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Protecting your Brand Through Listening

by Carrie Aker, guest blogger
Social media is not just about putting the information out there. You need to hear what people are saying. Social media is a two-way conversation. So, even though it is an electronically based conversation is important that you don’t do all the talking.

There are several ways you can monitor what is being said about your brand on the internet. You need to find a few tools that you feel comfortable with and then employ them as part of your social media strategy. Yes, listening is part of the strategy.

The best listening tools are platforms that allow you to manage all or most of your social media efforts from one location. You need to decide which tool you feel comfortable with and which platform will best meet your needs for posting and listening.

Here are some tools you can consider:

Hootsuite


Overview:
Hootsuite is a tool that allows multiple users to post on behalf of your company. This platform also lets you post to multiple social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, ping.fm and Facebook. Plus you can have multiple accounts on each site all of which can be managed from this one platform. You can plan ahead to schedule tweets, which is great if you are going into a busy business season or on vacation. You can also short urls from Hootsuite. If you use a shortened url from this platform you will have the ability to track some of the statistics on your posts like the number of clicks on the link and where they came from. You can have a few different feeds on your dashboard, including search terms so that you can see what people are saying about your brand.
Cost: $0

CoTweet


UPDATE: As of Feb 2012, CoTweet no linger exists.
Overview:
CoTweet is great for customer service driven businesses because you can have multiple users managing this platform and make assignments so that people you have the right people responding to the incoming tweets. CoTweet will allow you to manage up to five Twitter accounts from this site, but you cannot manage any other social media accounts, like Facebook, from CoTweet. You can search keywords on Twitter from CoTweet, but you won’t have a search term feed on your dashboard.
Listening tool:
You can conduct key word searches as well as manage your @replies and direct messages that are sent to your Twitter accounts.
Cost: $0

Tweetdeck


Overview:
Tweetdeck is a tool that you download to your computer and will use from your desktop. Tweetdeck allows you to manage multiple twitter accounts as well as you Facebook profile. The only downside to Tweetdeck is that there you won’t have the ability to have multiple users on the same Tweetdeck platform. You do have access to post to various social media sites such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Twitter. You can have several different feeds on your desktop application at one time which includes keyword searches that you set up on Twitter.
Cost: $0
These platforms are a great place to start because they allow you to post and listen all from one place. You can easily see what people are saying about your brand and using a platform that you’re comfortable with will help you be nimble in your response. Other things you should consider doing are setting up Google Alerts for keywords about your brand and your industry. Google Alerts is passive in that it will search the internet, including blog posts, for mentions on your key words. The alerts are sent to you daily, as they happen or once a week.
Knowing what people are saying about your brand will help shape your next steps. You may not always want to or need to respond to things you hear, but there are opportunities for your brand to benefit if you are paying attention to what is being said.
Carrie Aker
SocialMARCOM
www.socialmar.com
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/socialmarcom

Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/grsxu9v
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