We’ve talked before about social media monitoring, or the art of using your social media channels to keep up with mentions of your brand, staff, issue areas of importance to you, and reviews and ratings of your business. It’s sometimes called listening, and it’s always important.
Brush up on these refreshers:
Taking social media monitoring to the next level can look lots of different ways. Some companies use complicated tools and dashboards to scan the deep dark depths of the web for every mention of their company name. Other companies might just sign up for Google Alerts and call it a day.
Whatever you’re doing, the thing to remember is that real pros not only do their monitoring regularly, but use the results of that monitoring to make business decisions. Here are some pro-level listening tips to find the data and feedback you can use to inform your strategy, lead your team, and give your customers even more of what they’re looking for!
Make sure you know who your competitors are.
Sometimes, when we ask our clients who they consider to be their competitors or peers, they’ll say, “No one!” They genuinely can’t think of any other brands who are serving similar audiences, offering similar services, or could potentially take away business.
The hard truth is that you might not be the expert on who your competitors are, because you have a totes different POV about this than your customers do. There’s no guarantee that your customers use the same language to describe what you do and how you do it, right?
Start by looking at the customers who are leaving comments on your posts, liking your posts, and viewing your videos, and see what other brands and businessowners they’re following. Figure out what other companies are grabbing their attention on social media, and really consider if those companies are similar to yours.
And even if the other brands they follow aren’t similar to yours at all, by seeing what those brands post you can gain valuable insight about what tactics you should be using to make your social media content more engaging.
Ask your audience questions yourself.
Social media monitoring/listening doesn’t have to be passive. In addition to reading comments and reviews by your customers, regularly engage directly with your social media audience and ask them for what they’d like from you. Ask for their design input, put together a poll on what kind of helpful video you should create, or convene a Twitterchat asking for their insight on an important issue for your business.
Here are some great examples of how companies used this exact tactic and let customer feedback help them create better products. Get inspired!
Observe how your customers and clients talk about your products and services, even if they don’t mention your brand.
Sometimes your customers and clients will talk about you but you won’t even know it… if you’re only looking for mentions of your specific company name.
Our very own clients might talk about something they learned from the Weekly Slice on Twitter, but they may not tag The Good Lemon in their post or even say what they learned was from an email newsletter. It’s not a requirement (although we certainly appreciate when you talk about us!). But it helps us to know what information sticks in our clients’ brains, since it’s a sign that what we wrote or shared was valuable and we should probably keep sharing it.
Make it a part of your monitoring to check on what your customers or clients are posting in general, and so you can catch if they’re talking to others about topics you’ve discussed with them. If you’re not super comfortable following these folks on social, you can use private Twitter lists or a private account to follow, or just check on their accounts periodically without actually following them.
And one warning: Don’t be creepy! Don’t just jump into someone else’s conversation even if you know they’re talking about you, because… well, it’s weird. It’s one thing if someone specifically mentions your company and you want to clarify something or answer a question, but unsolicited replies come off as self-serving and kinda icky. Use this tactic to learn.
Don’t just focus on text.
This one’s easy. Don’t just search for text mentions in social media posts or news articles. Look at the images and videos that come along with it, because a picture really is worth a thousand insights!
Consider what types of visuals your clients and customers are sharing, or that your competitors are sharing, and see what you can learn about what you should be doing more (or less) of. You can even use private Pinterest boards to save this kind of content and refer to it later.
Make your alerts mobile-friendly, so you don’t miss anything crucial while you’re on the go.
If you’re serious about really keeping up with your Google Alerts or mentions/topics on Twitter, it’s a must to have your tools on your smartphone. Ignoring your social media listening in evenings or over weekends is not allowed.
Twitter has a solid mobile app already, and Google Alerts can be delivered to your email, no problem. But if you’re using a dashboard tool like SproutSocial or Hootsuite for your listening, download their mobile apps and get familiar with how they work.
Our favorite media monitoring tool, Feedly, also has a good mobile app that can sync with other apps you might be using (like Google News) so you can easily save links to articles you find on your phone.
Note from TGL Founder Katie Stanton:
The Weekly Slice has been on hiatus in May due to an unexpected tragedy in my family. Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when it’s sudden, and whenever this happens it’s a reminder to hold your family close for as long as you can.
Big, big, big thank you to all of TGL’s fantastic clients, the incredible TGL team including Megan, Erin, Tiffany, Karelyn and Richelle, and dear friends and colleagues who supported me in this tough time. It means the world to me.