Arment Dietrich

Five Steps to a Social Listening Program

By: Arment Dietrich | March 28, 2012 | 
48

Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Gerber.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. Maybe I’m just sad now: At how many organizations are missing opportunities to be involved in the conversation.

How many times a day do you come across a scathing review; one that influences your decision not to buy?

And would that decision be influenced the other way if the organization had responded in some manner – be it with an apology, an explanation, or a resolution?

The funny thing is, I bet most really have intentions to be involved, but don’t know how.

If you’ve seen Jay Baer speak, you’ve seen his example of a motel review on TripAdvisor that has been sitting there for YEARS talking about fear of being murdered in the motel and HIV in the mattress. It’s the only review, so I’m guessing everyone reads it and moves on to the next choice.

I‚Äôm going to try and de-mystify the whole idea of social listening. I’m not just talking about product reviews. I’m talking about blogs, news sites, forums and discussion boards, and social networks. It takes more than a Google alert and a Twitter search but it‚Äôs not hard. And once you create a listening dashboard, it‚Äôs even easier to check it daily or more frequently depending on the nature of your business.

If anyone is talking about your industry, you, or your competition in comments of blogs, news articles, video or the social networks, you now have the opportunity to decide if you want to say something.

  1. Develop your Keywords. Use the Google Adwords Keyword tool and determine carefully your listening topics.
  2. Monitor Twitter: You can use Hootsuite or TweetDeck. Create a search column for the keywords. Now start paying attention to who is tweeting. Start following them and add them to a list. I have my lists created by clients.
  3. Follow Blogs and Google Search. In your RSS reader, create a folder for this particular listening campaign. Start paying attention to the blogs being uncovered in the twitter search and subscribe, adding them to that file in your reader. Set up Google alerts for your keywords and add them to the same file in your RSS feed. Handy!
  4. The Kitchen Sink. Blog comments, Q&A sites, forums and discussion boards, oh my.
    • Boardreader scours the forums and discussion boards.
    • Topsy watches blogs and news and shows you trackbacks from across the web. Trackbacks is a great feature because if you see something alarming, say, in a blog post, you can actually check to see how many people are linking back to it. In other words, exactly how bad is this going to get? Are people paying attention to it and sharing it?
    • Then you have to think about¬†Flickr, Yahoo! Answers, Google blog search, video, Quora,¬†WikiAnswers, socialmention,¬†Facebook, and even WDYL.
  5. Build the dashboard. Bring everything under one roof. Use a dashboard like your RSS reader and build RSS feeds from each of the searches listed above. Netvibes¬†is a social monitoring dashboard that¬†brings all these existing tools together under one roof. The user experience in netvibes isn‚Äôt superb, but you can toggle the layout to a newsfeed type or a widget. It’s going to be more helpful for the person who doesn’t understand how to set up RSS feeds, because it walks you through the process of installing the different search widgets.

Now, you too, can watch the web and be sure you are involved when you are needed.

So? what did I miss? Are you listening? What are some tools and secrets you use?

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48 Comments on "Five Steps to a Social Listening Program"

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JoelFortner
4 years 1 month ago

Superb¬†explanation on¬†how to effectively do this.¬†This is so important and I believe massively underutilized.¬†Have you ever found businesses balk at this because they’re unsure about resourcing it or its value?

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@JoelFortner¬†Thanks, Joel, and yes, we hear it all the time – which is really what motivated me to write about it. It’s not that difficult in terms of resources and dollars to do it in a very basic way – to be able to participate in the conversation, and respond when needed. Really, can anyone afford NOT to be doing it, as in the example of the Jay Baer’s reference above and what we show clients all the time.
 
Being absent is far more conspicuous than being present. 

