day as I need to keep an eye on what is being said about me and my business at all times.  If someone has mentioned me in a blog, or on an open forum then I want to know about it!


Click to visit the site

#2 – Register with Google Alerts

Although I find that is more effective than Google Alerts, it is still a good service to use and is completely free of charge for an unlimited amount of alerts.  Remember to use Boolean search criteria for your alerts though.

#3 – Listen on Twitter

I will never forget the time when I was at Cineworld waiting for the film to start.  I “checked in” via Swarm, which tweeted where I was and what I was doing.  Instantly I had a Tweet returned from Cineworld saying “Thank you for your Tweet, but please can we ask you to switch your phone off, the film is about to begin”.  That certainly put a smile on my face and made me feel as if Cineworld really cared.   You can add a listening strategy to Twitter using a whole range of different techniques.  From conducting a manual search to using IFTTT or setting up feeds in Hootsuite/eclincher/Tweetdeck etc.  They are extremely useful.

If this then that

Click to set up your recipe


#4 – Are you a good employer?  Check out Glassdoor

If you have not yet looked to see if someone has written about you on Glassdoor then I urge you to check it out and have a strategy for visiting the site on a regular basis.  What is Glassdoor?

Glassdoor is one the fastest growing jobs and recruiting sites. Glassdoor holds a growing database of millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more. …Glassdoor is also available via its mobile app on iOS and Android platforms.

Click go visit Glassdoor

#5 – Listen out for your “topic” using Quora

Listening out for your brand name, straplines, the MD’s name on sites such as is essential, but it is also a good idea to have a listening strategy for your industry topics.  Set up alerts in Quora to see what questions people are asking about your industry and specific topics.


Click to visit Quora

#6 – Listen out for your competitors

Keeping an eye on your competition is essential for any business.  I would not recommend following your competitors, but I would recommend implementing a strategy so that you are fed information about what they are doing and the type of content that they are producing.  The easiest way to implement a listening strategy for your competitors is using Twitter.  Adding your competitors into a private list on Twitter and then making it a habit of viewing this list a few times a week.  Here is a quick video to show you how to set up a private list on Twitter.



In summary, social media platforms are not only fabulous channels to generate brand awareness and enhance profits, but they are also excellent listening devices. If someone “mentions” you online then you really want to know about it, whether it’s good or bad.  The advice that we give to all our clients is to always “have the last word“.  If someone posts a review, comments on one of your threads or mentions you within a blog or an article, you should always comment back.  Just like my Cineworld story, it is a great way to build rapport with your prospects, existing clients and keep an eye on those sneaky competitors!





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