Listening Tools: Who is Listening to You?

Who is Listening to You?

My wife went to a conference this past weekend, in Rye, New York (she is an educational consultant that owns Literacy Builders). Once she arrived at the hotel, she had numerous problems entering her room, which culminated in a visit from security at 11:00p.m, who proceeded to blame her for the issues.

My wife did what she usually does, and blogged about the incident, but related it to education (check out her blog, The Blame Game to read all about it). For her, that was the end of the matter. Her key worked the rest of the conference, and that was that.

Except it wasn’t.

The blog was posted on Monday, October 24, 2011, at about noon. Sometime in the early evening, she received a direct message on Twitter, from Hilton Online (@hiltononline) asking for her to follow them and DM (direct message) her information so that they may assist.

Wait, what?

She never tweeted. She never put it on Facebook. She didn’t even link to them in her blog. She merely mentioned which hotel she checked in to.

Talk about listening.

One of the things we tell clients to do before attempting to jump into the social media swimming pool is listen. Listen to how people interact. Listen to what people are saying, whether it be about your brand or topic. It will give you an idea as to what’s being said about you, your brand, your company, your topic of choice. It will help y0u frame how you will use these social media tools to join the conversations.

Hilton Hotels did just that. Not only did they listen, but they took the affirmative approach of trying to solve the issues, and solve them immediately.

But what happens when the brand or person isn’t listening? When your Facebook post or tweet goes unanswered?

Frustration and anger are usually the result. Take for example the “Motrin Mom’s” incident. It started innocently enough, with Motrin posting a commercial equating “wearing a baby” with fashion. Both the twit-o-sphere and blog-o-sphere exploded with negative comments on the ad, and against the brand, Motrin. The ad broke on a Friday, and by Saturday it was the most tweeted about subject on Twitter. By Sunday, there was a 9 minute YouTube video posted with all the negative complaints and photos of mom’s carrying babies. The creative agency admitted it didn’t have much knowledge of Twitter, and had no idea of the backlash they were encountering.

In the end, what was their response? An e-mail to several bloggers. No tweets, no Facebook. However, it was now National news. It appeared in the New York Times, Mashable, and even AdAge.

Talk about not listening.

To bring it closer to home, on a recent trip to Disney World, I was stuck on a Monorail, at 10:30pm for over 30 minutes, with 2 tired kids trying to see the fireworks. No mention of why we were stuck over the p.a. system. So I tweeted to Disney about it. This was in April. I’m still waiting for a response.

For the small business who may feel overwhelmed with all the tools out there, take solace. There are some great “listening” tools at your disposal. From Google Analytics to Facebook Insights to Social Mention, all of these tools help you learn what is being said about you and your brand.

Use them to your advantage. Listen to what’s being said. And, after listening, then respond. It’s the best way to engagement.

Listening Tools




  1. Very good post about listening and responding to what clients are saying. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. I think we all forget that the listening is really the most important part. If we don’t pay attention to our clients, our future will be short.



  1. […] It turns out that dbmei author had written an article that had personally touched him and his family, and yes Hilton was behind it! Check it out here. […]

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