Lessons Learned from an Eight-Year Old

Bethany Sterzer

February 1, 2012

“My new video game is sooo cool!  It has aliens and robots and the coolest action parts!”

I glanced in the rearview mirror of my car and looked at my eight-year-old nephew sitting in the backseat.  “Uh huh, that’s nice,” was my half-hearted response.

“Ugh!” he said, “You’re not listening to me.”

“Yeah I am buddy.”

“You’re not really listening,” was his wise response.

It’s a bit disheartening when you realize your 4-foot-something nephew who is still mastering his times tables is smarter than you are.

So what exactly did this eight-year-old understand so well that I didn’t?  Let me explain, so you don’t find yourself in a similar predicament.

Listening is important. Not just half-hearted listening, but real listening.  This is true for any relationship, whether it be professional or personal, and is especially true when it comes to doing business.

Potential consumers are talking about you.  They are Tweeting, commenting on company citations, Facebooking, blogging and so much more.  They key is to listen to what they are saying and join in on the conversation where possible.

Using helpful tools such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Google Alerts and Social Mention, you can find out what people are saying about your company, whether good or bad.  This allows you to join in on the conversation, thus showing potential consumers that you care about them and not just about the bottom line.  Sincerity works, and is required in the transparent world of social media.

Negative comments made about your company can be found and addressed, more often than not resulting in a positive outcome.  You can learn from the social media buzz how to adjust your marketing campaigns and how to target key audiences.

Listening not only to what is being said about you, but about competitors and key industry topics can give you the market intelligence you need to create effective campaigns and improve your online visibility.  The more conversations you engage in through social media platforms (such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) as a result of listening, the better equipped you are to position your company as a reliable industry expert.

So, unless you want to be out-witted by an eight-year-old, start listening – really listening.