You’ve likely heard about ‘social listening’ or ‘social monitoring’, but what exactly does it mean and how can it help your brand if you can’t afford software suites or tools? Social listening isn’t just about keeping track of your handle and hashtags- though I highly recommend doing both. There is a wealth of information surrounding keywords and phrases, especially on Twitter and Google+, that you could be missing out on.
Companies like Dell have large budgets that allow them to operate social media command centers with the best software and tools to monitor things like brand sentiment, customer issues, product issues, and more. Most of us aren’t Dell and you may lack the budget, the team or the social buy-in (you may lack all three), but there are things you can and should be doing for a competitive edge.
Keywords and phrases you use in your PPC and SEO efforts are valuable too in your social efforts. Searching those keywords, as well as some more conversational variations that better fit the social ecosystem, on Twitter or Google+ regularly can help you identify a variety of things
- Opportunities to be a resource, answer a question, offer your service etc. (*Especially when your competition isn’t) A beauty store, blogger, salon could really help this girl out!
- Opportunities to engage in topics, causes, conversations your customers or community care about. A sporting goods store, blog, could empathize with this tweet.
- Opportunities to retweet good things about your brand or address problems when people don’t explicitly use your handle or hashtag (*This is so common, you can publicize your hashtag, name etc. and people will tweet variations, or just not include either) In this example the event handle is @PreaknessPiazza and the hashtag is #PreaknessatthePiazza
- Customer service/product issues that may be publicly broadcasted, but not brought to your attention directly (*You want to address these, people make buying decisions based on things like this at a growing rate) Twitter isn’t a great example, but this guy has a good point. You can find tweets like this about almost every brand, store and company.
- Monitor competitors (*what they are, but more importantly what they’re not doing, that’s where you come in, you can monitor all competitor social channels in this regard) I bet there is another grocery store around looking for experienced employees!
- Content holes (*content creation is often hard for brands, especially with small teams, take a cue from your social listening) You could write a post on how to do this and ’7 other things you might not know’ Lifehacker style and gain some followers, RT’s or maybe a reader for life.
- Don’t forget to search for typical misspellings, now that mobile is bigger than ever, spelling can be a little off, or can vary. People also abbreviate places, people and things in so many different ways. Check, you won’t believe what you’ll find!
There are probably so many other ways to put these channels to work without much of a budget for it, feel free to let me know what you’d add or what you’ve tried. Other networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. serve as excellent market research tools too. Basic social listening and monitoring may be one of the most untapped aspects of social out there, specifically for small businesses.