Guest Post By John F. Gray
Remember the old dial tone, followed by the whirr grrrr and buzz zzz of that 28.8 kbit/s modem, all culminating in an unmistakable whisper? It was the sound of a new gold rush. Flash back and imagine what it must have been like 100 years earlier to have been one of the prospectors making the grueling trek to the Gold Rush in the Klondike.
Dreams of striking it rich would have been quickly tempered by a harsher, desolate reality. In the past 15 years the environment of the web has transitioned into it’s own chill. We’ve gone from an abundant wild west where you could pull yourself up by the bootstraps into a company town with a few large operators laying claim to a majority of the market. To survive today young companies need to be agile, mobile, and ahead of the curve.
One post that goes viral can make or break your business. In this environment the brands that want to make their mark in 2017 & beyond must monitor conversations in real time. Luckily there are a host of social listening tools that enable just that, rapidly searchable conversations that can be deciphered. The degree to which businesses harness these data points in their marketing is the difference between having a pulse and building out a presence where they never come.
Mentionmapp makes it delightfully easy to monitor the nodes between user conversations in real time. The Twitter based app allows you to get a sneak peak of the neural map that makes up your audience's impressions of your brand, product ecosystem, and wider world. Do you know what your audience thinks of you? The competition? Do you know what they use your product for or what they like to do? If not read on and learn how social listening tools can tell you just that. And give you the information you need to successfully engage your audience.
As the world gets more and more fast paced understanding our audience gets increasingly more difficult. Gone are the days of just a few key demographics and age groups. Let’s say you work for aerospace engineering company. No one expects space engine seals or fuel systems to be the sexiest topic on earth. But with a proper approach you can figure out what users in the space really care about. For example you might start with a search like NASA. Mentionmapp makes it extremely fast to view the most popular hashtags and users in the space. Which then provides further area for exploration.
When deciphering a complicated market that tends to fall around a specific profession use social listening to figure out what the most popular topics are and who the most influential people are. This will let you know what to talk about, and what other sub areas will generally attract your audience's attention.
While every business owner wishes customers would just forget about the competition and flock to you, the reality is far more complicated than that. Even if you strive to be the best provider in town there are a host of competing and comparable products, and even the convenience of visiting a grouping of competitors in one place. Understanding the milieu from which consumers decide to go with you over a competitor or similar experience is key to capitalizing on the most revenue. And creating a social media and content presence that capitalizes on their business.Even for an area as seemingly drab as a museum, there are a variety of influencers in the space talking about you and the competition. Luckily watching the nodes of tastemakers in your space, and competing businesses will allow you to understand how consumers view your brand. Better yet, watching the experiences of influencers will allow you to understand what kind of experience they had with you, or the competition, and by extension then understand what kind of experience you should be offering. Better yet you can seize the moment when competitors create a negative experience and fill the void in the market.
In his presentation at the 2016 International Journalism Festival, Josh Stearns noted that “MentionMapp allows you to see who the person is talking to and what they’re talking about, so it maps conversations and people.” This topographical viewpoint give you a full profile of what really matters to your audience and what they’re likely to respond to.
Understanding the main conduits of the conversations on social media as well as monitoring what other businesses consumers identify with you create the opportunity to directly understand how consumers feel about you. Better yet you can step in when experiences don’t satisfy our competitors fail.
Don’t get tricked by the numbers or trendlines. Conversations happen in real time, and nothing replaces the human connection. Social listening tools are amazing precisely because they allow us to connect directly with our audiences and the conversations they're having.
In 3 Often Overlooked Digital Marketing Truths Andrew Hutchinson writes of the perils of falling in love with vanity metrics. He says “audience size, alone, is not a valuable enough measure... What you really need is to conduct a thorough investigation of their social profiles in order to determine their actual level of engagement and influence.” Luckily social listening tools make it exceedingly easy to understand how much and with what your audience is engaging with. Better still you can easily pick out users talking about a specific topic and engage with them.
Don’t get myopic in your vision, numbers like shares may look great, but long term growth is dependent on building an excellent relationship with your audience. Monitoring social interactions so you can build relationship with your biggest fans is the key to success and a massive differentiator.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust
Quickly being able to peer into your target audiences conversation around your product, or the interests of a certain demographic is the difference between effective content marketing and being ignored. Ultimately there are many strategies one can use to visualize how information flows in your market and between users. Within that mixture social listening tools create an easy way for brands to discern what matters to their audience and meaningfully engage with their audience.
John F. Gray, Co-founder of Mentionmapp and freelance writer
John’s life tested, and always curious. BC born and raised, Vancouver’s been home for the past 35 years. He’s a freelance writer, and was the former West Coast editor @BetaKit. John cares about communicating our humanness in all he writes. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Communications) and a B.A. (English) both from Simon Fraser University.
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