Are you listening?

March 19, 2013 Ronda Online Presence

The online conversation has grown to the point that large companies now employ people just to post, blog and tweet to get their message out on the vast number of sites referred to as social media. With all of that chatter going on, businesses must realize that some of the conversations pertain to them.

Small business owners may not think they have the time to monitor what’s being said about them online, but it really is important to listen and tools are available to help. When someone takes the time to post something about you or comment on something you’ve put out there, you need to know what they are saying in order to respond appropriately.

In Spredfast’s Social Business Textbook businesses are encouraged to zero in on the people talking about them and what’s being said. They recommend that any relevant conversations about your brand be tracked in order to have a detailed history of the people and the topics that relate to your business. This may sound like something that only large companies with a marketing department could accomplish, but there are ways that the small business owner can listen without hiring extra help or spending every waking moment online.

Time management tools for social listening are out there if you know where they are and take the time to set them up. Websites like Hootsuite allow you to monitor Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ Pages and others from one convenient dashboard. Not only can you use this site to easily post to all of your accounts in one place, but you can monitor your social conversations as well. Analytics are available, and reports can be emailed to you at preferred intervals if you choose.

Another tool is Google Alerts, which can surf the Web for you and email you when your name, product, industry or any keyword(s) you select are mentioned in online news, videos, blogs, discussions or books. Socialmention is another resource that allows you to search specific social media sources and receive alerts.

Automatic notifications are a time-saving way to monitor your social media. Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp and other sites will email you when someone replies to a post, sends you a message or creates an online review of your business. These messages can be received on your smart phone or tablet so you can quickly reply if necessary.

In a nutshell, businesses are a part of the online conversation whether they want to be or are aware of it or not. Companies need to pay attention to what is being said, especially if they are initiating part of the conversation. Just like when we speak face-to-face, we expect someone to listen and hopefully respond. If your potential and established customers deserve your attention in person, they deserve it online as well.


About Ronda Hawkins

Ronda Hawkins, training coordinator for the ASBTDC at Arkansas Tech University, has experience in sales, business administration, business management, business education, and small business ownership.

online marketing, online presence, small business, social media,

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