JoelFortner
4 years 1 month ago

I think your comment about affording not to be doing it is key.¬† Thanks for the great information.¬† I’ll surely point people to it.

anandp29
4 years 1 month ago

I am a big advocate of social monitoring and agree with your points 100%. Monitoring your brand, products, industry or competitors can give you a better sense of where you stand plus allow you to see how the market feels about certain products or services. It’s a great research tool!¬†

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@anandp29¬†I bet a lot of people and organizations think they already know what they will find so they don’t bother. Everyone would be surprised.¬†

jakelepiarz
jakelepiarz
4 years 1 month ago

Social media monitoring has been a bit part of my job for years now. Data intensive, often tedious, but critical to clients, especially those in high risk industries.

jakelepiarz
jakelepiarz
4 years 1 month ago

Social media monitoring has been a big part of my job for years now. Data intensive, often tedious, but critical to clients, especially those in high risk industries.

HowieSPM
4 years 1 month ago

Great tips @Lisa Gerber . I pursue some small businesses I see so much potential for and set up my own listening then ask them ‘Have you seen this?’ whether for insight, reaction etc and they always say ‘how did you find that?’.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

 @HowieSPM So when you say pursue, you use it as a new business pitch opportunity? Such a great idea!

GnosisArts
GnosisArts
4 years 1 month ago
You offer some sound tips, Lisa. You’re right: as the Web proliferates more and more nodes where your brands can be discussed, the time spent monitoring can grow exponentially. As you alluded to, the PRs social listening toolbox can get quickly get jam-packed with tools, many of which you may only use, like, once or twice a year, lol. ¬† But please indulge my fancy and allow me to shamefully add … yet another tool to your readers’ monitoring toolbox, lol. This is like the tool your hubby or boyfriend buys for that sharp, within-a-millimeter handyman job that only happens… Read more »
Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

 @GnosisArts This looks WAY COOL!! Going to check it out for sure. 
PS, I wouldn’t let my husband by sharp tools. :)¬†

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@GnosisArts¬†Um. of course I meant BUY sharp tools. Holy cow. Guess I’m ¬†not the sharpest tool in the shed today.¬†

kasser
4 years 1 month ago

Nice and great post.
 
Thanks & regards.

trackback

[…] monitoring program. I stole a lot of my recommendations for this principle from Lisa Gerber’s blog post yesterday. If you haven’t read it yet, head over there […]

rosemaryoneill
4 years 1 month ago

Eric brought up Twitter chats, and I’d definitely add them as a specific listening point…go to the list of Twitter chats and find out if there’s one related to your niche/industry, and then either lurk for intel or get active. ¬†I love this type of “nitty gritty” get-it-done post! Thanks!

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@rosemaryoneill¬†This is an awesome point, because the monitoring process will naturally uncover hashtags and twitter chats for those keywords (and that is part of the analysis report). But I didn’t include a step for proactively finding them. Do you use a specific search tool for twitter chats?¬†

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@kelleemagee :) Thanks, Kellee!

SceneStealrEric
4 years 1 month ago
Great post,¬† @Lisa Gerber ! What I really like is that you’re asking people to consider monitoring more than just social media. There are lots of free tools that grab different segments of the web and bring back the relevant results so companies can measure and respond. At spiral16¬† we try to hammer home the idea that the web is a much bigger place and as Jay points out, there could be posts out there that you need to know about. I think businesses tend to get tunnel vision sometimes, which is dangerous. Our tool helps people measure the web… Read more »
Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@SceneStealrEric¬†¬†spiral16¬†Absolutely!! I haven’t had the chance to play around with Spiral 16, but larger organizations, they absolutely need to be using tools such as yours to be able to do it really well and at volume. Thanks, Eric!!

