In previous posts, we have discussed ways to monitor your online reputation, but what if you are the small to medium-sized business owner that is late to the game?
Step 1? Start listening.
How do you do that? Well, this can be done internally, or it can be outsourced, but don’t think because that twenty-something in your office that texts, tweets, and has a Facebook status update for each hour of the day, that they are the candidate to manage your brand, your online marketing strategy, or equally important, your marketing budget. Think you can’t afford to outsource it? Shop around, you might be surprised. Either way you go, the brand ambassador who manages this task must be reading blogs daily, be familiar with the people who are interacting with you on all social media networks, whether they are tweeters, vloggers, bloggers, or just merely commenters.
Listening is only as effective as the content that you choose to hear. You will want to find content that has high relevancy to your industry, your company and your competitors. There are hundreds of millions of blogs out there, which doesn’t include all of the videos uploaded to YouTube, the millions of Tweets, forum posts, and pictures that are shared across the ever-evolving multitude of social networks.
Overwhelmed yet? It’s okay. You read at over 1,000 words per minute right? If not, don’t sweat it. Even if you could, and you couldn’t possibly find everything that is relevant, wouldn’t be able to follow it all, and luckily, you don’t need to. It varies by business, but generally there are less than 20 blogs that generate the majority of conversations in your niche. So, how do you determine what to follow and what is not worthy of your precious time? Go for the biggest fish in the pond. Find the biggest blogs in the community, and monitor other pieces of the digital conversation from other sources.
Here are some of the tools you can use to search for conversations about your brand, your competitors, or your industry, by searching for industry buzzwords, your brand name or your competitors name:
Discussion Forum Searches – BoardTracker is currently tracking 69,230,256 threads in 37,284 Forums
Monitoring the Blogosphere – Google Blog Search is a great tool, but can yield a lot of splog results (spam blogs generated automatically by keyword searches). This would be an alternative to Google News Alerts, if you already subscribe to these. Ideally, you would want to monitor key company executives, your brand, your competition and your industry. (Get the picture yet?)
All of these search results can be subscribed to via email or as an RSS feed, and then you can share the appropriate feeds with any key individuals in your organization that you feel should also be plugged in.
The most important step in any successful social media campaign launch is listening. By listening to the buzz about your brand – you will best position yourself to identify the brand junkies in your niche, find out what your audience is most interested in, and determine the best strategies to introduce your company into these conversations.
Still lost? Feel free to email Kansas City’s Social Media Agency for questions, additional details, or to schedule your complimentary on-site analysis to determine the strategies for your 2010 social media campaign.
Written by: Sara Paxton, managing partner, CTO, and Social Media Officer of Evans Media Group, Kansas City’s Social Media Agency, a boutique agency located in Overland Park, KS that specializes in traditional marketing, social media marketing, online marketing, and public relations.