Social Media Step #1 – Listen
Posted on August 3, 2011 by Stephen Da Cambra
Want to get into social media and get in on all the action you’re hearing about? But all you managed to do is open a Twitter account, tweet a few times and wonder what’s the big deal?
You’re not alone. Most business social media programs fail (over 80% by some accounts). While there are many reasons for the high failure rate, at least one of them is impatience.
With the buzz at ear-splitting levels and the social media sites eager to add you to their number, many of us start blogging, tweeting and flickring without taking the time to research and analyze the social media we choose.
Research and analysis sounds like lots of work, but the nature of social media makes R & A fairly simple and it is the first step to a successful program.
How do you research and analyze social media?
Hint: check the title of the post.
Listening to what’s being said: checking blogs, following tweets, conducting searches – however you choose to do your research – is the best way to get a taste of the conversations, learn how to use different sites and decide which social media tools are best for your circumstance.
How do you listen to social media? In a way, you do nothing. Open a Twitter account, but don’t tweet. Read some blogs, but don’t start blogging. Watch YouTube videos, but don’t start shooting.
The main problem with social media R&A is finding the content that is most pertinent to your business. There are many “aggregators” that help you filter the huge amounts of information and one of the best and easiest to use is Google Alerts. Here’s a bit of a Google Alerts how-to:
• Go to the Google Alerts web page at http://www.google.com/alerts. Once there, enter the following in the corresponding spaces:
• Search terms: type in your product, service or industry sector – any term that commonly describes your business – like “glass blowing”, “IT consulting” or “restaurant management”. (You can set up alerts for anything else of interest – like mentions of your favourite movie star.)
• Type: Comprehensive
• How often: once a day
• Volume: Only the best results
• Deliver to: your main email address.
You can do a similar thing with Yahoo and Bing – but Google Alerts seems easiest.
Starting tomorrow, you will receive an email full of links to blogs, news items, videos, web sites and online groups that have content matching your search term.
Give yourself some time. Read as much as you can, click on links, learn the ropes.
Listen. Now you’ve successfully started your social media program.