Gini Dietrich

Eight Tools for Social Media Listening

By: Gini Dietrich | October 4, 2011 | 
167

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, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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167 Comments on "Eight Tools for Social Media Listening"

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DoorHardwareLux
DoorHardwareLux
4 years 7 months ago

Very Helpful advice! RT @TALV58 @ginidietrich Eight Tools for Social Media Listening | Spin Sucks http://t.co/IIPXVhLX

DoorHardwareLux
DoorHardwareLux
4 years 7 months ago

Very Helpful advice! RT @TALV58 @ginidietrich Eight Tools for Social Media Listening | Spin Sucks http://t.co/IIPXVhLX

Nic_Cartwright
4 years 7 months ago

argghhhhhh……. the good news is my online education (in which this site plays a good chunky part) continues. The bad news is I think I now need to employ an assistant though to keep up….

AmyMccTobin
4 years 7 months ago

Of course I cut and pasted the entire thing into Word so I can re-read it, print it, re-read it and use the tools.

That’s RIGHT. I said WORD. I’m old school like that.

John Falchetto
4 years 7 months ago

I would add Get Clicky. Simply awesome tool to find out in real time who visits your blog, where they come from, keywords, which pages they land/exit, a bit like Google Analytics but again in real time and more user friendly.

The premium version allows to name and tag the visitors. Useful to find out when your community visits and what is the best time to post for example.

No I’m not an affiliate for the tool 😉

Ameena Falchetto
4 years 7 months ago

I’m loving these links … am spending quite a bit of time on the websitegrader.com …

LAXgirl
LAXgirl
4 years 7 months ago

Good reminders! RT @ginidietrich Are you forgetting about listening and monitoring? Here are eight free tools to help http://t.co/VR4fy9W7

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Nic_Cartwright HAHAHAH! There could seriously be an entirely new industry created for assistants who help us figure out all the new tools.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@AmyMccTobin LOL!! That’s hilarious! I do that too for stuff I want to hang on my wall. Your secret is safe with me!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@AmyMccTobin LOL!! That’s hilarious! I do that too for stuff I want to hang on my wall. Your secret is safe with me!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@John Falchetto Totally agree with Clicky! I did a blog post on it a couple of weeks ago and it FINALLY convinced soulati to use the tool. Super, super useful!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@John Falchetto Totally agree with Clicky! I did a blog post on it a couple of weeks ago and it FINALLY convinced soulati to use the tool. Super, super useful!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Ameena Falchetto I love anything Hubspot does…and it’s fun to see where you compare to your competition, too.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago
@ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto Allow me to play contrarian for a minute. I too, enjoy what Hubspot brings to the table. The graders are a fine tool, but they are severely limited in scope. Any review of a site done in an automated way is bound to be of limited value, so please be careful how you use these tools. If you are “just getting started” the recommendations of these sorts of tools (and Hubspots graders are only one of many available). Far better in my mind to have a detailed conversation with a knowledgeable consultant about your goals and objectives and… Read more »
Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago

I can’t believe you passed up an opportunity to recommend Google Alerts.

You feeling OK this morning Gertrude? A bit under the weather, perhaps? 😉

Soulati | PR
4 years 7 months ago

OK, so it’s been installed one day and I already see STUFF. Fighting, and kicking all the way to the bank; yes, indeed. What I want to know, though, is this: I read this post all the way and did not comment — is Clicky gonna tell you I hit the site or do I have to make myself known? (I don’t want some inane comment; rather be smart…you know I like to try for that.) @ginidietrich @John Falchetto soulati

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Sean McGinnis Clearly you didn’t read the entire blog post.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Sean McGinnis@Ameena Falchetto They’re free and they provide a great snapshot. It’s in how you use the tool that makes it effective.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Soulati | PR Oh I know if you’re here, even if you don’t comment.

