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  • 19 Jan 2018 4:15 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    Great post from MarTech Advisor- Helping Marketers Succeed. 

    Social-Listening

    Jennifer Dandy, Analytics Manager at Anexinet, talks about how a well-crafted Social Listening project is a powerful tool for market research, public affairs, and marketing teams. Learn about its incredible benefits and how to overcome common barriers to support 

    Social Listening is becoming an increasingly popular market analytics tool. Haven’t heard of it yet? Not quite sure what it is? You’re not alone. But you may be missing out on an incredibly valuable – and economical – the source of market insight!

    Social Listening is the practice of listening to, and deriving insights from, the social conversations occurring among consumers online via various social media platforms. Listening endeavors range from basic to incredibly complex; from monitoring conversation and activity around specific events or campaigns, to complex market research studies. While the specifics of project design will vary based on the driving business needs, the benefits of leveraging Social Listening remain consistent.

    • Social media conversations are occurring publically, in real-time, and are actively shaping consumer opinions. Consequently, the consumer opinions expressed can be thought of as the latest iteration of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM); one that has the potential to reach a greater audience than traditional WOMM. This means it is essential for public affairs and marketing teams alike to stay abreast of the evolving perspectives shared on social media that are shaping their consumers’ opinions. Social Listening allows teams to get out in front of evolving opinions and identify key opinion leaders online who may be brand advocates or detractors.
    • Social data provides a unique view into the consumers' mindset by giving marketers insight into unbiased and unprompted peer-to-peer conversations. Unlike the perspectives shared in an interview room, these dialogues are not subject to reporter bias. Online is where consumers speak candidly and honestly about their experiences with their products; be it to share recommendations or scathing reviews of their network. Understanding consumers’ unfiltered reality and natural language empowers marketers to connect organically with their audience.
    • Social Listening is a timely and cost-effective means to gain these consumer insights. This methodology skips the initial steps of traditional market research: discussion guide or survey creation, navigating approvals, recruiting, and conducting.  This enables Social Listening to jump from inception to insights in a matter of weeks. Insights gleaned from this research are fresh and timely. They can also be a cost-effective alternative to traditional research, especially in niche and rare communities where recruitment can be difficult. The internet’s ability to connect disparate individuals into a mutual location affords researchers access to many difficult to recruit consumer cohorts.
    • With all these benefits, some teams face barriers to getting funding for such projects. Perhaps the most common roadblock is the misconception that social data is only for the marketing teams seeking to launch a social campaign. But in fact, there is much to be learned about the consumer group who is not directly engaging with one’s brand.  Additionally, there is tremendous value in gaining insight into the market at large, going beyond mentions of a single brand and competitors. 

    The second barrier is the belief that regulations will limit the practice.  On the contrary, Social Listening can be an effective means to circumvent many regulations given the passive nature of the data collection. 

    Finally, teams may come to the practice without a clear use case or business question. With any research, Social Listening ought to be conducted with a clear set of goals in mind. Doing so will ensure the most valuable insights are uncovered and that these are impactful to the business.

    A well-crafted Social Listening project is a powerful tool for market research, public affairs, and marketing teams alike. The data affords a unique window into the lives of consumers, their opinions and behaviors. The results offer timely and cost-effect insights into the market, informing marketing, customer service, and consumer experience efforts. 


  • 11 Jan 2018 3:42 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    I would add that technology can also be used to geofence your event geographically. This pulls all non-tagged posts and records them for later viewing. 

    JAN11

    Posted by AnnMichaels in Social Media Listening 

    It’s become second nature for many of us to take to social media to enhance a shared experience. Who wouldn’t want to share videos from a concert of your favorite band? Or a winning goal score by the home team? Social media helps us construct our own experience of the event. It can also be rewarding for brands and creators who get to chat with individuals and experience their genuine, instant reaction to what’s happening.

    By focusing on specific key points, processes and people, brands can ensure the live events they’re involved in are a success. If you’re planning a live event, here are steps for successful social media amplification.

     

    social media monitoring

     

    Connect to Social via WiFi

    A great way to pull data from participants is simply through the WiFi network that you provide. A few new companies now offer WiFi that allows you to quickly collect customer contact data. Through this, you can match up social media activity with individual attendees and get the information you need.

