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Gini Dietrich

Eight Tools for Social Media Listening

By: Gini Dietrich | October 4, 2011 | 
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There are five steps in social media we always recommend to new clients who are just beginning to branch out online.

They are listen, assess, engage, measure, and refine/improve.

The Art and Science of Listening

While each step is important, the foundation to any online effort is listening. And it’s the one step you can do without any of the others.

Before you begin, think about the historically great communicators. They ask a lot of questions. They really listen to what you have to say. They get you talking about yourself. They inquire deeply into the answers you provide. And then they provide advice, counsel, and coaching — but only after they fully understand your needs.

These master communicators are better at listening than they are at talking.

Social media is no different. It’s another way to communicate through listening and engaging in conversation — online. To be a master at social media communication you must have a strong foundation of listening.

First things first. If you don’t have Google alerts set up, do that now.

If you don’t know how to do that, this blog post will teach you how to set them up and which terms to use.

Now let’s discuss eight free tools to enhance what Google is sending you.

  1. Reputation Management. Twendz is a reputation management tool that looks at how people feel about a brand or a topic. It measures Twitter, specifically, on positive, neutral, or negative tweets. Use this tool to measure people’s sentiments in order to set your benchmark goals.Pay attention to how people are talking about the company, your leadership, key employees, your products or services, your customers, and even your competition.
  2. Blog Tracking. The media landscape has changed and print journalists are no longer the only ones with influence. some bloggers have immense influence and you cannot afford to ignore them. Learn which bloggers care about you, your products or services, and your customers.Use tools such as Technorati or Google Blog Search to determine which bloggers already are aware of you and develop a plan to target them.
  3. Social Bookmarking. Collect case studies of social media success in your industry, in your category, and from companies and people you admire.Use Delicious or Diigo to bookmark the case studies in one location so you can refer back to them while you develop your goals and plan your next steps.
  4. Twitter Search. There is nothing better for real-time search than Twitter. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still use their search application to find conversations.While we believe everyone should have a Twitter account in order to fully understand and take advantage of their wide range of services, you can subscribe to the RSS feed without an account.
  5. Website Optimization. Right now, go to Web site grader and bookmark the page. Now type in your URL. What’s your grade? Is it 100 percent? No? It tells you exactly what you need to do to fix the site so the search engines are crawling it and you are competing on the web.
  6. Blog Optimization. Do the same thing for your blog, if you have one, but visit Blog Grader instead.
  7. Competitive Analysis. Now go to Compete. Enter your URL and the URLs of two of your competitors. This site then creates a graph, comparing you to your competition.While it’s not flawless (it only tracks U.S. traffic, for instance), it gives you a good baseline of understanding where your competition is beating you (or vice versa).
  8. Web Analytics. Do you look at your web analytics at least weekly? If not, this is a must. It will help you track where people are visiting from and which accounts are home, corporate websites, or blogs.If you find visitors coming from blogs, add those sites to your RSS feeds, comment on the blog posts, and develop relationships with the bloggers.

Having an insider understanding of your visitor demographics will allow you to easily identify your demographic.

As you listen, monitor, and get smart about your web properties, as compared to competitors, you’ll begin to understand how to create your goals.

Next week I’ll give you the tools for assessing where your customers and prospects are already participating online.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

102 comments
TektiteGroup
TektiteGroup

@ginidietrich Wondering if you are interested in learning about a new listening & monitoring tool. Let me know.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I know I am late. I was watching Alice n Wonderland and totally lost track of time. So please some tea yes preferably green tea w/ roasted brown rice and maybe a scone. Do you have raspberry? What you are out? You had them here yesterday and since I only got to @MSchechter 's great post I am now paying the price. Do you do this to @deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis ? Something tells me you would save him the last raspberry scone. I guess one can aspire to such treatment here.

Now to the serious comment. You just gave away for free what I charge $49 for a webinar. Thank you so much.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Did you really just say to use Website Grader and Blog Grader? Bad Gini!!! ;)

They're okay but like many tools like them, inherently flawed because they don't know what your goals are for your site/blog, so they're only giving a very generic option. And, as we know, generic doesn't win you any competitive battles.

Brankica
Brankica

Great list, I just started using Diigo since I never figured Delicious completely and seems Diigo will work better for me with all the sticky notes etc.

manamica
manamica

Rowfeeder does a great job at monitoring keywords on Twitter and it connect with Google docs and feeds all mentions into a good doc (for archiving or in-depth analysis). Beevolve.com is also a great monitoring tool that does sentiment monitoring across the web and is fairly low cost.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

This is from Al Smith...and I was REALLY tempted to put words in his mouth. But I did not. This is really what he said.