TheJackB
4 years 1 month ago

Very smart topic and related to the podcast that Joe Hackman had with Ken Mueller yesterday about local review sites. It really is shocking that more businesses fail to take a look around the web to see who is saying what about them.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@TheJackB¬†¬†Joe Hackman¬†¬†Ken Mueller¬†I heard Ken was on that podcast! I was trying to bug him on Skype!!! I’ll have to go have a listen.¬†

trontastic
trontastic
4 years 1 month ago
¬†@Lisa Gerber I could hug you for writing this. Over and over and over again I ask business owners what people are saying about their brand and they haven’t a single clue in the world. If you’re a small business owner and don’t have the (or any) additional time in the day, having a single source for all of this is really really important. You need to be able to get in and get out quickly so you can move on to other things. ¬† The other side of this that people typically don’t think about but should be aware… Read more »
Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@trontastic¬†I’ll gladly accept the hug!
Good point about the coverage accuracy – was interesting to see all the things I discovered in deeper tools that weren’t coming up in Google alerts. Checking out Trackur now.

bdorman264
4 years 1 month ago
I’m a social talker; at least my wife thinks so. She tells me ‘why don’t you shut the hell up and listen sometimes’? She didn’t really say hell, but the rest is true. I feel it’s my duty and obligation to help the socially awkward feel more comfortable at social events….I’m trying to be a better listener….. ¬† Your game plan really sounds like work but since I know you are smart like that I will probably take some time to at least take it to the next level. Sometimes it’s just best not to know what other’s are saying… Read more »
Lisa Gerber
4 years 1 month ago

¬†@bdorman264¬†I haven’t met either of you in person but somehow I can picture her telling you to shut up. It’s making me laugh.¬†

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@shonali Thank you thank you! :) Ps, been meaning to take a photo of an atomic pushup for you. maybe today!

shonali
shonali
4 years 1 month ago

@lisagerber I wanna see NOW!!!

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@shonali They are too atomic to do during the work day.

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@prtips Thanks, Springboard!! :)

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@giselenmendez thanks, Gisele!

GiseleNMendez
GiseleNMendez
4 years 30 days ago

@lisagerber My pleasure, Lisa :) How are you today?

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@bdorman264 HAHA. I know, it’s way more fun to talk. about oneself.

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 1 month ago

@heathersemplice Hi, and thanks, Heather!

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 27 days ago

@gcmelvin Thanks for sharing my post,Greg!

lisagerber
lisagerber
4 years 27 days ago

@cargillcreative @shatterboxVox – thanks for the RT’s!

AllisonNNH
AllisonNNH
4 years 26 days ago

At my¬†company, Manzama (the first listening platform designed for law firms, , this is exactly the conversation we’re having with our clients. They have been very focused on how to contribute to the social media conversation, and not so much on how to capitalize on it. It’s time to think about what’s being said about the firm, its clients, etc…and to figure out how to leverage that information for¬†competitive¬†advantage.¬†

Lisa Gerber
3 years 9 months ago

¬†@AllisonNNH¬†Hi, it’s months later and I am over grabbing a link, not realizing I had some comments over here to address! So glad to hear this. It’s INCREDIBLE what we’ve been able to accomplish with one particular client with whom we’ve set up this listening dashboard. They are using it to respond to criticism, share their side of the story and really turn some detractors around by providing better information.¬†

rdopping
rdopping
4 years 25 days ago
Lisa, ¬† We’ve not met yet but I see you around a bunch o blogs in my network. Guess I need those tools, huh. It’s April 4 a full 7 days after your post. I am using iGoogle but it’s pretty limited (mail, google reader and some other widgets). I will check out Google Ad Words Keyword. Good one, huh? I am finding Google Alerts kinda sporadic (probably not using the right way). Man, this stuff is sometimes exhausting. So much social, so little time. ¬† Thank for the tips though, very helpful. BTW, any friend of Dorman’s is a… Read more »
Lisa Gerber
3 years 9 months ago

¬†@rdopping¬†Hi!!!! I’ve seen you around too. and now you don’t have to feel so bad, because you were 7 days late. I’m about 4 months late!
 
Google alerts are good but not entirely reliable. This system works really well, we’ve discovered. Let me know if you have any questions. Would love to hear how it goes. and sorry about my slow reply. :)¬†

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