Monitoring Social Media for Smaller Businesses

Without question, social media has taken marketing to a whole new level – in 2009, Twitter grew by more than 600% and Facebook by 210%.  To put it in perspective, if Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest.   Obviously, social media is something worth catching on to, not only for large brands but for small businesses as well.  While small businesses are not able to have social media “Mission Control Centers” like the ones established at Gatorade, there are a number of tools available to monitor the buzz.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a service designed to send out email updates when relevant Google results surface based on your topic choices.  These free alerts are set up through your Google account and can be sent to any email address you choose.  This tool allows you to keep tabs on developing news stories, articles, blogs and other mediums that might mention your company or topic.

Yahoo Alerts

Just like Google Alerts, Yahoo! Alerts also a personally designed service that alerts you about content you wish you monitor.  Yahoo! gives you the option to receive notifications about articles and news linked to specific categories such as Health News or Stock Alerts.  Alerts can also be useful in monitoring the news of your competitors and obtain information on their activity.

Twitter Search

Twitter Search is an option specific to Twitter users that allows you to search a keyword or topic and shows all the “tags” or mentions in the Twitter world.  You will see results of what is being said about a specific company or topic that are making people buzz.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is an application for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare and MySpace.   A typical TweetDeck screen is divided into a number of columns, specific to the different social media outlets you wish to monitor.  In each column, you are able to see status updates, tags, tweets, photos and that which you wish to monitor.  Each TweetDeck is specific to the individual user.  The founders of TweetDeck describe this application as being the  “air traffic controller for Twitter.”

Facebook Stats

Facebook Stats can give you feedback on the traffic that your company page is receiving.  You can find this information under Facebook Insights that provides you with a number of graphs displaying mentions, weekly activity, post quality, reviews and a demographic summary of your fans.

Answer LinkedIn Questions

LinkedIn has a segment on their site called Answers that allows LinkedIn members to ask and answer questions in an open discussion forum.  This is a great way for you to establish a credible foundation for your company by answering questions that are relevant to your specific service or product.  By giving helpful feedback and advice, you are giving your company the publicity it needs through these social mediums.

How have you monitored social media?

Facebook Marketing – Getting the Most out of Facebook – The Circuit Cincinnati

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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting to the Circuit – an IT Networking Group based in Cincinnati. I presented on Facebook Marketing – how to get more out of Facebook. Most of the people in the room were on Facebook, but few were using it as a marketing tool.  Facebook can be difficult for marketers – figuring out the right ways to interact with potential audiences can be tough.  Facebook was created to facilitate social connections – not as a marketing platform. Facebook is the #1 global social network and has over 300 million active users – 50% of whom logon to the site every day.  The Facebook audience is both active and committed to the network. Prior to engaging in marketing your brand or company on Facebook:
  1. Don’t be a dirty spammer. Be relevant. Use channels appropriately. Don’t annoy people.
  2. Real world networking principles apply. Don’t immediately sell people. Don’t get in their face.  Like in the real world you will have no friends.
  3. Give your audience something of value. People do you the honor of following you.  Repay them by giving them value.  It doesn’t have to be financial value either.
  4. Know your target. Know who your target audience is.  If you fan page is comprised of your family and friends it probably isn’t very effective.  Come up with creative ways to engage with your target.
  5. Focus on business value, not activity. It is easy to get caught up with tracking your activity – # of posts, # of fans friends and followers, etc.  The real question is what is the actual business value?
We then covered 4 key ways that brands can leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. 1. Create a Fan Page. This is the most popular way brands and companies are using Facebook.
  • When you create a fan page build a content plan (what you will post when)
  • Use photos and videos to engage – post yourself and encourage fans to post
  • Provide valuable information
  • Be a resource for questions
  • Run a contest
  • Integrate Facebook as a syndication and engagement platform for offline campaigns
  • Use insights and analytics to track effectiveness and value
2. Create a Group – Create a group about something related to your product that people are interested in and passionate about.  Also, participate in relevant groups to get your brand out there. 3. Create an Event – Facebook events can be a great way to engage with your audience.  If you are having an event, creating a Facebook event increases your exposure and lets attendees see who else is going. 4. Facebook Ads – Facebook ads work best when they are targeted.  Target your ads as specifically as possible and you can get great results.

Any other thoughts or comments?

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