So you’ve been keeping your brand’s social media channels updated, and getting some good traction; writing tweets at the speed of light and flexing your networking muscles, but sadly (or excitingly, if you’re me) there’s more to social media success than all of that.
If you’re on social media, or even if you’re not, you really need to get on board with listening and monitoring. It sounds a bit fancy pants, but it really just means being aware of what’s being said about you, your competitors and relevant topics.
Just broadcasting and engaging isn’t enough. Social media listening is important because:
• Not every user talking about your brand will @ you, and you need to be aware of what’s being said in order to respond appropriately and modify behaviours based on feedback
• It allows you to keep abreast of competitors’ activity, identifying any weak spots their customers raise and keeping an eye on their activity (sneaky!)
• Buying signals are one of the few ways a brand can drive direct leads from their social media (and get that all important ROI up)
• Listening allows you a wider perspective on the success of different activity, outside of just follower data
“That’s all well and good”, I hear you cry “but how do we do it?”
You can use software- cheap software, free software, expensive software- which reduces some of the leg work. Free/cheap versions of Hootsuite, Social Sprout etc offer search options, tracking and reporting or you can use the likes of Vocus which literally delivers tweets to you from people talking about your brand or competitors, as well as users looking for your services.
With anything relying on technology, there are some issues with this method. Obviously software isn’t as sophisticated as humans at understanding sentiment and so this can skew data. Plus you often have to refine your searches to ensure targeted results.
An alternative is to do some manual monitoring and tracking, a great solution if you’re an SME rather than a large brand. A quick way to do this is to set up and save some searches in twitter, or use your preferred scheduling tool to save these in columns for easy viewing.
Every business is different but if you’re doing this I’d suggest the following searches:
• Your brand name (and any variations)
• Competitors brand names
• Your core services
• Any key staff names
• Though Leaders in your industry
Basically, social monitoring and listening can be as time consuming as you want it to be, but doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Start small and spend half an hour setting your searches or software up, then a quick 5 minutes every morning scanning the results and responding where necessary. Simple when you know how!