    Social Media Listening

    During any event, a certain percentage of attendees will be actively communicating on social media. If they use your event hashtag, you can easily follow these activities, but it’s important to pay close attention to everything that’s being posted about your event, across multiple social platforms.

    From this listening, you can gather the usernames of those who are most likely to be interested in buying from you and follow up with special offers or a simple thank-you note. You can also pull reports that give insight into the overall performance of your events, as well as the conversations happening around it. All of this will help inform future event decisions to increase your chances of success.

    Hashtags

    As social media has grown in popularity with marketers, hashtag analytics have emerged as a great way to monitor user behaviors. Each event should have an assigned hashtag that is heavily promoted to attendees. Before, during and after the event, you should monitor activity on that tag and gather information on those who are posting.

     

     

     

    social media

    Keep the Discussion Going

    Live events are best thought of as the beginning event. Tweeting may spike when a goal is scored, but fans will continue to discuss the match after the final whistle. Successful live events keep the discussion going when the event is over. That means keeping a few community managers working after the event is over, even if it’s hours or days after.

    Photo Booths

    One fun way to get attendees to willingly share their information is through the use of a photo booth at your event. You can set this up yourself using an interesting backdrop and some fun props, then assign a team member to snap photos of participants. Of course they will want to share the image on social media so don’t forget the hashtag!

    You can also gather social usernames this way, and require participants to provide a name and email address in exchange for a copy of the photo. After the event, you can use the information you’ve collected to send a thank-you note or to follow attendees in the hopes that they’ll return the favor.

    Selfie Opportunities

    As fun as photo booths can be, you don’t have to do anything that formal to get results. Consider incorporating elements into your event that will encourage attendees to share on social media. A mascot, a makeover or a fun interaction with one of your products that is photo-friendly make for great selfie options.

    You could also tie a fun promotion to sharing at the event, promising a giveaway where the winner is drawn from those who share selfies of themselves with your product. This type of sharing helps you gather usernames while also giving your brand exposure to those users’ online followers, as well as other attendees viewing posts under the event’s assigned hashtag.

    The Bottom Line

    When live events are well-managed and moderated, they can be great experiences for brands and fans alike. Hosting a live event can be a brilliant way to engage audiences and generate buzz beyond the brand’s existing fan community.

    Piecing together and analyzing multiple data sources for a live event is a vital part of increasing sales potential and growing a customer base. Social media enables s a wealth of data collection. By applying social media data collection to your own marketing efforts, you can put information with all of the smiling faces who post on social media during your activations and experiences.



  • 4 Jan 2018 11:29 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    - What a great lesson on how to use social media, engage your customers, and show humility. This is what social media is all about!


    By Justin Bariso as published in Inc.com

    Founder, Insight @JustinJBariso

    Elon Musk.  CREDIT: Getty Images

    Love him or hate him, you've got to give Tesla CEO Elon Musk credit for one thing: The man knows how to use social media.

    Consider the following tweet, which he sent out on December 26:

    Elon Musk

    @elonmusk

    Wanted again to send a note of deep gratitude to Tesla owners WW for taking a chance on a new company that all experts said would fail. 

    So much blood, sweat & tears from the Tesla team went into creating cars that you’d truly love. I hope you do.

    How can we improve further?

    12:46 PM - Dec 26, 2017

    •  16,35516,355 Replies
    •  
    •  14,21114,211 Retweets
    •  
    •  140,142140,142 likes

    In a few short sentences, Musk provides a masterful lesson in emotional intelligence--the ability to make emotions work for you instead of against you.

    Here are just a few things his tweet accomplished:

    1. He makes customers (and employees) feel good.

    At a glance, Musk's opening comment looks like a simple thank-you. He makes sure to demonstrate appreciation for the thousands of Tesla employees. 

    But also notice how he thanks Tesla customers specifically--for "taking a chance on a new company that all experts said would fail."

    In effect, he's commending Tesla owners for supporting David vs. Goliath, for helping the company succeed against all odds. With this short statement, Musk reinforces the connection with his core customer: people who want more than a car--they want to support a movement.

