You're Doing It Wrong
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Umm… You’re Doing It Wrong

If you have a habit of following people on Twitter, waiting till they follow you back, then promptly unfollowing them… YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

Two days ago, I was followed by two different digital marketing “experts.” I checked out their profiles, and they each seemed interesting, so I followed them back. The very next day I was unfollowed by both of them.

I hadn’t tweeted anything “controversial” in the 24 hours they were following me, so I knew that wasn’t the reason for the unfollow.

Then it dawned on me – these people only followed me to get me to follow them back. LAME. That’s not how any of this works!

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HEY! Are You Listening?
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HEY! Are You Listening?

It’s time to take social media monitoring to the next level (if you haven’t already) – it’s time to go beyond simple engagement metrics. It’s time to take on social listening.

Social listening is a massive and complicated undertaking, but it’s extremely important. Brands that are not monitoring what is being said in the social space about them and their products are missing out on huge opportunities – social listening and gauging social sentiment can help a marketer improve (or maintain) brand positioning and engage directly with actual or potential customers.

There are a number of tools in existence, some available for free and others for a fee, to assist organizations with social media listening. The platforms being monitored depend on the complexity of the tool, and usually how much you are paying for it. Many of them not only monitor social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+, but they also scan blogs and comments, Tumblr, forums, Q&A sites like Quora, bookmarking sites like Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, and other video and photo sharing sites. If set up properly, a brand can use these tools to not only monitor mentions of and sentiment related to their own brand across platforms, they can also measure social sentiment related to specific products, competitors, and industry-related key terms.

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Social Channel Selection & the Content Sandwich

Back when the social media revolution began, there were few options available to businesses – blogs, forums and MySpace were the highlights. Shortly thereafter, Facebook, which began as a platform for college students became available to the masses and Twitter launched… fast-forward to today. Social media now takes the form of networks (Facebook, Google+, LinkedInMySpace), videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), images (Instagram, Flickr), blogs (Blogger, WordPress), microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr), chats and video chats (SnapChat, WhatsApp, Skype), bookmarking/content-sharing sites (Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, SlideShare), communities (reddit), music (Spotify, Last.FM, SoundCloud), Q&A forums (Quora, Ask.FM), location-based platforms (Foursquare, Swarm, Yelp), review sites (Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor), and shopping (Amazon, eBay).

Online social opportunities for each and every business are endless. Unfortunately, time and money are not. Think you can just choose your favorite platform and dive-in head first? Probably not a good idea. It’s unlikely that your entire target audience will be devoted to one social site (see below). In fact, they most likely use several different social platforms at different times for different reasons. So try to be everywhere, right? NO. You’ll spread yourself too thin.

Social Media Matrix

Pew Research Center, 2013

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