Thanks Gini. This was very helpful. Will be reading this one again. Already took some action. So much to learn. I love anything with listening in the topic. It is a lost art. It still amazes me, how many people do not know how to listen, or choose not to.

"Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention" Learn to Listen. Listen to Learn. Ok, off my soapbox.

Thanks again for the many valuable tools presented here. I'm listening. ha !

Al

ArthurAnswers
ArthurAnswers

A great mentor of mine once told me that every great speaker was once a great listener! Very great read, thanks Gini! Nothing I love better than the secret tools that help you get the job done! Takes a bit more metaphorical elbow grease (more like carpel tunnels in our case) to get them set up, but worth it if you have the time and motivation!

vmaione
vmaione

Thanks, Gini. I am listening, well, reading and checking out Twendz. (And to prove I was reading: #4 "funny" I think should be "fully.") But, it is funny!

Levi Wardell
Levi Wardell

These are some great recommendations. I have a few ideas I'd like to recommend.

1) Triangulate your data. With an understanding that "free" typically means limited, do not rely too heavily on a singular source. Try to use a minimum of three tools that will give a slightly different perspective on the same metric (or very similar metrics that tell the same story).

2) Read between the lines...of data. Know that many of these services are giving you free tools to persuade you back to their paid products. Hubspot has a killer set of free tools that I have no issue with most of the time. I have seen, however, inconsistent reporting for the sake of driving me back to their paid side.

3) Analysis paralysis is a bitch. Each one of us has a little A.D.D. child in our head and when it comes to looking at the amazing amount of data that can be culminated surrounding a brand online, it can become difficult to focus on the meaningful information. Before you ever crack open Twendz, blog/website grader or even Google Analytics for that matter, jot down what exactly you are looking for. That way, when an hour has passed and you're not sure what you really came in to look for, you can refer back and go OH YEAH!.

4) Excel is your friend. Keep track of the specific metrics you're looking at in a separate document. This way you will have multiple data points of a longer period of time. Not only will this help you get a larger picture of what is going on, you'll be able to see what tools really help you find what you're looking for and what tools may not be as dependable as you once thought.

K, back to my Philly cheese steak. :)

Great job G!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@tektitegroup Yes! I'm always interested in what's coming.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Danny Brown And, as I said to @deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis below, they're free tools that allow you to get a snapshot of what's going on so you have a benchmark from which to measure. You and I both know the free tools are just that ... and it's in how we use those tools that make them effective.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Brankica I like Delicious better, but only because I've been using it for five years. I think they both have their strengths.

beevolve
beevolve

thanks, manamica for recommending Beevolve.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@SocialMediaDDS Wait til you see part two to this blog post! You'll be sending me wine and chocolate. And...if you think this is good, think about what's inside Spin Sucks Pro. You know, if we ever get to launch it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@trontastic Wow, Levi. I think this is a great follow-up to this post! Want to expand it, with some good links, and we can run it next week? Right @lisagerber ??

TektiteGroup
TektiteGroup

@ginidietrich Cool - I have a friend that is demoing a new listening tool to folks. Are U free on 4/10 at 9am for a demo of it?

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@ginidietrich@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis Right. But since there's no real science or strategy behind these particular tools, they could be more difficult for new users to get the best out of them. Heck, I'd like to think I know what I'm doing with online brand awareness, and the "advice" these two tools give is mundane at best.

I dunno - I just feel there are better options than HubSpot's Grader. :)

Levi Wardell
Levi Wardell

Thanks. I use this rule in Google Analytics all the time too. With GA, I look at the same metric from a high, mid and deep level report. GA loves to shift data depending on how deep the report is that you're looking at. @Lisa Gerber

TektiteGroup
TektiteGroup

@ginidietrich Bummer. I would love for you to see it in action. Maybe we should take off line & find a time that works for you.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@TektiteGroup Um no. I'll be on a plane.

janbeery
janbeery

@ginidietrich Poor thing! I now keep things on hand. Rich almost took me to the ER. I wouldn't go. Had already started pumping good stuff!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@janbeery I tried to go the natural route, but I was too sick. I negotiated with the doctor and still lost.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@janbeery I had to have my stomach pumped so it took a little more than a week. It's terrible. It makes me hurt for you

janbeery
janbeery

@ginidietrich food poisoning. No more sushi for me! Over a week to recover. I'm on a ton of stuff to rebuild my immune!

Trackbacks

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