As the power of social media continues to emerge, smart businesses are using this platform to tell customers and prospects about their products and services. But even smarter businesses are using online communication to see what consumers have to say about them.
While marketers focus on crafting social media communication and strategies to further sales and growth objectives, they may be missing out if they are not paying attention to what is being said about their businesses on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. A recently posted Advertising Age article, ‘Chief Listeners’ Use Technology to Track, Sort Company Mentions, discusses how companies such as Kodak and Dell are relying on the new role of Chief Listener to monitor online buzz in the form of tweets, posts, comments, and mentions. The data or intel they collect is sorted and distributed to appropriate areas within a company, such as product development or customer service, where the information can be used productively. A Dell communications executive is quoted in the article as saying, “Our chief listener is critical to making sure the right people in the organization are aware of what the conversations on the web are saying about us, so that relevant people in the business can connect with customers.”
Though most companies are not likely to have the human resources luxury of creating a Chief Listener position, the value of listening should not be overlooked. Fortunately, with free online resources and a minimal investment of time, you can be your own monitor, and find out what is being said about you in the world of social media, and everywhere else on the internet. Simply going to the search engines on a regular basis and typing in searches related to your products or services will give you a quick way to discover what folks are saying about your business. It is essential that your searches be very focused and include your company name, brands or unique product names. General searches will give you a high volume of irrelevant results. For example, a Google search for ice cream returns a daunting 98,700,000 results, while a search for “vanilla ice cream with sprinkles and a cherry” framed in quotation marks brings back a manageable six results. If you are not sure where to begin your searches, here is a quick list of ten useful search engines to scan.
Another great way to automatically track the mentions of your company, brand and products is by setting up Google Alerts. These alerts will notify you via email whenever a search term that you predetermine is mentioned. You can choose to receive notifications from News, Blogs, Updates, Video, Discussions, or Everything. Again, it is important to be very specific in setting up your search terms and to use quotation marks.
For more information on this topic, check out the Dave Taylor blog post, How can I keep track of company buzz online?