    2. He invites complaints.

    Rather than shying away from customer complaints, Musk invites them. He identifies these as a gift--because they offer valuable feedback and the opportunity to improve. 

    "A well-thought-out critique of whatever you're doing is as valuable as gold," said Musk in one interview. "You should take the approach that you're wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong."

    3. He responds in real time.

    Within minutes, customers responded with requests ranging from an electric pickup truck, to better navigation software, to having Bluetooth not auto-connect to the phone. (That last one came courtesy of Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz--guess he hates it when his wife steals his calls when walking by the garage with her key.) Musk responded positively to each of those tweets.

    This single action is smart on many levels.

    For one, it gives Musk a chance to connect personally with customers. (Musk is even known to joke with customers through Twitter.) How many CEOs do you know who regularly engage with their customers online?

    Second, consider this: Tesla was likely already working on some of these ideas, but the responses help Musk and his team decide which products and features to prioritize.

    Finally, the tweet sends a powerful message: that great ideas can come from anywhere--especially customers.

    As you can see, there are lots of lessons here for business owners but also for managers and team leads. I believe friend and fellow writer Karthik Rajan summed it up best:

    "Gratitude + seeking feedback for improvement + follow-through is a great combination."

  • 18 Dec 2017 2:19 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    DEC

    Great post from Regas Crawford, Salesforce.com's Blogging series. You must have a social media strategy before you do anything in social. 

    Having a rock solid marketing strategy in place during the holiday commotion is a must, especially for retailers. The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects holiday sales to near $682 billion this year, a 3.6%–4% increase in holiday sales from last year.

    With such massive revenue opportunities, retailers big and small need to be ready to man their battle stations, especially in the social media war room.

    Setting up a social media content calendar to guide communications is table stakes these days (download our free holiday content calendar). Everyone can do it, which means that retailers across the world have plenty of organic and paid content ready to launch throughout the season. (Just think of all the 25% off and “buy one, get one free” deals you’ll be seeing through December 25.)

    So, beyond a content calendar, how can retailers be prepared on social media? Here are four tips to improve social media strategy for the holiday season and beyond.

     

    Implement a data strategy.

     

    While retailers may be able to eek by with limited social media data, such as tracking conversion rates from specific posts, a larger data strategy can help inform broader marketing, sales, and service efforts. The first steps to implementing a useful data strategy are to define company goals and identify the most useful data to meet those goals.

    In tandem with considering how these goals and data points relate to social media, it’s also important to expand them to other channels across the marketing spectrum. This will help to create a more comprehensive foundation for a data strategy. One crucial part of any data strategy, at the very least, is to be ready to collect a few relevant data points that will help retailers enhance their data-driven decisions moving into 2018.

    Check out our helpful guide to learn more about how to start a data strategy.

    According to “The ROI of Social Media Management,” an Altimeter research report in collaboration with Salesforce, “Social business maturity is much higher (2x) among businesses that use Integrated Suites than users of Point Solutions for social media management.” Integrated Suites, in this context, include social media management tools, such as Social Studio, that connect with and support other marketing, sales, and service platforms.

    In the above graphic, the average Net Promoter Score and average business (margin) outcomes are higher for companies considered social business leaders. “The most mature social businesses are both more profitable and have more loyal customers compared to social business laggards,” the report says.

     

    2. Think of social media beyond marketing.

     

    In fact, the two most popular business objectives for social media might surprise some marketers: customer service and relationship building.

    To explain these rankings, the report says, “This is evidence of the industry’s overall shift to customer experience as a differentiating factor to drive loyalty and advocacy.”

     

    3. Be ready to support customers.

     

    We mentioned above that customer service and relationship building are the two most popular business objectives related to social media. Another one of our recent blogs also touches on this point (see tip #2 in this blog about getting ready for the holidays).

    It stands to reason, then, that companies need to be ready to support customers via social media. This means that companies should have a process to handle customer questions, responses, and complaints. With the right social media management tools (see #1 in this list), retailers may not have to spend too much additional money hiring more service agents if they have useful technology to handle a larger number of cases.

