Are You Listening? Why Social Media Monitoring Matters
BY: MEGAN TOTKA ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 02, 2013
At this point in the game, it’s no secret that social media is one of the top ways you can market your business online. It’s free (to some extent), it’s user-friendly (for the most part) and it’s techy enough for the geekier side of the general public while still remaining relatively low-maintenance for those of us who just want to look at cat pictures and check up on our loved ones.
But when you use social media for more than just fun, when you use it for your business, you need to stay 100 percent on top of what’s going on with you, your followers, and your fans. Why? Well, to put it simply, it can really help grow your business.
In fact, if you’re not in tune with your social media following and image, it can damage your reputation, because fans won’t be able to associate your brand with what matters most: your brand voice.Enter social listening and social media monitoring. These bad boys are two things that you should be doing right now if you want to continue to build your business’s reputation online and see real success within the social media marketplace.
Sing it Loud and Sing it Proud
You may be wondering, “What do you mean my ‘brand voice?’” That’s right. Your business is a brand, and it has a voice. If you don’t know what your business’s brand voice sounds like, that just means you may not have found it yet. But, that’s OK! Finding a voice for your business isn’t necessarily as easy as 1-2-3.
Sometimes it really takes a concerted effort to find a voice for your business. Sometimes you have to listen to what others are saying before you know what to say about yourself.
From promoting your Facebook page to scouring Twitter trends, how do you know where to start with the whole social listening thing? Well, let’s start with a definition.
According to HootSuite, a social media monitoring software, social listening is the act of ‘listening’ to conversations taking place on a specific social media site and literally looking for opportunities to jump in and engage people in the conversation.
These people may have heard of your business, or they may not have. The point is to spread the word about your business to people that may never have heard of it by acting as an authority in your industry and having real-life, valuable conversations with your audience in a given social sphere.
For example, say you’re in the business of blogging. You can look up #blogging on Facebook and Twitter to see who’s talking about that subject, the items they are discussing, and brainstorm a smart way to jump in (don’t just say ‘hi,’ offer people useful information, or ask them a question that gets them thinking).
Here’s another example: say you’re a plumber. Do a quick search for #plumbing on Facebook and Twitter and see what comes up. You might be amazed at how many people post plumbing-related things on social media websites.
Jump In and Start Swimming
There’s no better time than now to jump into social media and start swimming. Hone in on your social listening skills by getting online and diving into the conversations and digging into popular trends (provided they have something to do with your business). The best way for you to reach your audience online is to get out there and contact them!
I bet you’re saying to yourself right now, “I have a Facebook and Twitter page, I even have a LinkedIn page. Oh my Gosh, I think I have a Foursquare page too! But how do I find the time to manage all of these pages?”
Good question. Rest assured, many other businesses have had this very same issue, and that’s why there are a number of social media monitoring (SMM) tools out there. SMM tools exist for the sheer convenience of users who are too busy to otherwise manage their social media pages.
Businesses and users who manage multiple social media pages for their business, or even businesses, may see real success using SMM tools. When it comes to the point that you can’t remember which Facebook page you need to update, or you can’t keep track of who’s Tweeting you from one minute to the next, you should definitely look into SMM tools.
But, which tools are the best? Well, with new tools still frequently emerging that remains to be seen. However, there are some key points that you should look for in an SMM tool.
Here are the top 5 things you should look for in an SMM tool:
- Real-time social marketing insights should be readily available for your review
- The dashboard should be easy to use/user-friendly
- It should help you identify ‘key influencers’ for your industry and brand
- It should help you develop performance metrics for your pages
- It should help you support rapid social engagement
A final word of advice: try before you buy! Many SMM tools will give you a 30-day trial before asking you to make a complete purchase, which is a great way to take a test drive and see if the tool is really the right one for you and your business.
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