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Are you engaging your customers online? Not sure? You’re not alone. Alterian recently surveyed 1,500 marketing professionals to see where their brands stand when it comes to social media and level of personalization. Seven out of 10 respondents admit they have little understanding of the online conversations surrounding their brand, while 57 percent believe their brand is not as engaged with customers as it should be.
Before you can engage with customers effectively via social media channels, you need to identify the user-generated content (UGC) most relevant to your brand. This can include blogs, videos, podcasts, images, wikis, discussion groups and forums. For tips on getting started, check out “How to Set up Your Social Media Listening Dashboard,” a valuable white paper by social media veterans Jared Roy and Nathan Eide.
According to Roy and Eide, one of the first steps is to set up a Google account. This gives you access to a variety of free listening tools such as Google Reader, Google Alerts and Google Blog Search. Of course, there are many powerful tools beyond Google’s universe, as social media consultant Deidre Brathwaite notes in her article, “The Art of Social Listening.” A few of her recommendations include:
- Social Mention. This social media search and analysis platform lets you to drill down to a specific tool in a list of more than 80 sources. It provides metrics around sentiment, reach and keywords, and lists top users and sources of your brand mentions.
- Addict-o-matic. Providing search results with videos and images, this interactive tool shows how your brand is being presented on a number of different social platforms, all in one page.
- Workstreamer. It’s good business practice to monitor one’s competition. That’s where Workstreamer comes in handy. Unlike other listening tools, this search is done by company name versus keyword. You can monitor your vendors, partners and even yourself.
If you’ve got the budget for it, paid monitoring services such as Radian6, CisionPoint and InsideView bring the conversations together in an organized, Web-based dashboard. One big benefit of the paid solutions is their ability to analyze the tone of the conversations through computer algorithms using natural language processing.
Whether you do it yourself or use a paid service, listening is just the first step, says Jason Falls, principal of the Social Media Explorer marketing platform. Recent case studies show that entering a conversation with a personal reply is an impressive touch that gets noticed. The customer response is almost always along the lines of, “Wow! I didn’t know you were listening.”
Paul Nolan is editor of SalesForceXP magazine, a bimonthly publication that provides sales managers with insights for getting “Xtra Performance” from their sales teams.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FedEx.
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