In yesterday’s interview with Dave Kerpen, Kerpen noted that the most important part of creating a social media plan is listening.
“Listening, listening, listening,” he said. “Social media allows listing at scale. It is not a talking platform as much as it is a listening platform. Before setting up a Facebook page, use social media to listen to your customers, your prospects, your staff and your competitors.”
The truth is that word of mouth recommendations are stronger than any advertisement. Do you buy a beer because the ad tells you it’s good or because your friends tell you it’s good?
The only way to find out what people are really saying about your brand is through social listening.
How to Listen
The question is: how can we listen to what people are saying about us?
An online article by Nick Bennett, “4 Great (& free) tools to measure social sentiment,” provides a look at a couple of nice services that you can use for free to start the listening process.
Bennett cites some great statistics, such as “The average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. (Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010).” He also looks at a few nice tools for monitoring social conversation.
(Please note that TwitterSheep, which he recommends in his article, is no longer in service. Also, Wordle is a word cloud generator, but does not measure social sentiment.)
Social Mention is the godfather of sentiment measurements. It searches blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the web to find any mentions of your keywords. It then breaks down your results by sentiment, the social strength of your brand and the passion of your fans. It’s not perfect, but I’ve been using it for some time and I think it’s pretty handy.
Twendz gives you a real time look at how your brand is being discussed on Twitter, including a breakdown of current sentiment.
Bennett’s article did not mention this little gem, but I think you’ll like it. While it doesn’t offer sentiment measurement statistics, Storify does allow you a real-time look at what people are saying about your brand. You can then pull people’s posts from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. into a “story” which you can share with your team. Give it a try!
I’ll close with some words of wisdom from Bennett’s article:
“Tracking immediate action was always ‘the’ indicator of success. But it only tells a portion of the communication story. Awareness is still being raised, more of your audience have been impressed or interested in your message or brand. In some cases leading to referral, purchase and advocacy.
The key thing that was and still is happening outside of these traditional broadcast measurement metrics is ‘social conversation’. This social conversation is the ‘sentiment’ of your brand on the social web and as more and more people move to social circles for recommendations and to tell and converse their own stories it becomes more important to ‘listen’ and measure.”
Until next time friends!