     

    4. Invest in social media management tools — and integrate them.

     

    One key part of becoming a mature social business — or a business with a high level of experience with social customer listening and other areas — is identifying and investing in appropriate social media management technology.
    Social media isn’t just a marketing tool. “Social platforms are used to enable selling and commerce, recruit employees, and then engage them internally, manage influencer relationships, augment live events, be a source of business intelligence, and of course support customers,” according to “The ROI of Social Media Management.”

    No matter how retailers approach social media during the holidays, it’s important to consider both organic and paid approaches — and connect them with other parts of the marketing mix — to maximize effectiveness and the customer experience.



  • 6 Dec 2017 12:57 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Great information here on the repercussions of ignoring customers in social media. This goes hand in hand with the SMRA's Comprehensive Response Time Study in Social Media. Click Here to get a copy.

    By: Irfan Ahmad

    @irfanahmad1989

    Gone are the days when we didn’t need to worry about using social media for customer support - these days, it’s not even a question.

    According to a report by Sprout Social, up to 90% of consumers have used social media in some way to communicate directly with a brand. The bad news is that brands reply to just 11% of these messages, on average, leaving the majority of inquiries ignored. That suggests that most businesses are still using social media as a promotional marketing tool, instead of a two-way customer communication channel.

    In fact, social media has already become the preferred customer service channel for Millennials, and it's growing in popularity among older groups too. What’s more, whenever people turn to social for customer support, they want a response much faster than most organizations are either willing or able to provide. The same survey found that the average time it takes brands to respond to a social media message is 10 hours, though most people consider under 4 hours reasonable.

    To provide more perspective on the growing importance of social customer care, Provide Support have put together this infographic.

    Brands Ignoring Consumers on Social Media are in Trouble [Infographic] | Social Media Today

    A version of this post was first published on the Digital Information World blog.

    Follow Irfan Ahmad on TwitterPRINT


  • 29 Nov 2017 11:11 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    By: Jim Matorin of SMARTKETING 

    Influence marketing is the latest “buzz du jour.”  Conventional marketers focus on positioning their goods and services to a target market.  Au courant  marketers, promote the digital transformation of marketing, focus on select, social individuals who have influence over potential buyers (a.k.a. brand advocates).

    Did you know that the average attention span in the social media world is eight seconds!  The average time people spend on social media is 116 minutes per day (source: SocialMediaToday).  One byproduct of the social media world is organic advertising – the authentic relationship consumers have with a brand that influences purchasing behavior for a specific product or service.  Hence the birth of influence marketing.  A recent study conducted by Nielsen and TapInfluence indicated that influence marketing drives 11 times more ROI than other forms of media. Consequently, smart marketers orientate their creative strategies and marketing movements around these people (a.k.a. brand advocates).

    Detailed below are the three distinct stages of developing brand advocacy.

    1.     Listening Analytics – Employ social media monitoring tools to identify your brand advocates; socially active individuals who are potentially influencing your brand’s awareness, positive image and potential sales. 
    2.     Brand Advocacy Connectivity – Engage with key brand advocates identified in stage one on a regular basis via their preferred social media platform utilizing relevant and personalized content.
    3.     Cultivate New Brand Advocates – Convert socially active individuals into brand advocates.  One way is to create an OMG (“Oh My God”) event.  Suggestion: How about a restaurant comping a table of guests for best behaved kids complete with a picture posted on Instagram.

    Are you ready to implement influence marketing strategies to drive your ROI?


  • 22 Nov 2017 12:49 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    Listening to customers and responding in realtime in social media is such a great way to let your customers know you really do care about them. This can be done for any size business as long as you are willing to invest in resources to support it. 

     NOVEMBER 21, 2017  NATIONAL NEWS

           

    Social Media Listening

    (DALLAS) — In Dallas, a team of 40 customer service experts take turns around the clock monitoring Southwest Airlines’ various social channels with one primary goal: to listen to you. Their job becomes even more important this week as more than 24 million travelers are expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday.

    Southwest’s “Listening Center,” as it’s called, is often where the airline will first hear of any problems or incidents surrounding its service.

    In today’s era of heightened tension between airlines and passengers, Southwest sees it as essential to tackle these issues as quickly as possible.

