How would you like to have a system set up to keep an eye on what your prospects have on their minds, what concerns or questions your customers have, what is going in your industry, and what your competitors are up to? What if I told you that the basic tools you will need to do this are all free? I want to impress upon you 3 things:
- You do need a social media radar system.
- It would benefit you with all the information that I mentioned above.
- All of the tools I am going to share with you are free to use.
I am going to share with you what tools to use, the basics on setting them up, and some tips on how to use them. Without further delay here is the lineup of the tools that will compose your social media radar system.
One of the amazing features that Twitter offers you is the ability to read whatever information those you follow are sharing. Check out How to Get Started With Twitter to get set up. Then check out Become a Twitter Power User to see how to make the most effective use of your new Twitter account.
To use Twitter as a component of your fancy new social radar system:
- Follow your customers and prospects.
- Follow your competitors.
- Follow similar business to your own.
- Follow the influencers in your industry.
- Read your Twitter stream at least once a day (though 2 or 3 times is better).
- Interact with those you follow.
According to Google:
Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web.
What does this offer you? A very powerful component in your social radar set up.
Here is what you need to do to make it work:
- Go to the Google Alerts Webpage.
- Sign into your Google account if you aren’t already logged in. I would advise you to use quotation marks to make your search an exact search.
- Type in what you want to monitor in the Search Query box.
- In the Result Type drop down menu choose what type of results you are looking for. Usually I would recommend to choose everything.
- Choose how often you want to receive results.
- Choose All Results in the How Many drop down menu.
- Choose to either send your results to your Gmail inbox or a news feed.
Yes Google has done it again with yet another rock star tool. With Google Reader you can follow all of the blogs and feeds you read in one place. Talk about convenience and a time saver. Keep up with industry and competitor news as well as important news from your industry.
Just follow these steps to get started:
- Go to the Google Reader site.
- Sign into your Google account if you aren’t already logged in.
- Click the Subscribe button.
- Enter the URL of the feed or blog you want to follow.
- Click Add.
Create a Facebook Page and you will have an amazing social center for you and your target market.
Check out the article Design Your Own Facebook Page Step by Step to get started.
Now follow the steps in 7 Steps to Customize Your Facebook Page to work your page like a pro.
Social Media Groups
Join groups on social media sites. Make sure to join groups from your local community, places your target market hang out, groups that are relevant to your industry, and business groups. It is great communication platform and you will meet a lot of people.
Social is a real time social media search engine. You can see who is talking about you, a competitor, a product or service, or whatever you like.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go to the SocialMention website.
- Type in your search in quotes to get an exact search.
- Enjoy the results.
Yes it is that simple. Not every result will be relevant but you should get pretty useful information. Also, check out all the features of the site. Explore and you just may be impressed.
Follow the instructions on the Facebook Insights That You Can’t Afford to Ignore article and you will reap the reward of great data on your Facebook Page followers, what is working, and what hasn’t worked. An amazing and free tool.
In my opinion one of the best general news pages available. Go to the site and enter whatever it is you are searching for, and that includes you, your competitors, industry, and products. It gives you a list of news stories bout your search. On the results page it even gives you the option to add a section for the specific search on your Google News homepage.
Here is my routine:
- Check out the top stories.
- Search for and check out specific topics.
- Check out both Business and Technology on the navigation on the left.
That is just what I do. Your interests may be different, don’t ignore this powerful tool.
Yelp.com is like a very popular yellow pages that allows users to review businesses. With millions of unique monthly users it is definitely not something to be ignored.
This is the most important part of your social media radar system. Talk to your customers. Listen to them. Pay attention to their concerns. Answer their questions. Get to know them on Facebook. Be social with them in your shop. They are the most important people in the world to your business and they are the most powerful tool that you have in your social arsenal.
What tools do you use to keep your ears open?
I can hear you now. “But everyone I know uses Facebook, why should I spend time using Google+ when I don’t really know anyone on there?” Good question, and I hope to provide you with some good answers. I am going to show you why you should implement a Google+ strategy and some of the ways that it can benefit you and your brand.
To answer the question proposed in the last paragraph:
- You don’t know anyone on Google+ yet.
- Your friends and customers may not be on Google+ yet.
