With so much data now freely available, why are more businesses not actively monitoring it? The data is there, the conversations are happening; it’s just a matter of listening. We’ve written recently about some of the more obvious benefits of tapping into the conversations your customers, future customers, and even competitors are having online. You can get to know your customers better, keep tabs on important influencers, and gain a competitive advantage.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, you need to open your mind to some of the new possibilities presented by modern social media marketing. It’s time to learn some advanced tactics.
Conversations = Blog Fuel
One of the major benefits of tracking conversations around your industry is you can get a better understanding of what questions your audience is asking. What are people concerned about? What are the common issues raised? Each of these can be noted and expanded upon in blog posts on your website. Seeing things from your audience’s perspective is basically blog fuel. If you’re ever unsure of what to write about, a collection of suggestions and prompts will be flowing through your keyword monitoring streams, ready to be fished out anytime you need.
One feature worth investigating is to ability to search for mentions within particular geographic regions. Sure, you can put in [city name], [keyword] as a search string (for Facebook, this is the only way to narrow down geographic mentions, though that may soon change) but for your Twitter searches, you can also utilise ‘geocoding’ to search all tweets within whatever range you need. Hootsuite has this built-in with a simple target icon, so you can set up the stream, click on the target and there it is, all tweets mentioning your chosen keywords within the immediate vicinity (default range is within 25km of your location). This is a great way to filter your results and target key prospects.
A simple example—a hamburger shop might set up a search string for all mentions of ‘hamburgers’ within 10km. A person tweets ‘where’s the best place to get a burger in Sunnyside?’ The store could respond with ‘Come visit us, here’s a link to our menu, 10% off if you order via Twitter.’ While direct selling like this is not always advisable, this type of interaction would benefit the customer and the business and may help differentiate you from the crowd.
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A little information goes a long way
Basic keyword tracking is great for finding conversations where potential customers are looking for your product or service—these people are essentially one step away from conversion. But what about those that are two steps away? What if you could, based on your understanding of your niche, locate conversations where people were engaging in activity which was likely to lead them to becoming future customers?
Let’s say you’re a local electronics retailer. You know, based on experience, that people who buy a Thermomix are time-poor but earn a better than average income. What if you targeted graduates moving into highly paid jobs, people working in, say, medicine, who are likely to be concerned about their health, well paid, but extremely busy. Don’t be creepy, but you can track those potential customers who are two-steps away, “Favourite” one of their tweets, and interact with them in some subtle way. Those brand awareness efforts could pay off when the time comes time for them to make a purchase.
Build brand authority with savvy monitoring
As you invest more time in monitoring and learn what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be able to better establish your brand authority by making yourself part of the conversation before your services are needed. The more people are aware of your brand, the more you’re able to build trust and create lasting relationships with your target audience.
The possibilities are only limited by your own creative thinking around how best to track the data. It takes time to master, but you know why people come to your company, you know the common factors that lead them to your door—you’ve been mentally tracking this data through your daily business interactions for years. Now you just need to work out how to best use it.
It takes a little time and a little insight, but the value of social media monitoring will increase the more targeted you get. If you build each element, understand what people need from your business, you’ll not only set-up an excellent data gathering process, but you’ll also put yourself in the right frame of mind to be of best benefit to your target audience through improved comprehension of how they use your products and services. It all starts with listening, taking it in, and seeing where you can be of most benefit.