Using all the tools at your disposal to listen.

If you’ve ever seen Gary Vaynerchuk in person or caught him online doing one of his Wine Library TV episodes on UStream or any other crazy antics, you’ll know that he pays attention to his customers. Period. Just catch him on UStream doing a random chat session and ask him some questions about wine and he’ll respond to you. Either over the air or he’ll check back with email. It’s that simple. He knows how to listen.

It’s where I came about this post.

The web is a large space. But if you know where to look, you can easily find out what others are saying about you instead of trying to dig it out from third-party sources, the newspaper, radio, tv, or simply non-tech means. Here are some places for you to check out what’s going on:

  • Search Engines: As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his video (see above), it’s not self-centered or ego-manical for you to go onto Google or Yahoo and simply type in your product/brand/company and see who’s talking about you. With Google, they have a blog post feature that you can select to see who has blogged about that particular subject. Use it to help you find bloggers for your PR efforts.
  • Social Bookmarking: In my last post, I detailed the basic principles behind what social bookmarks are for. Highly recommend it to look up what other folks are talking about within a specific “tag” or subject matter.
  • Online Surveys: If you have a customer database, it doesn’t hurt to poll them to find out how you can improve what you’re doing. Just make sure you get the point across that you’re doing this to care about what they think. Don’t simply get it to accomplish your marketing motives. Add some incentive to help drive up your responses (e.g. prize, giveaway, support, etc.).
  • Website: Are you utilizing your website to help make sure it addresses most of your audience’s needs? Is there some sort of feedback or “contact us” form that will enable them to offer you assistance?
  • Social Media: Perhaps the strongest tool you can use to make sure you’re listening…did you set up some important accounts in the social universe? Do you have a Twitter account? If you have a Twitter account, listen to what’s being said on Twitter Search. What about a Facebook account/business page? YouTube? Do you have a blog or are you responding to blog posts about you?

The point is that you shouldn’t be complacent with thinking that the web will hide any positive or even negative commentary about your product. Start listening if you’re not already. You hear me?

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."