    “Things that you may not think were a big issue now can become a monster issue for you if you’re not responding in a very expedient manner,” said Matt Hafner, vice president of network operations control at Southwest.

    The team is able to address virtually all customer concerns themselves without bumping the passenger to another department.

    According to Southwest, they are well versed in company policies and procedures and have the tools to assist passengers with everything ranging from reservations and baggage to a customer’s frequent flier account.

    Every year, the nation’s busiest airline receives 2,500 to 3,000 inbound posts per day on Twitter and Facebook and all posts are reviewed to determine which ones require action. About a third of the posts Southwest receives are travel-related questions and another third are issues passengers are experiencing typically before and during travel.

    Some are more positive. Some are negative. Regardless, Twitter seems to be the fastest way to get a response from the Dallas-based airline.

    The team is operating around the clock to attend to every actionable question or comment. On average, from 2015 to 2016 Southwest saw an 11 percent increase in inbound posts, and from 2016 to 2017, a 14 percent increase.

    These posts allow Southwest to identify pain points for customers and ultimately make informed business decisions.


  • 17 Nov 2017 10:35 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

     By: Kathy Doering

    Social Media Investigations is yet another arm of social media listening and research. A good, solid social media investigation can take hours to complete online, even with today's best software. 

    I recently had the privilege of attending an annual convention for a southeastern Investigator's group. While most of the discussion was around latest and greatest ways to assist in investigations of all kinds, there was a notable highlight on online investigations and techniques. My company, eChatter was one of the sponsors of the two-day conference and I must say, I learned a lot!

    eChatter is a service offering by which we conduct social media investigations and deep web scans for people of interest for a variety of reasons. These days you can see why this is a booming business just by listening to your local news. As one detective said at the conference, "Narcissistic people are my favorite" and you can understand why. They have no problem announcing their ill intentions all over their social media profiles. It still amazes me what people will post publicly in social media sites that involve illegal activity. 

    Most people do not realize that there are three different levels of information on the web.

    ·       Surface Web: This is the basic information out there from search engines, including sponsored advertisements. Basically, it is a gathering of sites that Google (the most popular search engine) for example, has deemed important enough to place high in results,  depending on a keyword search.

    ·       Deep Web: The deep web is where all the good stuff is hidden and it takes time to weed out results but can be very important for any investigator or law enforcement agency. Everything public on the deep web is attainable, if you know how to get in there. All publicly obtained information from a variety of sites from sex offender sites to what the person likes on their Facebook page. It's all out there for anyone to see. 

    ·       Dark Web: Sounds kind of scary, right? Well it is – its where all the criminal minds hang out. You may have recently seen an advertisement from Experian offering a Dark Web Scan for free. After their data breach, this was a clever way to regain trust for their brand. Whether it worked or not is yet to be seen but I give them credit for proactively handling this PR nightmare.

    On a personal note, the more I learn the more I lock down my phone, computer and social media. Be aware of everything and change passwords frequently even though it is a hassle to do so. 

    Review the Apps that are on your phone- some you may be aware of and some you may not. Many times you can play fun games for free or take cute quizzes for free by allowing the app to gain access not only to you but your friends too.


  • 8 Nov 2017 5:06 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)


    Social Media Listening and Research led by Sunny Jung Kim, PHD at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College

    Jack Murtha

    NOVEMBER 07, 2017

    opioids,social media,sunny jung kim,dartmouthThe potential is clear. Oozing with photos, videos, and text, social media platforms offer untold data to researchers studying public health issues. Since some people assume a sense of anonymity exists on these websites, they’re especially useful for exploring topics that otherwise might be cloaked in secrecy.

    Take drug use, for example.

    A new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research examined 91 papers that used analytics to mine such data from social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, confirming their power in this area. Led by Sunny Jung Kim, PhD, a biomedical data science expert in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, the researchers developed a 4-part framework to guide future inquiries.

    The “large scale” of social media posting made by people who use or have used prescription drugs like opioids for nonmedical purposes will “provide insight into important novel discoveries of collective public health risk behavior,” Kim and her colleagues wrote.

    “More specifically, social media communication data aggregated by drug use-related search keywords,” they went on, “can indicate the level and stage of drug dependence, the actions of patients engaging in addiction recovery support groups, former users with or without relapse episodes, or current users with or without dependence.”