Cision
4 years 7 months ago

I love that these are all free tools! I’m adding Clicky to the list to check out too…thanks everyone :)

Cision
4 years 7 months ago

I love that these are all free tools! I’m adding Clicky to the list to check out too…thanks everyone :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Cision Do you have control of your blog? If so, definitely add Clicky now (http://getclicky.com). If not, you’ll have to sweet talk IT into helping you.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Cision Do you have control of your blog? If so, definitely add Clicky now (http://getclicky.com). If not, you’ll have to sweet talk IT into helping you.

garious1
garious1
4 years 7 months ago

It’s my first time to read about Twendz and thanks for sharing it here. I think that listening is crucial these days, especially when social engagement is called for. Do you think that we should define ROI as Return on Influence, then?

garious1
garious1
4 years 7 months ago

It’s my first time to read about Twendz and thanks for sharing it here. I think that listening is crucial these days, especially when social engagement is called for. Do you think that we should define ROI as Return on Influence, then?

TheJackB
4 years 7 months ago

Blog grader says that it is ok for me to use more than 52 words per post. Hmm….Wish I was that succinct but I am not.

I like the Twitter search function. It has been pretty useful for me.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago

@ginidietrich Hahah! I’m such a dork! I’m a scanner, If it’s not in a list I refuse to read it! LOL!

Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago

@ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto We are in agreement, Now please send chocolate.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago

@ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto We are in agreement, Now please send chocolate.

3HatsComm
4 years 7 months ago

I likey the free, though I’m sure I don’t muster passing grades on many of these. #onthelist

JayDolan
4 years 7 months ago

I really like Tweet Grid for search. You can arrange tweets and searches so that it pulls up multiple result sin columns, like a whole bunch of customized Tweetdeck columns.

Incredible_Eye_Care
4 years 7 months ago

Web site grader looks interesting for some one like me who is not much into SEO and stuff, it has really helped me to find out the missing things in my own site!

trontastic
trontastic
4 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
trontastic
trontastic
4 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
trontastic
trontastic
4 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
trontastic
trontastic
4 years 7 months ago
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… Read more »
trontastic
trontastic
4 years 7 months ago

@Incredible_Eye_Care do you have a free seomoz account? They have some good tools for SEO too that can help you out. On a side note, are you following eyeinfo ? He has some great insight into search and social for your industry.

EricaAllison
4 years 7 months ago

@ginidietrich@Soulati | PR We all know….

EricaAllison
4 years 7 months ago

@AmyMccTobin You rock, Amy!

EricaAllison
4 years 7 months ago

@Soulati | PR@ginidietrich@John Falchettosoulati I can tell if you come once, read, leave and then return again to linger over comments. :)

EricaAllison
4 years 7 months ago

@John Falchetto I heart Clicky!

Soulati | PR
4 years 7 months ago

Oh, yeah. My ethereal presence … @EricaAllison @ginidietrich

Lisa Gerber
4 years 7 months ago

@trontastic awesome feedback here! Love #1, triangulating the data, in particular. :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Sean McGinnis I’m pretty sure you still owe me wine. And the chocolate is on top of the fridge.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Sean McGinnis I knew you only read the list!

Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago

@ginidietrich Wine? Was the wine for the video you never did, for the post you never wrote or for the job lead that never called me back? I forget….. 😉 I’m leaving my house now for the chocolate…I should be there by Thursday afternoon.

trontastic
trontastic
4 years 7 months ago

Gini, you scare me sometimes…lol. @ginidietrich @Soulati | PR

Sean McGinnis
4 years 7 months ago

@ginidietrich Maybe instead of “the art and science of listening” you should have labelled that section “sean mcginnis, pay attention to this part”.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@Sean McGinnis Don’t be surprised when you see that in a future blog post.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 7 months ago

@garious1 No, I don’t. Return-on-influence doesn’t equate to business growth or sales, which is why we’re all in business. I think PR and marketing pros measure the wrong things, which is why we’re seen as an expense, and the first thing to go when times are tight. I absolutely think there is value in credibility and brand awareness and thought leadership, but ROI has to be delivered, in terms of an investment.

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