“To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.”
A quick Google search about how to establish a successful social media marketing strategy is bound to lead you to thousands of blogs, news articles, YouTube presentations, company websites and more, all broadcasting their expert opinions and best practices for your consumption. In such a social world, it’s only natural that there’s a lot of talking going on, but none of it will matter if you don’t have a clue about all the talking that’s going on about you. Before you dive head first into the sea of information about what it takes to be successful, don’t forget why you’re doing this in the first place. Social media lets us hear what our most valuable customers are saying, and allows us to respond and build a relationship like never before. Don’t forget to tune in to the conversation.
Social Media Monitoring: Getting Started
Though the process may be initially overwhelming, it’s absolutely crucial that you engage in social media monitoring. In other words, you need to make a game plan for monitoring what’s already being said about your brand, industry and the key players within your company. Where are people most likely to be talking about you? Twitter? Facebook? Yelp? LinkedIn? Maybe an industry blog? Not only will you learn how your business is positioned, but you may even find that key market insight you’ve been searching for that will breathe new life into your brand. But where to begin?
1. The Objective.
We’ve already established that social media monitoring is pertinent to your social media strategy, but what kind of information is most valuable to your business? Your objective will be much in line with your what you want to achieve on social media in the first place. Are you monitoring to be alerted when good things or bad things are said about your product or service so that you can immediately respond and retain your customer? Perhaps it is more important for you to find those people that are in need of your product or service so that you can continue to grow your business. Having an objective will keep you focused and make it easier to find the tools you need for you strategy to be effective.
2. Separating What’s Valuable From the Noise.
Keeping in mind why you are listening to the multitude of conversations taking place on social media will make it easier to extract only the information that is most valuable to your business. But how do you do this without spending hours on ending sifting through all the sites available at your fingertips? There are many tools that can do this all for you–a mix of a few will likely be most effective–but one of the most useful and easy to set up is a Google Reader.
If you don’t have one already, set up a Google account for your business. Here, you can subscribe to various RSS feeds of websites you frequent for information about your industry, but you can also set up Google Alerts. Google Alerts allow you to create a watch list, where you can type in keywords associated with your business. As these keywords appear on the Internet, Google will pull that information and store it in one place, accessible from your Google Reader.
Likewise, setting up an account on Twilert will allow you to be alerted to all recent tweets containing your specified keywords on Twitter. On Facebook, search for your business and click on the “Posts by Everyone” tab on the left hand side to see what people are saying on their status updates.
Why This Matters
We know the conversations on social media are invaluable to gain insights you may have never learned otherwise because that’s where people are talking. It’s obviously important to have a grasp of how your business is perceived, but the nature of social media allows your business to take things one step further. It allows for you to actively change any negative perceptions, and build a relationship by satisfying the ubiquitous need all people have of being heard.
A few years ago, Domino’s Pizza was experiencing a steady decline of annual sales revenue and was growing tired of hearing that their product was not up to par with competitors. Instead of ignoring complaints of their terrible pizza, they decided to make a drastic change.
Domino’s went online, joined the conversations on social media, and listened to all the criticisms their customers had. Then, they did the unthinkable and revised their entire product, creating a whole new recipe based on the comments they saw from their customers and critics on social media. Upon its release, Domino’s launched a massive integrated turnaround campaign to let everyone know. They delivered pizzas to their harshest critics and aired their reactions on television, had free taste tests, and created a microsite that documented everything–the good, the bad and the ugly. The result? Millions of Facebook fans, thousands of Twitter follows, and an 8.1% increase in revenue–more than doubling their profits.
The landscape is changing for how business is done, and never has the customer been more central to its success. Do you know what yours are saying about you?
- The Single Most Powerful Use of Social Media for Small Business (ducttapemarketing.com)
- Social media monitoring tools [infographic] (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Why Social Media Monitoring Matters (distributedmarketing.org)