    What does that mean? Well, according to the review, researchers can use social media drug data to develop insights for the individual and society at large. What’s more, those takeaways may relate to almost any aspect of problematic drug use, from coordinating just-in-time interventions and preventative campaigns to taking a bird’s eye view of changes in associated black markets or widespread use habits.

    Kim’s team broke down their framework into 4 sections describing what sorts of information can come from these social media probes and why they’re important.

    1. User characteristics. Most studies reported on their subjects using general groups, like college students, adolescents, Twitter users, or more. They often found that the type of drug use varied by demographic. Gaining a greater understanding here, Kim and her team said, can inform interventions and other campaigns. So far, though, research has paid less attention to analyzing this in conjunction with the second spoke in the wheel of the framework.

    2. Communication characteristics. Every study in the review analyzed this component, which focused on how people discuss drug use, past or present. For example, one report detailed how some people spoke of prescription stimulants as a so-called “study aid,” examining how social network factors explained nonmedical use. This framework deals with how people portray their feelings about drugs and risky behaviors, according to the authors.

    3. Mechanisms and predictors. This area remains “largely underexplored,” the researchers noted. But social media data on attitudes and risk perceptions can shed light on the motivation for sharing potentially damaging information and even produce clinical insights. Reaching out to other people with substance use disorders, for instance, could signal a need for social support.

    4. Psychological and behavioral outcomes. Although studies have touted the significance of this aspect, it remains understudied. Future research into this might require population-level-based surveys and longitudinal follow-up interviews, the authors wrote. It could yield models and insights regarding the clinical implications of social media as behavioral intervention platforms, they noted.

    The study advocated future research mix methods, incorporating survey, recruitment, and more. It also pushed for a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together data scientists, social scientists, and clinicians. All the while, they must consider the precision and sensitivity of social media big data, the authors said.

    Going forward, investigators may use this framework to execute various computational linguistic, social network, and machine learning analyses.

    But, the researchers added, they must keep in mind the ethics of data mining, interviewing, and disseminating results gathered on a platform that’s public but in some cases incorrectly thought to be private or anonymous.

    Just 4 studies claimed to have gained Institutional Review Board approval, while 2 said the requirement was waived. “In most studies, potential ethical issues and practices were not discussed in detail,” the authors wrote. “This might be, in part, because the social media data in their studies was considered publicly open or because discussing ethical aspects was not directly within the scope of their study.”

    In the future, however, the researchers urged their peers to strike a balance between ethical principles and potential scientific discoveries. This, they noted, should begin prior to launching a study.


  • 30 Oct 2017 4:39 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

     A strategy is always the best way to start and social media listening is no different. Great post by Christine B. Whittemore:

    What is Social Media Listening?

    Social listening is more than looking at a few tweets or some Google alerts on a sporadic basis. Rather, it's a systematic approach to monitoring what's being said online on social networks by real people about your company, your brand, your people, and your industry and listening carefully from the perspective of your customers so as to make your business better informed about what matters to them.

    You need both monitoring and listening for an effective strategy. That's so you can truly draw insights from what you observe and hear. And, whereas monitoring can be done by those with less experience, listening requires deeper knowledge of your business and industry.

    As you develop your strategy, you'll want to make sure you include that higher level of business knowledge on your team, as well as someone nimble and curious who's willing and able to monitor social networks and explore the conversations that happen.

    Monitoring sees the trees; listening views the forest.

    Social media listening matters people are talking about you. You can't stop them. Ignoring them doesn't mean they won't talking about you. So, even if you don't like what people are saying, it's important to be listening so you can do something about what you hear.

    A listening strategy takes into account reviews and complaints. It provides you with context for the solutions you provide and may help you identify thought leaders. Furthermore, 

    • It helps you refine what you know about your buyer personas.
    • It enables you to gather insights.
    • You can validate content ideas for your web pages, blog articles and valuable offers.
    • You have the opportunity to take part in conversations and truly be social.

    This is the richness of social networks and beauty of online listening. Talking has always happened. So now, instead of having to physically locate the millions of real-life water cooler conversations taking place, you can monitor and listen virtually based on social conversations.

