Whether you are building a brand from scratch or your current social media / digital PR presence doesn’t seem to be working out, there are some things you can do today to get going in the right direction. An important part of social media is knowing how to track, and using the tools available to you. Getting things setup from the get go will streamline your whole process, and ensure you aren’t missing out on some potentially fruitful opportunities. This is the second in a series of checklists I created to cover the bare minimum of what needs to be done on social, how to ensure you’re going in the right direction and what questions to ask yourself about your social media presence. Again, we can’t include full knowledge of all the latest trends, and lots of research is probably in order on your end BUT if you thoughtfully start tracking online conversations, you’ll be setup for engaging others and creating content that is relevant and will stick with your audience. Download the PDF checklist to follow along.
The very first thing I do when BRINK takes on a new social media account, is edit my Google Alerts to include their brand name, and anything relevant sub-terms that people might be talking about. It’s an essential start to gauge interest in that brand and its competitors. Mining the links Google drops in your mailbox each day can be the source of your very first posts. Note: Google Alerts are useless if you aren’t taking inventory of the relevant content Google finds for you each day or week. Marry your Content Calendar (which you can find in my last checklist post) with your Google Alerts. When you find relevant articles in your Google Alerts, drop them into the calendar for posting well into the future. Some of what you’ll find with Google Alerts will warrant attention NOW (say, Cool Hunting just posted about your brand… don’t wait to engage with that) but others can be shuffled in to fill out your calendar. Tip: You do not want to only be posting about yourself! Consider the 10:3:1 rule. That means, 10 posts you make should not be about yourself but should be useful to your audience (who you have to identify), 3 posts should be about your brand (find those with Google Alerts, or link to your blog) and 1 post should be a direct pitch for your brand (make a meme, share a story, lead folks to a landing page). So don’t post every article you find about yourself ad nauseum. You’ll bore your community and look like a jerk. Instead, consider adding Google Alerts that bring up lists or tips related to your industry, but not about you specifically.
If Google Alerts is your boss, your blogroll is your best friend. While Google Alerts can hone in on exactly what you need to be paying attention to, and provide you with clear tasks, interesting blogs can give you little tips on what content is cool / hip / on the brink (haha) / making buzz in your industry. Note: Blogs change quickly and need to be checked in with a lot. Make a clear list of bookmarks in your browser, and segment that list into clear categories. Keep another documenting with observations on what you’re finding. That document is not about content, but about best practices. What they are doing? How they are presenting information? Observe and reflect that in your own posts. Tip: A good way to find relevant blogs is to find ONE or better yet a handful of awesome blogs and follow their trail. Who do they follow on Twitter? Who have they posted about? Does that person have a blog? Seek out these links and follow them. Then add them to your bookmarks too. Use the interesting / compelling / useful-to-your-audience articles you find in the blogs you regular check in with as part of the 10 posts you share that are NOT about yourself (remember the 10:3:1 rule?) Another Tip: Check out these blogs Alexa Ratings here. Knowing their audience and reach will be useful for gauging their popularity. This information can be helpful when you are forming a Digital PR strategy. For example, if they have a large audience and influence in your vertical, they might be worth a lot of effort when seeking out people to pitch a story about your brand.
Though this part of your strategy is going to probably be the most unwieldy of all the tracking you’ll do, there are a ton of tools out there to track conversations on social media. Once you master these tools, the confusing sprawl of social will be much easier to manage. Note: There are many tools out there, and some of them are crap. But I’ll let you in on some of my social secrets. A few of the tools I use are…
Hootsuite – Create a new stream for each brand you manage and set up searches for relevant terms and hashtags. That way, you can start and track a hashtag campaign of your own, or spot fans of yours who have yet to follow or @ mention you but are tweeting about you. Example, add your restaurant name as a search term so when so and so is saying “I love <insert your restaurant name here>!” you can find them and engage. This is also great way to spot and track trends, and find influencers to follow and engage.
Buzzsumo – Who in your industry’s content is spreading like wildfire? Who should you engage so maybe they will tweet you back or better yet retweet your content? Find out with this tool. Note: Take things up a notch and post some really useful or really funny content related to your shared interest and cc: @ mention them.
Trendsmap – What hashtags should YOU be using? Well what are people in your area using? How are they using it? Are their tweets spreading? Find out with this tool. And jump in to a conversation (if – and only if – it jives with your brand).
Picdeck – A cool new tool that helps you manage your Instagram feed. Just wish it let you toggle between multiple accounts.
Why won’t anyone let us do that yet??
Also, don’t forget to…
- Track tags on Tumblr. The process has changed a bit. Search for a term in the admin panel, change “search” in the URL to “tagged” and then click “track tag.”
- Search for hashtags on Facebook. Especially if you’re considering using one. See our first checklist for tips on hashtag usage on FB.
Tip: I will go a little more in depth into reporting later (my “measure checklist will drop next week), and share my own reporting template I use for my clients. Still, it’s important to note at this stage that tracking how things are doing is a necessary component of successful social campaigns. Even if this stage, you are simply observing and not quantifying the results of social, you should be retooling based on that at least.
This part of your strategy is simple and essential but sometimes difficult to stick to. You need to adopt a schedule for monitoring all that you set up, and really try to not deviate from it. It should become a part of your day. Something some intrinsic you don’t even think about it. You just run through your checklist, quicker and quicker every time. Note: After doing a quick survey of all that is happening around your brand online, assess what needs to be addressed and make a short list of action items. It helps to have a few polite responses (written in the brand tone – which I discussed in the first checklist post) in the bank for commonly asked questions or comments. Things like “favorite” a post or “liking” a comment are easy if you have a system in place. Responses that require more thought should be added to the action list and quickly ticked through after the easy stuff is out of the way. Time is of the essence because digital moves quickly! Tip: I carve out a chunk of every morning to monitor all accounts that I manage. I methodically run down each one at a time – so I don’t get confused bouncing back and forth. Then, in the evenings before I leave, I quickly check back in again. I only deviate from this if I’m participating in an active conversation with an influencer, in which case I might set up alerts or check in on that account once an hour.
Next week…. I single out what analytics you should be watching, how to pull together a useful report and how you can MEASURE (and retool) your way to successful social media posting.
As always, tweet us what you think about all this social media talk.