“Listening” or tracking what people are saying about your brand or issue has always been hailed at the first most important step in building your social media or network strategy. Listening is the process tracking brand mentions or related key words and transforming a “river of noise” into insights that allow you to make decisions. Listening can help your organization craft messages/content, keep your finger on how your network thinks about your issue or brand, help with curation of content, identify influencers who you can transform into brand ambassadors, or address or understand a potential crisis early in the game.
The mechanics are identifying your keywords and picking a tool that can collect mentions and set up a dashboard. The tools range from free to professional tools like Radian 6. Here’s a step-by-step approach to listening.
Whether you are a large organization with professional tools or small organization using free tools, the most important and valuable part of the process is the sense-making of the data. You need to understand positive/negative mentions as well as changes in the volume. My colleague, Lucy Bernholz, found a terrific example of such an analysis and shared it via a collaborative pinboard.
What if you are a smaller organization that can’t afford to hire an outside consultant to do the analysis or use a paid tool? With a little discipline and 15-30 minutes of quiet time, you can do an analysis of your mentions – if the volume isn’t too huge. It involves a content analysis and a little counting. Here’s a template.
Does your organization make sense of your organization’s brand mentions by analyzing positive/negative and the change in volume? What tools are you using? What have you discovered?