Social media monitoring is listening for conversations that are going on in social media. It’s looking for opportunities to be able to add value to those conversations and interact with people that are asking questions and talking about things that are relevant to your business.
Understand Your Buyer Personas
How do we decide what to do social monitoring for? It all starts with understanding our buyer personas -- the semi-fictional representation of one of your ideal clients based on actual research and some select educated speculation. For starters, our buyer personas should help us narrow down and prioritize which social media channels it pays to monitor in the first place.
For example, if we find out that Facebook is incredibly important for a particular buyer persona but LinkedIn isn't, it would be crazy to spend a lot of effort listening for conversations on LinkedIn. Conversely, if Facebook isn't relevant for particular buyer persona and LinkedIn is, you’ll want to spend more time monitoring social media on LinkedIn for those relevant conversations.
We need to understand who our most important buyer personas are so we're focusing on the right social media platforms. Then, within each of those social media platforms, what we learned from building those buyer personas will be incredibly instructive. We’ll learn about groups that they tend to hang out in on these different platforms. We’ll learn about hashtags and topics that they tend to talk about.
How to Monitor Social Media
Lists and streams can be set up in our social media software to figure out who is relevant that we want to be monitoring. With some software applications, you can create lists of different people, similar to Twitter lists. You can create lists of marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, and customers that you want to monitor for their conversations.
Depending on how well built out your social media team is, you may have different people from your company assigned to monitor different topics -- either by buyer persona or possibly by different life cycle stages. For example, someone from sales is going to be very interested in monitoring conversations from people that are sales qualified leads and sales opportunities. Post-sales, when someone is already a paying client of yours, your customer service team should be very interested in monitoring conversations from existing customers.
And for strangers who have no idea that your company exists yet, who haven't converted on your website to become a lead, let alone marketing qualified or sales qualified, monitoring keywords and monitoring hashtags can be very helpful. Your buyer personas should help to narrow down where it pays to listen for those conversations.
Entering into the Conversation
If this is relatively new to you, my advice is to spend at least a couple of days listening before you jump into the conversations. The reason being is that some people tend to act like the obnoxious guest at a party who jumps in inappropriately to the conversation, dominates the conversation, does 90% of the talking, and adds no value to that conversation.
It's super critical if you want to be able to develop and cultivate the right relationships online, you need to do the exact opposite. You need to figure out how people are talking, what they're talking about, and what they care most about. Only jump in when you know you can add value by sharing a related blog post, by answering someone's question, and by generally making a positive contribution.
That way, no one in their right mind would hit the report flag, spam button, block you, or kick you out of these groups. That's not a good thing -- we put a lot of care into differentiating our companies and positioning are companies in the right way, so we’re seen as thought leaders, trusted advisors, and subject matter experts.
To do this the right way, we need to make sure that we’re showing empathy and high emotional intelligence about what matters most to them.
The Bottom Line
Social media monitoring is a very powerful technology tool, but it can only be used the right way when you're coming at this from the right mindset. It is all about their problems -- not your problems -- their problems.
Use social monitoring to make sure that you're keeping track of these conversations, interacting in a way that adds value to the conversation, and positioning yourself in the right light to be seen as a differentiated thought leader.
Do you monitor social media for your business and industry? Share your thoughts in the section for comments below.
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