One of the most important parts of a successful social media strategy is the act of listening. If you spend the bulk of your time churning out content and not listening, it could all be in vain. Like business "networking", social "networking" works best when you communicate well with others. Listening and responding is crucial. The following are five, free, simple steps using search to enhance your social listening skills. Are you sitting at your computer? Do you have a cup of hot coffee within reach? Take note of these steps and repeat them once or twice a day to be sure you hear what your friends, fans and followers are saying.
5 Steps To Listen To Social Media Better
Step 1. Twitter.
Use the search feature, and search for your brand name (a brand name could be your company name, a product, or even your personal name). You can also use Advanced Search to search for full terms like your full name. If you just search for "Mary" you'll find a lot of mentions. Search for "Mary Clarke" and you may find tweets with that exact phrase. You may also choose to search for misspellings of your name. Be sure to save your searches.
Each morning check your replies and direct messages (DMs). Refer to your saved searches for mentions you may not be aware of. If you use a social media dashboard service like, Hootsuite (free 30 day trial - affiliate link), you can add a column of each of your saved searches for quick and easy reference.
Step 2. Facebook.
Log in to Facebook (admit it, you were already logged in before you went for that coffee, weren't you?). Visit your page, and note the red notification icon on the top of the page. Click this to see your recent page activity, new likes, comments and such. Don't forget to respond to people interacting with your page.
Set up email notifications for your page by clicking Edit Page, Edit Settings, and Notifications, and select your email address. You can also use a free service like HyperAlerts.no to get email notifications from activity on your page and your competitors.
Step 3. Instagram.
Go to statigr.am and log in with your Instagram account info. Search for your brand name and see what comes up. Like the photos you find, leave a comment, and follow the photographers. Consider sharing the photos across your social profiles. Remember to never use a screen capture or download of images without permission from the owner.
Step 4. YouTube.
Search YouTube for your brand name. Has anyone featured your brand in a video? Like the videos, leave a comment, subscribe to the channel, and consider sharing the video on your blog. Be sure to let them know that you shared their video on your company blog if you choose to. They will be happy to hear it and may promote this to their own networks.
Step 5. Email.
Use Google.com/alerts and Talkwalker.com to set up a search of your brand name. You can set the frequency and fine tune the searches to optimize these services. Once set up, you will receive email updates with links to new mentions of your brand. Search engines are brilliant listening tools. Use them to your advantage. You can also subscribe to additional searches on socialmention.com and mention.net.
Listening is just as important as creating content.
Listening is just as important as creating content and conversations in the first place. Be present and timely and watch those search results carefully. Depending on your brand, you may find yourself on other popular social networks like Pinterest, Vine and Flickr.
Get in the habit of starting your days reviewing saved searches or creating new ones. You will be glad that you did. Now get back to that coffee. It's getting cold.
Photo by Cyco GoOz
The article, They are talking about you online, originally appeared in the Tennessean.