    How to Create a Social Media Listening Strategy?

    You'll need to have social accounts set up, including a Twitter account at a minimum. Then, follow these 8 steps.

    1. Determine your goal for listening online

    As with any business activity, it's important to identify your goal or purpose. Otherwise, how can you determine that the resources spent - which can involve a lot of time - deliver value? How can you evaluate progress and determine what to modify? How can you ensure that the right people are involved and that the right decisions are made?

    If your goal is thought-leadership, can you identify someone within the organization with a strong passion and deep knowledge relevant to the industry to participate in outreach?

    If it's customer service, do you understand what your current customer service resolution practices are? Have you identified members of the team who can respond quickly if and when they are needed? In the early days of social media, vocal social customers benefited from inconsistent practices because of the lack of coordination between online and offline conversations.

    If you're trying to engage with a specific audience, do you have team members with knowledge of the space to become active and lend advice?

    Determine your goal for listening online

    2. Find relevant conversations online

    There are two aspects to finding conversations online. One has to do with where people hang out digitally and the other with the terms that generate relevant conversations.

    Where do your constituents hang out online?

    • It's important to figure out where your constituents spend time online. Perhaps this is something you know because of the work you've done developing personas. If you aren't sure, ask your customer facing associates what comes up in their conversations. 
    • When it comes to 'constituents,' don't necessarily only think of customers. Consider all of the groups in the marketplace that are important to your business. This may include suppliers, specifiers as well as influencers and fans. Each group may have different social habits and hangouts.
    • This will vary depending on your business and industry. 

    If you aren't sure, go and explore and experiment by listening intensely, lurking more than actively participating in social network conversations. 

    What are the right conversation or search terms to explore with?

    Finding the right conversation terms can be difficult depending on how noisy your industry is.

    For example, real estate is noisy with many shout-outs about properties for sale, rather than insightful observations about markets.

    Marketing is noisy, too, mostly because there are so many passionate marketers sharing sharing too much valuable content.

    On the other hand, (non-profit) causes tend to be findable and consistent in their content topics, making connecting with online constituents more straightforward.

    To find meaning, you'll need to figure out how to exclude information that isn't helpful, and hone in on what's particularly meaningful to you.

    To start with, though, search your category and industry, look for #hashtags and Twitter chats, list important trade shows and professional organizations and list any #hashtags they use. Explore what terms competitors use and be on the lookout for influencers.

    Find relevant conversations online

    Search terms range from specific to broad

    As you establish your listening strategy baseline, pay attention to the range of terms used. As with search engines, the more specific the social search term (i.e., company or brand names), the more likely it is that those talking about you know you (i.e., customers). The broader the terms (i.e., problem statements, category observations), the less likely the conversation has to do with you and the more insightful it may be about your greater industry.

    If you think of the buyer journey or customer lifecycle stages, this makes sense.

    You'll want to create social search streams for both extremes and possibly even some in between, especially if you are in social conversations with new prospects as well as more qualified ones.

    Be aware that many terms in social networks have multiple meanings. For example, 'steam' has to do with the vapor form of water, as well as STEM which became STEAM with the addition of Art, steampunk, steam engines, steam ovens, steam showers and even online gaming.

    As you discover those other irrelevant meanings for your social listening, keep track of negative terms you can use (e.g., jobs) to refine the search.

    3. What to do when you find relevant online conversations?

    As you get going with your social media listening strategy, you'll have the opportunity to get further immersed by following the profiles of interesting social voices, perhaps even favoriting their updates and engaging with them by saying 'thank you' or asking a question. Ideally, you'll have fresh content and ideas to contribute in addition to interacting with followers and fans.

    In fact, that involvement is what takes a listening strategy to another level, transforming it into a valuable, living, interactive source of insights and perspectives.

    As you develop your strategy, determine what you're willing to do.

    4. Prepare for the unexpected online

    It's really important as part of developing your social listening strategy to do some scenario planning so you know what to do when the unexpected happens. This is the equivalent of PR101 so you are prepared to respond regardless of the situation.

    The first is to decide what level of engagement you are willing to do on an ongoing basis. I recommend that you consider doing more than just passively monitor; that allows you to smoothly take action if necessary.

