It all started with an earworm. I had the ever a classic “Ice Ice Baby” stuck in my head. I typed “STOP – Collaborate & Listen… “ into Twitter to post just for some flashback fun, when I had a thought. Really, isn’t that a great way to sum up a big part of community management?
Listening is a big part of community and social media management. Knowing what is being said about you is as important as knowing what is said to you. There is a reason people talk about brands in social media – they want to be heard.
Some may have a question and post it to your Facebook page. You get a little notification alert on your left column page list and your Admin panel tells you who did or said what and when they did it. Some people will comment on your blog. You might get an email to let you know about it, or get a notification ping in your admin bar. Some will directly mention you on Twitter with your @name and it will appear in your “Connect” tab and if you enable it, you’ll even get an email.
Listening to those is easy, they are talking TO you. These people will expect a response. Respond and engage accordingly and things are good.
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Let’s take it a step further and go over the other kind. When people are talking ABOUT you. No matter if your business has an active social media presence or not, people will be talking about you. You need to keep tabs on what is being said. Not only is it a safety net to catch the negative, it is also a way to find out what people want from you. They might be asking one another questions that you could help to answer or solve a problem that someone is complaining about. It is a way to get in touch and give personal attention to your customers – past, present and future.
Ways to monitor the social space:
Google Alerts – A quick way to get what’s being said about you delivered right to your inbox. Add your business related keywords (business name, name of executives, name of products) and the scoop will be delivered once a day to you.
Hashtags – Keep a search for hashtags of your business/product’s name. The hashtags act as a search function and you can see who has recently been “tagging” your business in Tweets. People often do this when they want to be found by a business but don’t necessarily want to message them directly.
Hootsuite Streams – In tools like Hootsuite, you can set up a stream of keywords (3 per stream) that pulls Tweets that mention these words but do not hashtag or @mention. Include any common misspellings of your brand here as well. Note: these streams can get quite active depending on how common or unique your brand name is)
Search Sites – Sites like Icerocket and Social Mention will search out your entered keywords across the internet and compile the results for you.
I don’t believe any ONE of these is the answer, but a combination of all of the above tools will help you keep your ear to the ground on your brand’s reputation across social media and blogs.
To me “collaborate” is the engagement portion of social media interactions. How do you best use all that information you just acquired in your social searches? See the words I just used there? ”Social” and “Interaction” both are things you must remember. Answer the questions people are asking, respond to comments. Even a quick “I’m finding that out” for you will let that person know you are working on a resolution. Did a person Tweet something about an awesome experience or recent purchase?
Thank them. One of the best sentences in the English language is “Thank you”.
It does not take a huge effort to make someone’s day and little bit of goodwill goes a long way.
And now, because you have all been waiting so patiently (and if you don’t have it stuck in your head already – you should) From the man himself Ice Ice Baby.
STOP – Collaborate & Listen… It’s actually pretty good advice.
— Carrie Keenan (@CarrieJKeenan) January 14, 2013
Photo via Mandy Edwards