Monday, November 10, 2008

Two Ears... One Mouth

Sure we are participating in the conversation, but are we listening as much as we speak? One of the things that is great about social media tools is that you have the ability to hear what people are saying about you. If you are smart... you will listen, because that feedback is the key to understanding why the competitor is chosen over you. It is not smart to assume that you know what the issues are without hearing it from the source. The only effective way to do that a few years ago was either to send out a survey and make assumptions based on the percentage of people willing to complete and return it, or to pull together a focus group. Today people are very vocal about their use, love and hate of products and services. They share this information as a service to their family friends and contacts, either to protect them from a bad experience or suggest to them a service that was beneficial to their needs.

So now that this information exists how do you find it, collect it and use it for the benefit of your brand?

Here are a couple of things that we are doing that are helping us to listen mor carefully.

RSS feeds from - Search.twitter is not only a great way to find new and interesting topics to follow. It is a great way to listen to what is going on around you. I have just 3 rss feeds set up on variations of our brand name. Whenever it is mentioned I collect that message. I try to read them ASAP because sometimes they are about pressing matters. More than once we were able to listen out for and react to people twitter from inside the hospital about problems they were having. In a few of those cases we were able to locate them and help.

Social Media Monitoring using Techrigy SM2 - I started out by monitoring everything manually using google blog search, and technorati. Although I was getting good information the process became cumbersome, and I was convinced that I was missing out on mentions. So I asked for budget for a low cost solution. I did not get much budget so I was either going to have to try and get buy in and supplemental funding from other departments or find a tool that fit in the budget. One day while researching products I ran across techrigy's "freemium" version of the tool. It gave me an opportunity to test the functionality with a few keywords and a limited number of results. It was just enough to give me a picture of what kind of volume we were receiving in mentions on just our brand name. I expect that my expansion to more keywords and more results will really help us to understand our audiences and their needs.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sorta Like Social Media Training

I saw this video at a training class that I attended recently. It was such an accurate depiction of how a hands on social media training feels to me. The concepts are simple but what is simple to you is not always obvious to others. Then the fear of messing up or exploring beyond the surface. If I ever have the time to present again, I will probably start out my conversation with this video.