    Although there have been plenty of headlines touting horror stories (e.g., 12 Shocking Social Media Horror Stories), you'll find far more success stories (e.g., 10 Top Social Media Marketing Success Stories) and feel good stories (10 Times Social Media Made the World Better in 2014) happening. That said, it's important to be ready for the worst in case it happens - for example, Internet trolls or others who aren't reasonable, especially when it's a full moon.

    Remember what your goals are. If there's a chance that customer service issues can come up on social networks, then include your customer service associates in your strategy development so the listening teams knows how to respond and take the conversation offline and direct it to the experts.  

    5. Can you involve others in your organization in your social media listening?

    When you think how every person in your organization is an ambassador for your brand and your business and regularly interacts with people via his or her own social networks offline and online, why not involve all of them socially and digitally on your company's behalf?

    It's more social for everyone, it makes your business more nimble and it offers you better insights.

    If you're concerned about how to ensure everyone represents your company, consider including in your code of conduct social media guidelines that you review regularly with employees. It sets the stage for discussions, how to refer to customers, permissions needed, etc.

    6. Establish a listening process

    Next, you want to establish a process for your listening.

    Decide on search terms to get started with, ideally single words or tight combinations of words.

    Conduct general searches to identify influencers to follow and relevant #hashtags.

    Create search streams to monitor those influencers and #hashtags, as well as Twitter lists - either public or private. Depending on the tool you use, you may even be able to easily monitor prospects and customers.

    Develop a schedule for regular monitoring, interaction, content sharing, and to acknowledge new followers.

    7. Identify tools for listening and monitoring social conversations online

    Identify tools for listening and monitoring social conversations online

    When you get started with your strategy, you'll want explore the individual social networks directly so you get a feel for how each differs from the other. This also provides you with perspective on the dynamics of the individual network, how people interact with one another, what the rhythm of the interactions is, whether there are special terms or ways of communicating, ... 

    Look at groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, check Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, the question-based social network, Quora, YouTube and any others that might be relevant to your business.

    In many ways, each network is akin to visiting a foreign country; before immersing yourself completely, you want to get a feel for the lay of the land.

    In addition, you'll want to use some general social search tools to research your terms and identify people, terms and hashtags of possible interest.

    • For example, Social Mention and Twazzup, and FollowerWonk to search through Twitter bios.
    • To search specifically for hashtags, explore Tagboard which is very visual and looks across several networks (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Google+...).
    • It's a good idea to check Board Reader in case some of your constituents are active in forums.

    Twitter Chats can be a gold mine of valuable insights, and invaluable opportunities to connect with influencers and others who care passionately about the topics being discussed. Be sure to check through the Twitter Chat Schedule in case a chat relevant to your business exists.

    Tools to Make Social Listening More Efficient

    Be sure to calibrate your results from one search tool to another. This will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

    As you get more sophisticated and knowledgeable, you will want to evaluate paid tools that make listening and monitoring more efficient. My favorite is HubSpot's Social Monitoring Tool. I also use Hootsuite.

    If you are looking for a social CRM, try Nimble.

    A calendar makes social listening more efficient

    Bonus Tip: Check Social Referrals in Google Analytics 

    As you do your research, don't forget to regularly check your website analytics social referrals. It's both confirmation and validation that what you are doing with your social networks is generating results and traffic to your website.

    • Check that you recognize the networks generating traffic
    • Review how qualified the traffic is (i.e., bounce rate, time on site, pageviews...)
    • Integrate that information into your social listening strategy 

    Bonus Tip: Benchmark Your Business in Google Search

    Be sure to review what listings come up in a Google search on your business name. If you notice directly listings, check them out; claim them if you haven't already, add relevant information about your business. 

    If review sites appear (e.g., Yelp, Google+ Local/Google My Business) with reviews, look them over. Acknowledge them publicly or privately depending on the network, get to the bottom of bad reviews, and start to encourage customers to leave reviews.

    8. Develop a routine for your social media listening strategy

    Ideally, you will want to develop a daily routine and schedule to regularly monitor, observe, listen, participate. Planning for this means that you show up regularly and consistently as you would in real life for networking and interaction. 

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