Yet is the operative word. Google+ is continuously introducing new quality features, it is gaining popularity, and it is the only current social network that I currently see out there that is positioning itself in such a way to be a serious future contender against Facebook. Google+ is great for SEO. Finally, Google (the world’s number 1 search engine) loves and shows favor to Google+. This leads us to the inevitable question: What can Google+ do for you?
Let’s face it, Facebook and Twitter are essential to marketing efforts. To ignore them would be a mistake of epic proportions. The trouble is that both Facebook and Twitter restrict Google from accessing much of their data. This limits their SEO effectiveness. With Google+ on the other hand, it is the number one search provider in the world (aka Google) that owns the network. Not only that, Google does access the data on Google+ and shows favor to it. Google+ brings with it natural SEO.
Meeting True Influencers
Most of the big players in marketing, industry, and business in general are also on Google+. Why is it important to get to know the major hitters? It is important because they have the expertise, connections, and are a wealth of information. They can be learned from. One really nice thing in the whole deal is that many of them will even communicate with you when you comment or message them, if you also provide decent content and construct good comments and messages.
The truth be told, more exposure can never hurt and can only help you.If you are wise, you are claiming your territory wherever you can. It costs nothing. It takes very little effort to just sign up. Then at least you have it to use when you are ready to. The more places your name and brand can be seen the better.
Territory in the Next Big Thing
I honestly do believe that in the future Google+ has the potential to very well be a serious contender against Facebook. Will it surpass Facebook and replace it as the dominant social network. I don’t know. It it possible? I would say it is in the realm of possibility. Just look at what Facebook did to MySpace. Whether it ever surpasses Facebook or not though, it does appear that Google+ is going to continue to grow and thrive. Now is the time to get your foot in that door. Getting there before your competition is the only smart thing to do.
My best advice to you is to get started with Google+ now. Facebook and Twitter may be the kings but it would be a terrible mistake to ignore the opportunities that Google+ offers you.
How do you think you can implement Google+? What other benefits do you see that it can provide your brand?
It may surprise you but there is a lot more punch in 140 characters that you may think. There is truly power in this thing that we call Twitter. The question is are you using Twitter to its full potential? What can you do with Twitter and how can it benefit you? What kind of power does Twitter provide you?
Power to Meet Influencers
An influencer is a person or thing which influences. They can be top experts, the very popular, those in top leadership positions, those whose voice is heard by the masses, etc. One cool fact is that for the most part you can find them on Twitter. You can read what they have to say, share your posts with them, and even communicate with them. Twitter is one of the easiest ways to meet them.
To meet influencers:
- Use Twitter search to find them. You can search by name or even search the name of your industry or location to see what comes up.
- Browse to them through Twitter categories.
- Check out who your followers and those you follow are following.
Power of a Listening Post
You can’t expect to be a great communicator without being a great listener. You can’t hope to be a good leader without being a good listener. You can’t be an amazing marketer without being an amazing listener. Listening is half of the equation whether you are talking about communication, leadership, or marketing. Consider Twitter a very powerful extra set of ears.
To use Twitter as a listening post:
- Follow the competition. By following your competitors you can see what they are up to. You will know what ways they are reaching out to customer’s and collaborators that you want for your organization or brand. You may even learn a lesson or two about what is or isn’t working for them and apply it to your business.
- Follow those you do business with and your Facebook followers. Following them opens yet another communication channel. It shows them that you are interested in what they have to say. It also provides yet another marketing channel to them.
- Follow relevant blogs. Blogs can be some of the best free information and even education you will find. They can inform, inspire, and even provide step by step instructions on how to do almost anything. Bloggers can also be powerful influencers and connectors.
- Follow local businesses. Forming relationship with local business’ can provide local connections, opportunity for community involvement, and may lead to future clients.
- Follow local news. By following news sources you can keep up with current events, be in touch with what is effecting the lives of your customers, and keep tabs on what is happening in society that may have an impact on your brand.
Power to Grow a Following
The bigger your following the bigger your net of sources of information, influencers and connectors, connections, and potential clientele.
To grow your following:
- Follow others.
- Tweet regular original content.
- Interact with others.
- Promote your Twitter account.
I will provide detailed guidance on how to strategically do all four of these in a soon upcoming post.
Twitter can be a very powerful tool if used consistently, patiently, and strategically. It is everywhere. Start becoming a Twitter power user today.
How do you use Twitter to promote your name or organization?