Last week’s Social Media Club featured a discussion about using tools to monitor conversations about yourself, your company or your brand on the social web. Listening is the first step of any social media campaign. It is also known as conversation tracking or reputation management.
Every day your customers prospects are using online forums, social networks, blogs, chat rooms and leaving comments across various platforms. While using these services people are having thousands of conversations online daily. By listening to these conversations and engaging, you can build valuable relationships which lead to new business and sales. We heard several examples of listening to competitors online to gain inside information about website updates, potential product releases and out of town sales calls.
Thanks to Nathan Gilliatt who jumped in and led the discussion on the benefits of using paid monitoring tools, rather than the free tools. It is mainly an issue of scale, and the amount of web chatter surrounding your company or brand. He suggested using a free tool like Blogpulse or getting a free trial on paid tool like Techrigy to determine the level of monitoring required. Rather than post a long list of links as promised, here’s a link to Nathan’s post about monitoring tools and here’s a post from Social Media Today with an even longer list of tools.
Whether you’re a startup or Fortune 500 company, as you begin to explore or implement a social media strategy for your company, you should include an engagement policy. By having an engagement policy in place, you’ll establish how you will communicate with customers and prospects online. We shared good and bad examples of customer service using social media. Companies’ use ranges from active customer service like Dell to active listeners like @OmniHotels (ask @JeffTippett about his new robe), all the way to non-responsive companies like now Cisco-owned Pure Digital, makers of Kipp’s faulty Flip Camera.
We talked about finding thought leaders in your industry using LinkedIn, blogs, and human connections. Twitter is a noisy channel to follow the thoughts of thought leaders, but may be an easy way to find them.
It is also important to have an overall social media policy, and many cited IBM as a good example that many people use as a starting point for their own policies. It should be noted that this is a living, online document that is updated as changes happen in the social web space, and not a printed document sitting in a binder on someone’s shelf.
Thanks again to everyone who came out and participated in our discussion. Triangle Social Media Club meetings are all about sharing your thoughts and ideas about Social Media with others, whether you are a veteran or just starting out.