Do you monitor social media for mentions of your brand? Is that all you're looking for? If so, you're just getting started. You'll get more out of your listening activities if you cast a wider net.
If you've heard me talk about listening in social media, you know that I apply an expansive definition to the metaphor. It starts with basic monitoring to detect items that need a response, but the really interesting part is when you start to think of listening for its intelligence-gathering value. Given all of this public sharing of fact and opinion, what can you discover that will help your business?
- Customers talking to you
Call it Social CRM, customer service, or just meeting the customer where she is—if your customers are trying to reach you through social media, you want to be there. As for metrics and analysis, consider rolling the data from these contacts into a broader voice of the customer activity for a comprehensive view of what customers are telling you directly.
- People talking about you
Everyone in social media preaches this point. If people (not just customers) are talking about you and making it easy for you by using your brand names, you should be paying attention.
- People talking about your competitors
This one's easy to figure out, too. You might find immediate opportunities or longer-term insights, but you will find something useful in what people have to say about the competition.
- People talking about your customers, suppliers and partners
No business exists in a vacuum—who's critical to your success? If your customers are businesses, what can you learn by listening to their customers? What issues in your supply chain may affect you?
- People talking about your market without mentioning names
Tom O'Brien likes to point out that most conversations don't mention brands. Lots of conversations about your market are probably happening without mentioning brand names. If you're looking for insights—and not just complaints that need a response—you'll want to follow these conversations, even if that makes the queries harder to set up.
Update: Here's a twist: how about a category for what your employees are saying? Not necessarily as a Big Brother, monitoring the employees thing, but as a management of company communications thing?