Are you listening on social media?I am sick and tired of hearing entrepreneurs and business owners saying that social media does not work. They do not want to invest time, money or effort because they say the ROI is miserable. The first question I ask them in terms of their social media strategy is:

The first step in defining your social media strategy is to listen to online conversations with in your market segment. What’s being said? Who’s saying it? This will help you determine what conversations you should join, who influences them and how you can participate and add value.

Most businesses view social media as a broadcast channel – like a website. Create your channel and post stuff daily and you will have success! You will have hoards of followers who then convert into raving customers who bring in boatloads of money!

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Social media is all about listening, participating and connecting. If you do not have a clue about what is being talk about or what is being said, you can not communicate with your target audience and gain engagement.

Many businesses launch their social media campaigns by launching a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn page and expecting people to start following and showing loyalty.

Here’s an offline example to illustrate the point:

On your next visit to a trade conference, if you were to and hold up a sign above your head with your brand logo and services or products listed, would you expect people to come up to you and start a meaningful conversation? Conversational marketing requires listening and understanding, and it’s this conversation that will dictate your social media strategies.

Here is a list of different categories of social media sites with specific examples in each category. You can begin your listening process here. For each category I have listed an activity that you can do to gain maximum intelligence.

Bookmarking

 

 

Tag websites and search through websites bookmarked by other people.

 

 

News

 

Crowd source, vote for articles and comment on them.

 

Networking

 

Add friends, comment on profiles, join groups and participate in discussions.

 

Media Sharing

 

Share content, presentations, documents, photos and videos. Share photos or videos and comment on user submissions.

 

 

Microblogging

 

Post short updates, photos and videos to your followers.

 

Here are some popular social media monitoring tools that you could use to listen to the conversation:

Once you listen and understand what conversations are important to your target audience, you can then start entering such conversations and post stuff related to them. You can spot trending topics in your sector and ride the waves. Just remember to always be in an engage mode rather than a broadcast mode!

Posted by Mash Bonigala

Mash is a Brand Differentiator & Strategist, Film Maker, Traveller, Author and Zen Practitioner. He loves mindfulness, branding, online marketing and startup business challenges.