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/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/medium_1389750548_150554.jpgAs if it was yesterday, I can hear my mom saying, “Gerard Michael Moran, do you have your listening ears on?” Or, “I know you can hear me, but are you listening?” I typically wasn’t listening since my mind was on so many other things. Flash ahead to today, I truly need another set of high-tech, social media listening ears, since there is so much content to sift through to do my job. My mom would be proud that I was considering these high-tech listening alternatives!

Still bleary-eyed off the plane from Las Vegas, I was wondering, what was the best way to take it ALL in while at a big event like SapphireNow or SAP TechEd Madrid? What if there was a way to monitor the #SAPTechEd conversation AND the outside world conversation all in one application?

1. What are the competitors saying during these events?

2. What’s happening with our customers that are on-site or off-site and experiencing the event virtually?

3. What about a handle on the daily buzz in the industry

4. How about real-time access to media coverage on key individual niche business areas like retail?

5. And what are the individual influencers saying?

I have to agree, these are five key areas which to pay attention and listen to be able to serve up daily updates and engage in each as informed!

When it comes to listening many times the first request is along the lines of providing a heavy-duty social media listening tool like Netbase, Radian 6 or Alterian access to be an immediate solution. Most times it is not the best tool to do the job of answering the above five questions. I am not sure if the correct analogy of using these types of tools is like bringing a bulldozer to a container gardening party, but I think it does the trick of making my point of too much fire power for the basic work that we need done.

/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/macgyver_multitool_150555.jpgI truly derive inspiration to solve these types of problems revisiting my comfortable days of 1980s television … when the mullet was cool! In this case … MacGyver! What would MacGyver do if he had to do all of this social media listening?

Well I combined my Google and Apple Store searching skills and found one great application that every marketing and sales executive should have to manage their real-time social listening stream and keep them a step ahead of the competition. Let me explain how Flipboard is THE free tablet tool to use to get your social listening ears on to have a multi-dimensional listening experience at SAP TechEd Madrid or SapphireNow! I will position the benefits of Flipboard in the form of key questions that need to be answered:

What would you do you do if there was one free tablet application to answer all of these questions?

  1. How do you keep real-time tabs on the competition, like Salesforce.com or Oracle during an event like this?
  2. How do you follow real-time discussions around  your individual key topics like “retail analytics”, “big data” or “HANA”?
  3. How do you easily maintain contact with LinkedIn contacts of co-workers, customers and prospects so you can connect with them sooner vs. later (or after your competition)?
  4. How do you read key media publication updates in your industry, such as retail or furniture, when visiting sites and reading emails is too time consuming?
  5. What are the thought leaders saying that will help you stay ahead of the competitive curve and have strategic conversations with your customers?

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I highly recommend that you use Flipboard as your personal social media listening, one-stop-shop to provide your real-time updates. Flipboard is one of those MacGyver-like tools that updates on information on your customers, competitors, media publications, thought leaders, contacts and the conversation around anything you need to understand. These updates include conversations, videos, pictures or Facebook posts, just about everything you need to know to stay on top of your listening game!

Like anything else, it’s a GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) proposition. And, that is where the strategy comes in of knowing who your competition is, what key terms you should follow to inform you of the buzz, who your industry influencers are and what key media publications should you follow!

There will be a little bit of work on your end with entering the conversational terms, customer handles, etc., but hey, that long plane trip to Madrid will give you more than enough time! However, once you get started and in under 15 minutes, you can be monitoring your business intelligence on the convenience of your tablet – iPad or Android!

So, can you hear what I hear in social media? No? Maybe you are not listening the right way and need to put on a new kind of “listening” ears, ones that would make your mom and my mom proud! Now, I just have to get my mom to open up a Facebook account to keep up with her grandchildren, who doesn’t have HER listening ears on now?

@GerryMoran

Director, NA Social Media Marketing

Photo sources: Listening ears, DrJRogers blog, MacGyver from my personal collection and Flipboard photo from my account

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