Social media monitoring is the practice of monitoring social media for topics and mentions that are of interest to your company or brand. Social media monitoring is generally discussed with in the context of online reputation management. However, social media monitoring can also be used to help promote a brand, aid customer service, contribute to product development, and measure off line marketing efforts, among other things.
Here, I am going to talk about how to use social media monitoring to build relationships for SEO and brand building. Why are we interested in building relationships? Building relationships are at the core of every aspect of Internet marketing. Every blogger that links to you is building a budding relationship with your site/brand. When people talk about your company in social media, they are doing so because in their mind they have formed a relationship with your company. And, the stronger that these relationships are, the more strength and influence you have.
I think there are generally two ways of developing solid relationships online. The first way is developing outstanding content that draws your audience in and speaks to them on a unique level. In doing this you are forming an automatic bond with your audience. The second way is to monitor social media for conversations that surround topics and ideas that have to do with your brand or products. These conversations will be your gateway to dialogue where relationships will begin.
Before we start our monitoring campaign, it is important to understand the difference between building relationships and a pitch. When you engage a user on social media, you need to be mindful of the fact that you are approaching them as a stranger. Which means that your dialogue needs to be transparent and authentic in order to build trust. Starting your dialogue with a direct pitch is the worst way to build trust and authenticity in social media.
Social media users are looking for avenues for communication and sharing ideas around topics they enjoy. They are not looking for marketing managers to sell them on products and ideas. Often times, your first engagement with the user shouldn’t be in anyway a pitch or mention of your company. You should always try to establish an authentic bond with the user before trying to convert them. Remember this is not a pitch but an avenue to build relationships.
When and where?
When engaging social media users is important to you participate in the freshest conversations. Users do not want to revisit a conversation that took place three days ago. Therefore make sure that your social media monitoring tool is setup to send email alerts and organize your RSS feeds with freshest content first.
Choosing the right method to engage is important when forming a dialogue. Twitter is a good avenue for conversations that require discussion. However, the fast pace means that engaging the user sooner than later is important. Blog comments can be an ideal place to engage users however back-and-forth dialogue may not be suitable. Therefore, when commenting on blogs use it as an opportunity to introduce yourself and your main ideas. Then, if you are successful you can bridge the comment into other areas of social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Also remember when leaving comments, not to leave a link or direct pitch. Most bloggers are savvy enough to spot spam and do not appreciate unauthentic comments.
With every social media monitoring campaign, selection of keywords is a vital to having a successful monitoring experience. The wrong keywords can result in chasing down the wrong conversations and missing out on the ones that matter most. However, it’s important to understand that each monitoring campaign needs to select different types of keywords depending on the goals. Here we are going to look at different types of keywords that should be monitored while building relationships.
- Brand mentions. Monitoring brand mentions is one of the best ways to start a dialogue and build relationships. Often times people that mention brand names within social media are looking for an avenue to discuss different experiences they’ve had with your company. While some of these experiences may be negative, it still serves as an outlet to begin a dialogue for relationship building. However, positive mentions can be a valuable entry points to start a discussion regarding your brand and the user’s future involvement with your products or company. This type of dialogue will ensure that the user will be more likely to continue to discuss your brand in the future and possibly link or blog about your company.
- Industry terms. Industry terms are terms that are specific to the industry that you exist in. For example if you are a real estate agent, you may monitor for terms such as broker, CMA, or foreclosure. All of these terms are industry specific and are often mentioned in the context of real estate. These terms are excellent for brand building and outreach marketing. It is often easier to start a dialogue surrounding these terms because you can use past experiences to add an unique viewpoint to the conversation.
- Personal brands. These terms are personal brands of important figures within your industry. For example, if you sell basketball jerseys you might monitor the names of famous NBA players. These terms are excellent to start dialogues about current events and news within your industry. It’s important to remember when discussing personal brands that you are talking about an individual therefore you should be as neutral as possible. Speaking negatively about an individual within your industry might have unwanted consequences to your brand. Even if the user is in agreement with you, others watching may not be.
- Primary and secondary terms. It’s also important to know the difference between primary and secondary terms. Primary terms are terms that are directly related to your company’s products or brand. For example, if you sell cheese, a primary term may be Kraft or Velveeta. Secondary terms are terms that have to do with your industry but maybe aren’t as specific, for example Swiss cheese, American cheese, or pepper jack. Often, it is easier to begin a dialogue with secondary terms because it helps establish trust and authenticity and ensures that the user is not barraged with a sales pitch right from the beginning.
So you probably read this entire article and now are asking yourself, wait – what about the links?
Links and other benchmarks (like direct sales) are important goals with in relationship building. Without these goals, your relationship building efforts won’t have direction. However, links are icing on the cake; they should never be considered until after a direct relationship has been built on authenticity and trust. Your primary goal with relationship building is building a strong brand that can be trusted where users will refer others to you and discuss you within social media. If you are successful at that, then links are inevitable! So get out there and start monitoring social media and building strong relationships today!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.