3 Ways to Make Social Media Work for You
Web 2.0 has changed the way many marketers engage with their customers. How about you? Do you know where your customers are hanging out in social media? Do you know what they’re saying about you? Do you know who your influencers are?
We’ve been “listening” in the social media sphere for some time now, and if you haven’t started, here are three easy ways to get involved:
1. Create accounts on the top social media sites. Start with the big five: Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. Make your accounts personal and professional. Be up-front about who you are, what you do and why you're there. Then start searching each site for your company. Look for employees, customers, vendors — i.e., anyone who could be talking about your brand.
You might search LinkedIn for “Acme Dynamite,” for example, and discover some customers have formed a support group online. You could eavesdrop and gain insight into how customers are using your product(s), or engage them in the conversation to provide support. The goal is to play a meaningful part in existing conversations.
Think about it like this: If groups of people are speaking about your company and products online, can you really afford not to be involved? Listening can help you find out what's working and what's not with your products and/or services. It also can alert you to potential red flags so you can take a proactive approach in addressing these issues.
2. Use automated services like Twilert and Google Alerts. Twilert and Google Alerts let you pick specific search phrases and then automatically email “mentions” to you on a schedule you choose. For search words, the possibilities are endless: company name, key products, services and more. You could, for instance, create a Google Alert for “Acme Dynamite Blaster 3000,” and Google will email you any time someone publishes a web page or blog with that phrase.
Who knows, you just may find a blogger or two that loves your brand. These brand evangelists have the power to drive the masses in your direction. They can help increase traffic — and even sales — and they're some of the best people to engage with online. This is the new word-of-mouth advertising, and it can be powerful once ignited.
3. Look for “unbranded opportunities” others might miss. Don’t stop at your own brand and products; think about keywords in more general terms, too. For example, a customer may not be mentioning “ACME Dynamite Blaster 3000,” but might instead be saying “dynamite blasters” or “demolition equipment.”
Listening for these types of keywords can uncover hidden opportunities for engagement or support. They even can introduce your brand and products. This is an opportunity to move generalized conversations in the direction of your products and services.
These three simple steps will help you listen to your customers online and hopefully help identify opportunities for you to take part in the conversation.