Author: Jack Humphrey
Do you know who is talking about you? Do you know what they’re saying?
Social media hasn’t just grown – it’s exploded! Millions of conversations are taking place online each day. Companies are being made or broken hourly… and all in 140 characters.
Are you trying to find value hidden in the millions of Twitter and Facebook conversations taking place every day?
According to Nielsen Online, Social Networks & Blogs have surpassed even email in global popularity, and are growing at a rate of more than three times as fast as overall Internet growth. It\’s now more critical than ever to develop your strategy to engage, monitor and analyze social media. If you have listened in here at BlogSuccess for any length of time, you will know how vital social media is in laying the foundation for your success.
Learn the most effective ways to both monitor and analyze the social media conversation to:
• Get a clear understanding of your online corporate reputation
• Interact directly with your customers
• Uncover potential sales opportunities for your company
• See how 140 characters can positively impact your brand!
Get ready to monitor and analyze your organization\’s online reputation in the social media landscape.
**We speak in terms of Company, but this used universally, as it can speak for the individual blogger.
From Twitter to Facebook
While the microblogging and social media network may have started as a way to stay connected with friends, Internet marketers found these sites as perfect opportunities to become more personal with potential customers and affiliates. These sites ability to connect you with the public is proving invaluable for everyone.
The social media buzz continues to grow as people see the legitimate business impact of social sites. Do you want to know what people think of your brand? Want to join in the conversations?Learn from industry leaders and provide valuable information to your customers? Businesses and individuals can no longer afford to ignore Twitter and Facebook. In today\’s world, whether or not you join in the social media conversations, they will still take place.
As a business owner or solopreneur, you need to be prepared to monitor and analyze your online reputation in the social media landscape. While social media has opened organizations and certain individuals up to public criticism it has, more importantly, also created a direct line between your customer and prospect base.
This article offers tips and techniques to both monitor and analyze the social media conversation to get a clear understanding of your online corporate or individual reputation, interact directly with your customers and uncover potential sales opportunities for your company.
Understanding your Online Reputation
With media moving online, you need to not only monitor what traditional journalists have to say but also what online journalists, bloggers and customers are saying. More and more people, as well as companies, are beginning to understand the impact of their online identity, they are also beginning to see its power. Suddenly, monitoring news can not only be used to gain perspective but also to help form that image and uncover potential business opportunities.
In a recent study by the Institute of Public Relation\’s, the new medium (social media) is greatly impacting the PR profession.
• 88of respondents believe blogs and social media have made communications more instantaneous because they encourage organizations to respond more quickly to criticism.
• 73of respondents believed the emergence of blogs and social media had changed the way their organizations (or their client organizations) communicate.
• More than 90of respondents encourage the use of research to measure how blogs and social media are impacting their organizations, but only about one-third (39 say their companies actually are conducting this measurement.
As individuals and companies put solid social media monitoring strategies in place, they will find the information necessary to help define their online brand identity and to develop a strategy to ensure these new platforms are helping them strengthen their image and communicate with their customers.
Ignoring Social Media Won\’t Make it Go Away
The most important thing to understand about Twitter, Ning, LinkedIn, Facebook and the myriad of other social media networks is that the conversations are taking place with or without your participation. As a professional blogger or online business owner (however you characterize yourself), you can\’t miss the opportunity to keep your voice in the discussion.
With perceptions flooding the Internet, it is now possible to get insight into all aspects of an individual or company (you or your company) through monitoring both online and offline media. Reputation management has grown in importance. One single post or comment can either boost or collapse the perception of an individual or company. The Internet has also made it possible to not only track your own reputation but also that of your competition.
The rise in consumer-generated media in blogs and other social media forums has added insight into customer service problems and other corporate perception issues. With frustrated consumers turning to Twitter and Facebook to share their bad customer experience, companies are watching their online reputation change rapidly. This is where you come in…if you are monitoring conversations among social sites, you will find any issues that arise in your name or your company\’s name much quicker. Tip: Use Google Alerts for your main keywords and keyword phrases so you know when you or your business are being mentioned for good or bad.
Through monitoring, savvy companies have been able to use the information on these sites and turn around perceptions just as quickly. An Example would be Comcast:
‘Comcast, for example, has found a way to not only to get in front of the customer complaints to change their opinions, but also help out the customers in the process. With dedicated Twitters that monitor and respond to customer issues, the organization has been able to stay one step ahead of the Twitterverse and balance any negative tweets with positive outcomes. By responding, they have established a presence in social media that allows them to control the company\’s perceived value to its customers.’ The previous Quote from Vocus
With so many social media networks, blogs and communities swirling around the Internet, as individuals its becomes a challenge to identify a jumping off point and to find the time. Many people are overwhelmed trying to track social media, not knowing where to begin or how to get started.
