By Mary Liebowitz

November 27th, 2014

Anyone working with content in social media is aware of how oversaturated the field is with industry terminology and variations thereof.

But whether you create content, or are setting up listening projects to get market insight, the language you should pay the most attention to is the language that’s used by your customers. That’s not to say that visionaries and social media marketing geniuses should be ignored – but to connect with customers, you should speak in their terms.

While I understand my market, and I know what my product can do and how it compares in the field, I need to flip the table around when I create content and look at all of this from a customer’s needs. Reciting a product’s features, or tossing around freshly coined phrases in content isn’t always the most effective approach.

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Once in a while, I like to get up from my desk and visit the sales floor to listen in on sales calls. I pay attention to how the sales team presents our product to potential customers. I can hear what’s repeated and emphasized in conversation, what customers’ needs are, and what terms or phrasing catches their interest. I’ll also listen to onboarding calls with new customers, to hear where what’s being and how the customer responds while they learn.

Our analysts also provide us with reports on what information is searched for on our website, so we can be sure that our content strategy is meeting search terms.

Listening for the differences

All of this information not only helps me to create content, but to build listening projects as well that are focused on lead generation and market insight.

When I set up listening projects, I’ll often refer to a spreadsheet where I keep variations of phrasing for specific concepts. Because we are a global company, this variation can also reflect simple regional differences.

This doesn’t mean that we’re going to launch into an overhaul of our branding, but we’ll continue to have an understanding of the spectrum of language used around the need for our product. On our marketing team, this is vital insight and shows us where we need to bridge the conversation.

We want to present our product well, help our customers find information easily, and meet expectations in the information we provide. We strongly believe in taking cues from the customer. Within your own company, this can start with just spending time in another department to gain some new perspective. 

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