Simply Put: START LISTENING!
Many Times when we talk to businesses about Social Media Marketing they immediately go into the "traditional marketing" mindset of interupting prospects who use social media by Broadcasting their message.When marketers start thinking with more of an Inbound Marketing mindset they'll think more about listening. It could be listening for things that are happening in your industry, or it could be for prospects asking advice on a topic you're well versed in.
An important part of leveraging social media for business is to understand the conversations that are happening online that are related to your industry. Recognize how and where you should respond, and work to share content that reinforces your position as a leader.
Here's a few GREAT tools to help you!1: Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
Enter a search query you wish to monitor (like your business name) You will see a preview of the type of results you'll receive. Some other handy uses of Google Alerts include:
- monitoring a developing news story
- keeping current on a competitor or industry
- getting the latest on a celebrity or event
- keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams
2: Twitter Search: http://twitter.com/search
Monitor mentions of your brand on Twitter with tools like Twitter Search, or HootSuite. CoTweet is also a great tool to help manage users using a corporate twitter account.
3: Google Reader and RSS Feeds: http://www.google.com/reader
Setup RSS feeds in Google Reader of searches for your brand or industry keywords in other popular social media sites such as Flickr, Digg, Delicious (and other social bookmarking sites). Look at the results and scan for daily mentions etc.
4: Facebook Insights:
Stay on top of and participate in dsicussion occuring on your company's Facebook Fan Page. user your fan page's Insights Dashboard to show you stats such as fan growth and page views to gauge your pages intereaction and engagement.
5: Scan your Facebook News Feed:
Look through your facebook connections news feed. Can you help any of your prospects or friends whom you're connected with. Maybe it's referring a friend to another company, or sharing a link to someone looking for a new computer (for instance). This will help you be a gatekeeper and intereact with potential prospects.
6: Using Linked in Answers: http://www.linkedin.com/answers
LinkedIn Answers allows you to find people publically stating they have a specific problem or a need that your product or service could solve. Look for those questions and help answer them, or better yet, write a blog post and post the link to your blog for the answer. By doing this you're providing yourself (and your website) as a resource for the potential prospect, and ultimately will be able to generate high-quality traiffice to your blog from LinkedIn Answers, and get some really qualified leads as well!
These are just a few tips on where to start "listening". If you can think of any others, please comment below and share.
Remington is the Lead Designer and Marketing Strategist for Impulse Creative, An Internet Marketing Agency in Fort Myers, Florida. You can connect with him using the following social networks: Google+, Twitter, Linked In & Facebook