Ready for the web marketing advice equivalent of coming in from an icy snowstorm to the warmth of a wool blanket and a steaming cup of hot chocolate? Here it is:
You can significantly improve your social media marketing efforts just by listening online.
Not so treacherous, right?
Social media listening is easy, especially when you know where to find the right people to listen to.
And yet, social media listening often takes a backseat in the process of building up an online presence because it doesn’t yield the deliciously instant gratification of a “retweet” on Twitter or a “like” on a Facebook post.
Readers, that’s peanuts. Listening is for long-term marketing success. Listening is for slowly nurturing your unique voice across social platforms. Listening is for understanding your customers and delivering on what they really want.
Let me show you how to get started…
Find the right people to listen to
Hundreds of millions of tweets are sent per day. Somewhere in that noisy mass are 3 types of users you want to find on Twitter:
- Your target audience
- Your competitors
- Your industry influencers
And so it goes for other platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn.
To find your target audience, search your competitors’ social presences first. As you may already know, we think a little bit of social spying goes a long way towards enhancing your strategy.
Your competitors’ Twitter Lists and Followers should give you some ammo for listening, because they have likely attracted a similar audience to yours.
To strike out on your own, perform searches on Twitter with keywords pertaining to your industry. Heck, search your company name, too. You might be surprised to discover there are people chatting about your products and services online. Sift through the results from these searches to add to your Follow list.
Search Google for “Top people to follow on twitter in [your industry here]”. Listening to relevant experts will keep you up to date on the latest news and insights relevant to your business. It will also connect you with a like-minded audience (more people to listen to), and could help inspire your own professional “voice” in the social media sphere.
Your target audience, competitors and industry influencers all shape the landscape you want to make an impact on through social media marketing. That’s why it’s important to monitor their conversations to determine how you can stand out amidst the noise and attract more leads to your brand.
Find valuable conversations
Get right to the stuff that matters for improving your social media marketing efforts. Here’s what to look for:
-Keywords (search it up!) for your services. Example: if you are a real estate agent in Kelowna, perform Twitter searches for “need a realtor in Kelowna” or “real estate Okanagan” to discover what people are saying about your industry.
-Questions and comments about products and services.
-Content shares. What types of content does your audience like to engage with? Blog posts? Infographics?
-Interactions with your competitors. Are there opportunities to step in and offer advice or assistance?
-Preferences for entertainment and information. What current events create an impact on your audience? What are their interests online?
-Types of content published, frequency of posts and updates.
-Responses to customer queries and feedback.
-Promotions and updates about new product/service features.
-Employee representation – how do your competitors’ employees interact?
-Popularity of posts – what are people sharing and enjoying from your competitors on social?
-Breaking news updates.
-Opinions on issues pertaining to your business.
-Responses to users’ questions and feedback.
-Social media “voice” – how the influencer uses hashtags, retweets, content curation, and conversation to connect with users.
-Popularity of specific posts – what do people like the most?
Listen first. Listen always
Getting started on social media can seem overwhelming. That’s why it’s helpful to have a professional online marketing team on board to ensure you’re taking the right steps towards accomplishing your goals, such as increasing website traffic or raising awareness about a new product.
But before you even start building, you can start listening. As Top Rank Blog CEO Lee Odden says:
“The time to start building social networks isn’t when you need them. The time to start isn’t even yesterday or last month. The time to start is long, long before you “need” them because it takes time to develop relationships. It takes time to listen, participate, create optimized content and understand what triggers will inspire action, engagement, sales and referrals.”
Listen first. Listen always. Leave your ego at the door and soak up your social environment. When it’s time to take action, you’ll know what to do.
The Internet is jam-packed with tools for saving time and getting results from social listening. Check out this list of 12 Top Tools for social media to learn more about some of the best on the market.