One of the best ways to get to know your audience is to find out where they hang out online and spend time with them. Ask questions; see how they respond. Answer questions too. Get involved and you’ll soon have an inside secret way to get information about your niche that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Monitoring conversations online can be a real boon to your business, increasing your bottom line exponentially.

Social media is not going away, and neither is the internet. Therefore you may as well use it as much as you can to improve your business. The fact is, you need to monitor the conversations going on to ensure that your customers are happy and that the entire community is well informed.

1. Use Keywords – Keywords (also known as “SEO keywords,” “keyphrases,” or “search queries”) are words and phrases that users type into search engines to find information on a particular topic. The keywords that you use on your website and your blog posts can also be used in your social media. To monitor social media accounts, come up with some keywords for your niche including your business name, product name, and your name. If you want, you can also use your competitors’ names in order to find out more information about them. These keywords can be searched, and people can use them as hashtags to find your business online!

2. Control the Message – If you really want to take monitoring to a new level, seek to control the conversation. Simply lead conversations by redirecting them if they’re going off track and getting into issues you’d rather not discuss or have discussed. There are lots of ways to adjust your copy writing and content writing to control the message and steer them towards your products or services without being too “salesy.” You can also control the message by controlling comments on your posts.

3. Identify What You Want to Monitor – Before starting your monitoring you need to know what you want to monitor. You may want to separately monitor your product, your reach, your competition and so forth, so you might want to set up separate situations to ensure that you can keep track of each part you’re monitoring. There are so many metrics that you can analyze with your social media, but not all of that information is actually useful to you. If your goal is to grow your social media presence, you’ll have different goals than someone with an established channel running a marketing campaign. Do some research for what metrics will matter to you based on your goal if you need help identifying them.

4. Identify Where You’ll Monitor – You probably won’t have time to monitor across all platforms at once. Pick the platform that has the most impact on your business right now. For example, if you’re using Twitter or Facebook more, monitor them. There are ways to monitor all of the platforms that you use by utilizing a social media management or analytics tool. There are many out there, all with varying price points and data that they track and monitor. Before paying for one, make sure that it’s going to be able to track the metrics and data that you’ve designated to be important to your business.

5. Determine Impact – Some product mentions or conversations are truly inconsequential to your brand and you don’t need to jump in with those types of conversations. Only jump in and guide the conversation when it really matters. Every moment that you spend on social media needs to be calculated – is this action going towards my goal? There is no need to comment on a post or engage with a post if it doesn’t benefit you in some way. Being mindful of the impact of your actions on your social media pages will help you take the right actions!

6. Search Individual Sites – On each search engine site, use your keyword list to search to see what comes up. You can also set up a Google Alert to give you information from numerous sources any time your keywords come up. It’s important to keep track of this because you need to re-evaluate your keywords at least twice a year to determine of those keywords are still getting the right attention.

7. Gather Data – You’ve decided what data is important to you, and what platforms you’re going to keep track of. It’s important to gather that analytical data on a regular basis. You can decide whether that’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. When you gather data, the best thing to do is to put it into a spreadsheet. This way you can get all the information together so that you can analyze it and use it more easily. This will help you determine which information is important too. With the functionality of spreadsheets, you can also easily make graphs and compare data month to month. Overall, gathering data in this method and saving it will be useful in the long run, and should be developed as a regular practice.

Using social media to monitor the buzz going on about you and your business or niche is an important part of becoming the go-to person in your area of expertise. The more you know about the conversations that are happening, the more you’re going to appear knowledgeable about your field. That knowledge becomes trust, and the more your potential clients trust you the more likely they are to become paying customers!

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