I guess you could say I’m a professional “listener” or perhaps even a pro at social listening.
Besides being in sales for more than 25 years, where great listening skills are a must for success, I make my living now listening all day long—social listening that is.
And as Bernard Baruch so wisely said, “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
Listening is essential to everything we do, online and off. And well orchestrated social listening can provide unique insights to help grow our businesses.
Link Listening to Build Community
One of my favorite social listening techniques is “link listening” on Twitter.
Link listening is listening for Tweets containing a link from a specific site. This powerful (and underused) social listening technique offers crazy benefits for marketers and communication professionals.
It’s a must-do strategy for any business or brand using content marketing to create leads, communicate ideas, or drive intent to purchase.
Let’s explore the concept of link listening a bit further.
Link listening is simply a search query sent to the Twitter API which says “please give me every Tweet containing a link from site xyz.com.” (Yes, API calls should be exceeding polite—it always pays to ask nicely.)
In reality, when you’re social listening on Twitter in real-time, you’re conducting a search for something that hasn’t happened yet.
Sure, you can get a certain amount of legacy data from a Twitter API call, but what you really want is the the fresh stuff as it happens in real-time.
How to Link Listen
Even if you don’t have or want to use a social listening platform, you can always take advantage of good old Twitter search to search for Tweets containing links from any site.
Give it a try now: Enter SpinSucks.com into the Twitter search box (no http://) and voila! Twitter delivers all the people that have recently shared content from Spin Sucks.
As a Spin Sucks reader and amplifier, you have instant commonality and connection with everyone listed in this search, and therefore provides a great group for networking and engaging.
Social Listening to Develop Buyer Personas
Link listening helps find specific types of buyer or engagement personas, based on the theory that certain sources of content attract certain types of people.
If I want to identify and database PR professionals, I’ll search link listen to blogs such as Spin Sucks.
Content marketing wonks? ContentMarketingInstitute.com and similar.
Social Media thought leadership? BryanKramer.com, SocialMediaExaminer.com , and many others.
There are so many amazing content sites out there to tap into it boggles the mind. After collecting just a few dozen Tweets from a particular site, emerging user trends indicate if you’re zeroing in on your target personas.
Even though the people sharing content from a site are just a fraction of that sites total audience, they are the most valuable part of a site’s readership. They are the brand ambassadors and amplifiers, and link listening identifies exactly who they are.
Let’s take it one step further and dig into the site’s readership.
You can use social listening to find people sharing a specific post from the site. These “micro-communities” of content sharers have their own “digital DNA.”
The character of the micro-communities can be profoundly different from post-to-post, especially in general content sites with diverse audiences.
What can you do with that audience intelligence, on both a macro and micro level?
- Capture and activate the audiences sharing your clients earned media posts on third-party sites.
- Identify influencers sharing content and engage with them.
- Connect your most passionate advocates with each other to create community.
- Send content directly to your amplifiers based on what they’ve shared in the past.
Those are just a few examples of how your or your clients business can benefit from link listening. It’s a simple but powerful strategy you can put to work immediately.
So don’t wait, head on over to Twitter search and start link listening TODAY!
Photo credit: Creative Commons