The goal of this series is to take your online presence to a new level. A great book to read on this topic is Groundswell by Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff. It outlines the steps to leveraging the power of your customers online. And it also has many case studies to give you lots of ideas.
The first step is listening. You need to consider where your customers are at online. Once you find the conversations are at then you can decide how to best participate. This is very different from traditional marketing & advertising efforts.
Here are 5 reasons to use listening tools & how they can help your online business:
1. identifying where conversations are taking place about your brand & identify new markets
2. building brand
3. brand reparation including crisis management
4. reporting to management about the progress of your online engagement efforts
5. monitor competitors & their products
There are a number of free tools that you can use:
Google alerts – you will need a Google account (but there are so many tools) – have the results delivered by email – you can choose ‘as it happens’ or daily
Search.Twitter.com – you can subscribe to the RSS feed or have it open in a tab during the day
Blogsearch – another tool from Google
Technorati – blog search
www.twing.com – monitors conversations in forums
BoardTracker.com – also monitors conversations in forums
The secret to using these are choosing keywords that don’t bring back too many results. Try setting them up (like Google alerts & Technorati) & if you’re getting too many results, then refine your keywords. For example if you’re a photographer like in my example then using ‘photography’ is too general. Use “portrait photography” in order to limit the results. Or “landscape photography”. I also have Google alerts set up for my name as well as the misspelled version. “connie bensen” and “connie benson”
When the results come in to your email or blog reader review them. For the results that are pertinent click thru & see what is being said. When you decide to engage you can start responding.
If you consistently monitor & respond you can accomplish the 5 items I listed above & build brand awareness online. People will think that you’re everywhere. The best thing is that it’s a very efficient use of time.
Do you monitor your brand? Have you had success?