Tuesday, September 14, 2010

5 important ways to listen to your social media chatter.

Photo by Melvin Gaal (Mindsharing.eu)
Small businesses are hard-pressed to stay current in the social media world and now experts are saying that you have to "listen" to your social media. Listening sounds great, but how exactly are small businesses supposed to listen to their social media?

Here are 5 important ways to listen to your social media chatter.

1. Google Alerts. Google alerts are fast and easy to set up and you can set an alert up for any manner of search criteria. Set one up for your business, and any of the major key words that you use to sell yourself or brand. You may want to narrow it down a bit if its a popular key word.

For example, many of our clients are authors. So we would put in a search for the author's name and the names' of their books. This way we would hear what others are saying about them.

Once you have your Google alerts set up, you will receive an email each day that a new mention pops up about you or your brand.

2. Tweetdeck. If you aren't on Twitter, then you really need to get there. At least so you can participate in the conversations that are already going on about you.

Once you have an account, download this handy tool and set up custom searches for your name, brand and business key words. When a tweet comes across the feed that mentions you or your business, you can pop in and thank them for the mention.

3. Use free social monitoring software. Software such as Social Mention can help you to find mentions of your name or brand anywhere on the web. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed of the search you set up as well as have it emailed to you.

4. Use a paid version of the social monitoring software. Other companies, such as Gatorade, have been known to listen to social media chatter using a variety of protocols, one such being the use of  Radian6. Radian6 is a very high-powered software that has lots of bells and whistles and makes it easy to keep an eye on things.

5.  The last step here is the most obvious and that is to keep a close eye on your own social sites. Delve into the statistics that Facebook provides so that you can see who is liking your content. The mere lack of a "like" can say lots about what people are thinking. Do the same on Twitter. Pay attention to Mentions (when someone uses your twitter name with an "@" in front of it- e.g. @LileStyle) and reply when you see someone mention you. Pay attention to re-tweets (appears in the feed with an "RT" in front of it).

There is no question that you do have to listen to the social media chatter in order to participate in the conversations that are already happening about you and your business. Don't let comments go unanswered, and make sure you acknowledge anyone who mentions you on Twitter or even in a blog post. Giving a shout out to someone who linked to you in some way from their blog post can go a long way in boosting your social media presence.