Listening and Responding


Listen and Respond always

I cannot stress the importance of this and I can’t believe how poorly this is executed from so many brands around the world.

This would have to be the most basic of marketing, but it gets missed cause it has no bells and whistles and often digital communication teams miss this due to them not having the time or the knowledge to execute it. Below I want to go into some detail of why this is so important and how you can be doing this to better improve your brands digital foot print.

Brands may think they’re doing this, I can tell you, they’re not. Yes they’re responding to direct questions, but they’re missing the ‘gold nuggets’ that’s out there every single day.

I recently sat down with a new bikini brand that’s about to hit Australia and got into a discussion about listening and responding by way of a soft introduction into the new country. The example I used for this is relevant here so I thought I would share.

Listening using the HootSuite platform and geo targeting it to Australia only key terms such as ‘Bikinis’, ‘Holiday’, ‘Summer’, ‘Competition brand names’ etc. These channels will be set up and as a brand which has a presence on Twitter you now have the ability to add value to their conversations.

Example Twitter users are talking about buying bikinis for their Mexico holiday. You now can jump in as the brand and add value to their conversation by showing off your range.
You can take it a step further and really entice a purchase by saying use this code and get 10% off. You don’t want to come across as pushy or to sales driven, so you might first want to join in the conversation with something fun and light, then once they @reply back you can start to form a conversation/relationship and then offer them something for being so nice and friendly.

People love this and appreciate brands going the extra mile to give them something that’s extremely relevant and timely to those people right there and then.

Why Listen:

  • Everyday there are consumers talking about your brand
  • Everyday there are consumers talking about the industry your brand is in
  • Everyday they’re doing this means everyday you’re missing golden opportunities to add value to their conversation.
  • Allows brands that haven’t been directly mentioned, to turn a negative experience into a positive one.
  • Allows brands to find advocates and reward those advocates.
  • Allows brands to find fantastic user-generated content

Listening allows you to hear what the wider community is saying about your brand, allowing you to learn and adapt what you’re doing on the fly. It’s like doing market research everyday for your brand. The learnings are invaluable.

Why Respond:

  • Responding illustrates to the digital community that your brand cares about what is being said in the wider community.
  • Brands can add value to conversations.
  • Conversations are happening now, so your brand to them at that point is at the highest relevance it can be.
  • Helps brands become the ‘authority’ in their space.

Tools to Listen and Respond:


A fantastic tool that I use a lot is HootSuite, if you don’t have an account with them I suggest signing up and getting one.
This platform also allows you to post to some of your social channels, but a word of advice I would only use this channel for posting and listening and responding in Twitter (always post to Instagram and Facebook natively).

HootSuite allows brands to set up streams to listen and also gives brands the ability to respond. I cannot speak highly enough of this platform and consider this to be a must for all brands. They’re are similar platforms that do this job, but as my personal preference this is the one to get.


HootSuite will also pick up Instagrams that have been shared to Twitter, but not everyone shares their grams to Twitter, so I suggest using Statigram, another great tool for listening, responding and also great for Instagram reporting.

Simply search for your keywords and click on the grams that appear to listen and respond.
You will also want to use this platform to respond to your direct @mentions as well. I find it hard to respond to @mentions natively (on the phone), this platform allows you to respond using desktop (much easier). Using Statigram will ensure you don’t miss any direct and indirect mentions.


This is done natively and with this, brands need to respond to private messages, wall posts and comments under branded posts.

Polyvore / Pinterest

This is done natively inside those platforms. To listen you need to search for your brand to see if they have been pinned or if sets have been created. If so, responding by way of liking and/or commenting is needed.

Users in these channels appreciate your brand, so you need to add value where you can.

Response Times:

Every channel is different, but as a brand you need to dedicate time each day to complete this extremely important task.
The more channels your brand has an account in, the more listening your brand is required to do each day.

The times below are all during business hours, Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm.
Brands can go above and beyond this and if possible absolutely do it.

My advice is listen and respond, when you get into work, before you have lunch, after you have lunch and before you go home (4 times per day in each channel).

  • Responding within 2 hours of the initial customer post in all channels
  • Twitter is all about what’s happening now, so if you’re later than 2 hours generally the moment and conversation has been had and gone. If you’re to respond quicker in any channel, do it in Twitter.

Respond to everything

How to handle negative comments in all channels:

All brands will get negative comments and they will come in directly or indirectly. Brands need to acknowledge and respond in a timely manner to all negative mentions. I suggest taking the conversation offline as quickly as you can and resolve there.

Example: Sorry to hear about your most recent experience, please email xxx and we’ll look into this right away for you.

This shows the wider community that you have acknowledged the issue, keeps the angry customer on your side and allows you to solve this privately offline. When solving this offline, know that this conversation could be shared back to the wider community, so choose your words wisely and resolve as quickly as possible.



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