It is important to establish an understanding of the landscape itself to see what information will be most influential to the company\’s future direction.
• Competitive Analysis– Monitoring both your company and the competition will help create a fair evaluation of where the organization falls within your particular niche. As important as what the public says about you or your company is what they reveal about your competition. Monitoring the information shared by both your competitors and their customers can help you gain a better understanding of their product or services advantages and disadvantages. That knowledge can not only help strengthen your own business strategy but also provide insight into your customers\’ needs.
• Niche/Industry Experts– Monitoring your niche as a whole can accomplish two goals: to see how the niche is shifting and what trends are emerging. With niche or industry leaders establishing an online presence, you now have the opportunity to communicate with the experts and gain a better understanding of emerging trends in your niche. You are also able to see the upcoming turns and changes as they happen.
• Message and Reach– Social media and online publications, allow key messages to reach even further than traditional media and to permeate throughout the niche/industry. Monitoring messages about yourself or your company will allow you to evaluate your online perception.
• Foster Relationships with Current and Potential Customers– By monitoring social media, you can leverage your direct connection to the public and your potential customers. While monitoring and addressing the concerns of current customers is extremely important, so is uncovering opportunities to attract new customers. By tracking niche, competitor and other key terms, you can identify people looking for information on your products or services as well as general information on your niche and competition. You also build a better and more long term word of mouth campaign.
How do you Begin?
1) Establish Guidelines– Controlling the messages, responses and interaction of your brand is a big job. Social media has turned everyone associated with your brand into a potential company representative. Whether you are a large or small company, the nature of social media requires specific guidelines for conduct. Through careful monitoring, you are able to track the internal and external messages flowing through the Internet and ensure the guidelines are being followed.
2) Identify What to Monitor– With so many social media sites emerging and conversations taking place, it is important to identify what to monitor. With 1000\’s of new outlets appearing online, it is increasingly overwhelming to monitor and evaluate them all. But, managing and defining the process offers some relief. Get started with a small subset of blogs and social media sites that are important to you or your niche and use them to move forward and grow your online universe. As new online outlets are discovered in your niche, determine the impact on you or your business and prioritize your strategy. With today\’s tools it has become easier to monitor many social media sites at one time. For example, using the software within BlogSuccess, such as BlogTalkMonitor, and TrackBoost.
3) Gauge Impact– Not all online conversations will impact you or your company. While a discussion on the latest product or service review is worth following, others may focus on areas which will not impact perception. In addition to the value of the actual conversation, noting the impacted audience will also help drive your strategy. Most social media sites offer you a gauge of the affected audience. For example, with Twitter you are able to see how many followers will see a tweet and Facebook allows you to see how many members are within the group to view the discussion. While knowing the conversations are taking place and using the valuable insight gained through monitoring them within the company is important, being able to set up a strategy based on impact will help you define the priority.
4) Integrated Media Monitoring– Neither traditional nor social media monitoring alone will give you a solid perspective of your company. You need to integrate both mediums within your monitoring to get a complete picture of your company\’s presence. Both mediums offer different avenues for promotion and influencing perception. By using the two to complement each other, you are able to make your message go even further. With traditional media as a base, you are able to advance your strategy and further develop your message within the online world.
As a 24/7 source of information, understanding the information within social media and knowing what is important to you is increasingly important. Sifting through postings can sometimes lead to more questions than answers without clearly defined values and an understanding of what is most important for you.
Evaluating Impact and Value
As with anything, value is determined by your goals. While it is important to generate online buzz, the quality of the postings and impact on you or your blog is still the ultimate judge. Comments and discussions should be evaluated for both tone and prominence. As a company or individual you need to not only track where and how often your brand is discussed but assign a value based on the importance of the outlet (site) to the your company or blog and determine if the conversations are positive, negative or neutral to get an accurate read. Whether using technology to identify and evaluate articles based on set criteria or having individuals sift through the articles to determine their value, it is important to take the tone and prominence into consideration when deciding on its ultimate impact.
Many individuals or solopreneurs and companies are still trying to determine the business value of social media and an understanding about how 140 characters can influence their brand. With social media continuing to draw in your current and potential customers, the opportunity to legitimately add value to your organization is very real. Monitoring social media coverage helps you to connect with the online community that can influence your company\’s reputation. You, the professional are able to use the information you find to uncover opportunities, increase customer loyalty and establish your brand online.
About the Author
Jack Humphrey is the CEO of BlogSuccess.com, he is a pure blogger, has been teaching people how to make money with blogging since 2005 and has helped thousands of individuals and hundreds of small businesses succeed on the Internet. Join his free blogging community over at Blogsuccess.com TODAY!
- Defining a “Social Media Analytics Life Cycle” Framework (sociolytics.wordpress.com)