Most companies join social networking sites and then start publishing blogs, updates and other contents, without receiving any traction. This gets bit frustrating for the companies because they spend a lot of time in creating their content.
This happens when companies don’t spend a lot of time listening to online conversations and understanding the trends. Listening to trends and public conversations gives a lot of insights into consumer’s behavior. These insights can be used for planning marketing strategies or implemented in improving product offerings or services.
Listening doesn’t mean that you randomly go through blog posts and comments. Listening needs to be taken strategically and implemented with thorough process. There are many applications that can help your organization tap in to the trends in the social media.
Some of the sources that need to be monitored are:
1. Social networking platforms (twitter, google+, facebook, youtube)
In order to listen to these networks, you need to be member of the networks and build your community along with it. In twitter, you need to have followers; in google+ you need to have friends and followers; in facebook you need to have friends or fans, in youtube you have both subscribers and friends). Each of these networks has their own dynamics. Regular engagement is necessary in these platforms to gain reputation.
2. Important blogging portals (eg. Mashable, Techcrunch – the list changes according to your industry)
Blogging sites are very important because they represent the vibrant community who are up-to-date with the latest trends. The conversation in blogs can be very insightful, also it represents independent views on the industry.
3. Popular Facebook Pages where people discuss current issues and trends in the industry.
There are many facebook fan pages that have community of great conversationalist. There discussions and arguments can be as important as any others.
4. Comments on blog posts are important source of sentiments
Comments are the crucial elements of blogs because they represent wide variety of arguments. Also it is a great place to find relevant contacts and network.
5. Forums and Groups where specific members are discussing an issue or participating in conversation.
Forums and Groups are more comprehensive form of discussion which happen either in closed groups or open platforms. In order to participate in forums, each forums can have their own rules and regulations.
Using Content Aggregator
There are lots of free tools like google readers, feed readers, feedly etc that allows you to subscribe to most important and relevant blogs. The system will automatically pull all the new posts and contents. This will save a lot of your time and help you get organized.
Beside using content aggregators and participating in social networking sites, it is very important to use targeted content and conversation tracking system, depending upon the need of your business.
In most types of industry, consumers are continuously looking for information and it is essential to tap into them using intelligent software. Simplify360 is also one such system that allows business to track conversation based on keywords. Similarly there are many other tools that can be used based upon the requirement.
Measuring your conversation activities
Just like other activities, listening requires resources, time and man power. Hence it is essential not to take the activity lightly and instead create good method of get your returns. Most important aspect of listening is to gain insights and look for opportunity to interact.
Thus based on this, you can always see how many contacts you have had opportunity to make through the help of your listening process and how many important insights were gained. Though the measures looks highly qualitative, regular thought into the metric could help you position your listening activities.
For example, may be in a month you were not able to gain any insights or leads from your tracking system. In that case, it would mean that you have been listening at wrong platforms or wrong context. This continuous check and balance will allow you to refine your listening activities and improve the efficiency.
Hence, listening doesn’t mean just reading blogs and commenting on them, instead it is a process that needs to be implemented in your business strategy to get full benefit from the method.