For many executives, when it comes to understanding basic stakeholder perception and sentiment towards a company's product or corporate brand in the social web, Twitter is a great and safe place to start.
People who 'tweet' want to be listened to, they want to be heard. As such, Twitter is a perfect platform for people to channel their emotions, thoughts, experiences and ideas.
There are a number of free Twitter applications available that allow you to run an infinite number of Twitter queries at the same time - such as TweetDeck.
As an example, you can start by running the following queries, side-by-side:
- Love [insert your company/product name]
- Hate [insert your company/product name]
This is a safe and easy way to understand the sentiment of people toward your company (brand, products and services) - at the extremes. You can also conduct the same with your competitors as a comparison or benchmark.
If you want to take things one step further you can 'engage' with and thank customers who support and love your products/services - by responding to tweets. Perhaps ask a few questions while at it: "What do you like best about x products?" "How can we improve your experience?"
An important note, though, is that before you engage and ask questions you must be prepared to graciously accept the input/ideas and if the ideas are relevant - adapt them to make improvements to your products and/or services.
The power of question is great and can be very transformative. It shows people that you care to understand their insights. But it also comes with responsibility on your side. You should only ask questions if you are willing to accept and potentially act on the answer.
If done well, this is a very authentic way to show that you/your company care. It strengthens the emotional and experiential ties with customers and in the areas where experience is bad - it just might be the beginning of turning around sentiment.
There are many other examples of social media tools, services (free and paid for) that analyze sentiment in impressive ways across many social media channels.
Social business is a reality. CEOs and top executives can no longer ignore this fact.
In many ways social media programs are becoming part of a new strategic business mandate for both B2B and B2C organizations.
Understanding and managing effective customer relationships are the core to any successful company; and the strength of any organization is largely dependent upon the company’s ability to deliver exceptional experiences through the right products and services to its customers in a timely way.
So knowing what the customer wants and understanding their current and future needs is paramount to increasing revenue and exceeding customer expectations. This is just one simple way to start the process.