Community Management, Digital Marketing, Social Business, Search Marketing Advice, Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Staffing and Operations

Use SEO to Improve Your Social Media Listening

listening e1319918570260 Use SEO to Improve Your Social Media ListeningListen! It’s the first commandment of every social media program. Pay attention. Find out who is talking about you, in what capacity, and where.

It makes sense. You can’t use social media as the new telephone unless you know how to get a dial tone first. But almost every company I come across could and should get better at listening.

Listen Harder

Too often, companies assert that indeed they are listening to the social media conversations about them. But then when you dig deeper you find that they are listening almost entirely for mentions of their brand name. That’s listening with only one ear open, at best. In their social conversations, customers do not go to great lengths to mention your company in precise and perfectly phrased ways. And that goes double for Twitter, which features horrific crimes against abbreviations and a litany of #notascleverasyouthink hash tags.

At every price point, there are many outstanding tools available to help your company listen to social conversations. But they are just tools – empty vessels that only work their magic based on your commands. The real work must come from you, and it requires taking a broader look at what you should be listening FOR in social media.

Breadth Equals Listening Acumen

Not just your brand name, but also your products, employees, retailers, suppliers, events, and competitors. And often, the best business intelligence from the social Web comes from conversations that are about your category, not a particular company or product in that category.

If I tweeted “I sure wish I could find noise-canceling earbuds that were actually comfortable.” (i was recently in the market for such an item), even if you were listening for all the items listed above (employees, retailers, etc) you would likely never find this tweet, robbing you of product marketing insight – and possibly the chance at a real-time engagement and sale,

To solve this listening breadth dilemma, what I recommend is to take the list of keywords that you have targeted in paid and/or organic search, and incorporate them into your social listening, too. If you care enough to pay Google a per-click fee for that term, you certainly should care enough to listen for it in social media.

Go make this happen and you’ll be amazed at how much more robust (and useful) your social listening program becomes.

  • ricpratte

    Jay- From a lead generation/marketing perspective I’m totally aligned with you. I like your concept of expanding your listening breadth.

    My concern comes from those you view this as the only listening view point. People within a business have many different roles and everyone should have ears across the social web. Things like recruitment, product usage, unsatisfied consumers may not show up. I guess this is all part of having this be everyone’s skill not just a job! :)

    Ric

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @ricpratte Absolutely agree. We talk a lot about this in The NOW Revolution, the notion that multiple people should be listening for stuff that is relevant to their corner of the enterprise. What I find in reality though is that listening is often still centralized. Baby steps!

  • rmadison.spiral16

    Kick-ass post, Jay! [fist bump]

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @rmadison.spiral16 Thanks mucho. REading your post now!

  • JannMirchandani

    Great post! Its right up there with “its not about you, its about your audience”.

  • sdolukhanov

    Funny, I actually found this post because I’m doing basically what you wrote about..

    One of hundreds of SEO keywords for our website is “social media listening”, and I’ve also plugged it in to our software to track the industry, related themes, and overall to find out what people are saying about social media listening in general. I also do this for dozens of other related phrases and words. I suppose you wouldn’t be surprised to hear how effective this is to drive leads to our website. So honestly, I couldn’t agree more :)

    Good post.

    Best,

    - Sergei Dolukhanov

    sdolukhanov (twitter)

    http://www.evoapp.com

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @sdolukhanovsdolukhanov It works!

  • MaryBethC

    It probably only takes 5 minutes. That’s all the time I give my kids and in 5 minutes, they run out of things to say. I think we feel it’s going to take a lot of time to listen, but it only takes 5 minutes. http://gettingmyessayspublished.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/five-minutes/

  • Ezee

    So I’m listening to all of this industry stuff that totally pertains to our brand/company. Now what?

    • sdolukhanov

      @Ezee Now you need a way to correlate it to your business, tying the data you find to your key performance indicators. It would help to have more than just a social media monitoring product, and something more along the lines of social media business intelligence.

      Listening is the easy part; deriving actionable insight and tying it to your business is the hard part. You need a tool that can do it, people that can help you along, and a sound internal strategy to put all the pieces together.

      - Sergei

      sdolukhanov

      http://www.evoapp.com

  • HotSpotPromo

    We’ve done this with our social media, and are finding it really helpful. It’s a point so many miss. Thanks for bringing it out into the open again!

  • Twel5

    Great post. I’m writing a similar article on my own site soon. I did enjoy being one of the few who actually targeted keywords in addition to branded terms though. It all goes back to the rise of #SEOcial.

    (Article about SEOcial here: http://timpwelsh.com/2011/10/28/seocial-social-media-and-seo-work-best-together/)

  • http://www.fdcstudio.co.uk/ adam_seo_cow

    I love it when people connect the SEO dots! Great little post! Thanks

  • http://blogs.communitiesrus.in/communityconnect sanjayshetty

    Hi Jay,

    Good article especially the part about listening “Not just your brand name, but also your products, employees, retailers, suppliers, events, and competitors….. ” this hits the nail on the head!!!

    Infact to help people understand this I created a stick figure video, explaining how to go about listening across social channels. Especially for those who’re just beginning this journey, let me know what you think :-)

    Regards,

    Sanjay Shetty

  • http://blogs.communitiesrus.in/communityconnect sanjayshetty

    Hi Jay,

    Good article especially the part about listening “Not just your brand name, but also your products, employees, retailers, suppliers, events, and competitors….. ” this hits the nail on the head!!!

    Infact to help people understand this I created a stick figure video, explaining how to go about listening across social channels. Especially for those who’re just beginning this journey, let me know what you think :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWd69HnpK3w

    Regards,

    Sanjay Shetty

  • http://browneknows.com/ browneknows

    Wonderful point! Last year, I was hired to research a market using social media. Not only did I provide new insight into their market, but my data was much more current than any survey data provided by research companies.

  • http://mysocialmediapromo.com/ IamRex

    Hi jay, this seems really useful. But how do we really “take the list of keywords that you have targeted in paid and/or organic search, and incorporate them into your social listening, too” ?