Social Media Listening SkillsIn my last post, I touched on the importance of being a good listener in an online and social media world.

If you are regular visitor to this blog, you will hear me say this time after time, Social Media is all about relationships. Your success in social media relies on the relationships you build.

In this post, I am going to dig deeper on how to listen to conversations happening on the web.

What To Listen For?

1. Keywords

2. Brand name

3. Product names

4. Competitors

Tools For Social Listening

There are tons of tools out there for monitoring social media conversations. Jeff Epstein of Ambassador has a nice list of listening tools here. I have personally used Hootsuite & Radian6 for different clients.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is the community manager & social media marketers dream tool. It is simple to use and reasonably priced. I like it because I can manage all my accounts in one place and set up specific searches for each one individually. Hootsuite’s front end is stream based, meaning each social network you have loaded into Hootsuite has its own page. From there you can create different streams of information. In my opinion Hootsuite works best for monitoring keywords on Twitter and Facebook. Another handy aspect of Hootsuite is the fact that you can assign certain tweets & posts that mention your keywords, to someone on your team. You can also see full conversations within twitter, which allows anyone on your team to jump right in and pick up where the conversation was left off. You can make comments and notes on each saved or assigned mention as well.

I use Hootsuite to schedule posts as well.But, we’ll get into that in a different blog post.

2. Radian 6

Radian6 is more robust than Hootsuite and you can monitor different keywords that popup on blogs, twitter, and Facebook in one stream. You can also save certain mentions and assign them as you can in Hootsuite.What makes this tool killer is the tagging aspect so that you can tag each mention with keywords that are meaningful to you. This way you can go back and look at trends and similarities over a specific time period. This service is more costly but you get a lot more out of it.

Manual Listening

In a world of tools and shortcuts you might be scratching your head as to why I would ever suggest manually searching each network. My only answer is why not? Each social network is different when it comes to listening and more importantly when it comes to responding.

Listening on Facebook

With the announcement of Facebook’s graph search, searching for people who like your brand is going to become a lot easier.Since Facebook is more private than twitter it is harder to find a broad spectrum of conversations. Or you might find them but you can’t comment on them because you aren’t friends with the person. However, this shouldn’t deter you from doing a few searches here and there. You never know what you will find.

Listening on LinkedIn

Listening on LinkedIn is a bit more closed off. Currently I can only figure out how to search my own feed. I do that on Hootsuite. You can search groups on topics, perhaps there is one on your company or around a specific product you sell. You can also search companies to monitor how your competitors brand is doing.

Listening on Twitter

Twitter is great for listening because most people’s accounts are public. That means anything they say is public and SEARCHABLE.  You can search via the search tool. You can search in a targeted area. And you can search for hashtags. Twitter is where people go to shout something out and to complain.  By listening here you can really develop a good customer service repertoire. It is encouraged to use twitter in this manner as well. You will be shocked at how a simple tweet can turn a rant into a rave.

Listening on G+

Like Twitter G+ is pretty public.While this is such a new site it is still evolving. If you have a tech product, G+ is a no brainer. The audience skews male & techy. You can do a search in the search box for your keywords.If you notice some people talking about your brand or product, go ahead and circle them and comment on their posts. You can also search communities and topics on G+. Play around and explore and let me know what you find. I’ll be doing the same.

Listening on Blogs

Google Alerts is my go to tool for searching and listening to conversation happening on blogs and sites. If you have a product you might find reviews or rants through this tool. Reviews are always a good thing, but rants can come in handy as well. Comment on the blog, let the person know you are listening and more importantly, that you care.

Now that you’ve listened, what’s next?

In my next blog, I will talk about your next steps to create a communication & response strategy and a case study on social media listening for leads.

Catch up on part 1 of this blog:
Social Media Relationship Skills – Listening

Do you engage in social listening? What changes has it lead to within your company?

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Stephanie Clegg

Stephanie started helping businesses get results with social networks before Twitter even existed! Stephanie has worked directly with high profile clients like Oprah, Atlantic Records, Dashlane, The International Culinary Center, & many more. She specializes in helping business owners and marketers find massive ROI by developing targeted social campaigns focused on *engagement strategies* that work!

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