You’ve heard it time and time again (probably right here when you have read our articles discussing the topic) that it is important to monitor the buzz surrounding your company when you start in social media. There are ways to do it that can cost you a bit of money and deliver a more robust and detailed analysis of your efforts, and there are a number of free services you can use that may not be as detailed and dynamic, but can serve the purpose nicely when budgets are limited.
The question that arises, however, is when should you start monitoring. You might think that is an easy answer. When you start posting stuff, obviously, you might say. The answer may surprise you. No, you should start monitoring before you post a single image or note to your Facebook page or before you send a single Tweet.
What? You might be asking, why would I start monitoring something I haven’t started yet? Ah, yes, you may not have started, but the blogosphere has existed for quite some time. It is a possibility that people are already discussing your company and your services before you even decide to move into the world of social media. You should take a look and see what people are doing and saying and that can truly help guide your social media efforts.
You sometimes hear the words “Share of Voice” being mentioned before companies start blogging or entering into the social media sphere. This means, what is your share of the collective buzz on the internet already? How much of what people are chatting about online is in reference to your company, what you do and the services or products you offer?
What is your Share of Voice? If you don’t know, it can be mighty hard to determine what best to put on your Facebook page. Should you even try putting up a Facebook page? You can also use various tools to determine the Share of Voice that your entire industry has. What are people talking about? Are they saying good things about what you and your company does or is the prevailing attitude very negative? How can you address things if it is negative? What can you do that will change that perception?
At the same time you may study and do your Share of Voice analysis and determine that no one is talking about you. Don’t be disheartened by that. It just means the land in the blogosphere is now ripe for you to start the conversation. It may just be that no one thought that there was anything to talk about as it relates to your particular industry. Now, you can prove them wrong. After all, it’s your business and it’s what excites you, so now you can share that passion with the rest of the world.
You need to take the pulse of the internet before you get started. It’s important to know what’s being said before you start saying more. How do you do that? Well, there are a number of online tools that can help. The free ones you can probably search and find on your own. This link is an excellent article by Ragan Communications that also offers some suggestions: http://www.ragan.com/SocialMedia/Articles/42771.aspx
Of course, once you do start, you should continue to monitor the pulse of the internet as it pertains to your company and your industry. It’s the best way to stay on topic and keep yourself focused on the things that will bring people to your social media efforts. You want people to read that blog and “like” you on Facebook, so you need to keep discussing what’s important to the blogosphere. Keep the monitor going and make sure there isn’t a time when the monitor flat-lines. If it does, you better be able to shock it back into life by posting, or you could get left behind.