Maximize Social Business had a great article by Courtney Ramirez entitled, ”How to ‘Spy’ Your Way to Better Social Media Writing“ which got me thinking on what social listening really means in marketing.
Stalking, or spying, in the usual sense seems creepy, but not when it comes to figuring out how to write and engage with your audience through social media. In this sense, it means to listen to your online audience. You have a wealth of tools at your fingertips to keep an eye on the “heartbeat” of your industry, prospects and even your clients by “listening” to them via social media.
Marketers have spent years trying to figure out who their audience is and how to market to them. They’ve used tactics such as surveys, focus groups, psychographic profiling and more. When the digital age hit, it became even more of a struggle.
With so many social media platforms out there, and so many different ways to connect and engage, it’s overwhelming to most people to figure out the best way to market their products and services to the right people, at the right time and in the right way.
However, social media is also a great way to zero-in on your target audience. It can take something as easy as tracking certain keywords and phrases, or paying attention to the news in your specific industry. Spying through social media helps you hone your social media writing style, and to position your marketing efforts strategically.
Once you understand that your business must embrace its role in social media so it’s not left behind or becomes less competitive within its industry, the next step is to make sure your interaction within social media is engaging and authentic.
When you engage with others through social media, it means you’re reaching out to the right people at the right time with the right message. But because there are so many variables from business to business, it’s also easy to do what’s called “shotgun marketing” where you “shoot” out a plethora of messages without a plan or purpose across numerous social media platforms just hoping to hit something.
Instead, target a specific audience by spying, which will also help you become better at communicating through social media. What do we really mean by “spying” or “stalking” your audience? It comes down to listening, watching, and observing. Pay close attention to what people in your industry are talking about so you can create the right message for the right people, and know when to share it with them.
Here are some ways you can “stalk” your way to better social media posts:
- Find your target – Every business, including yours, has a target audience waiting to hear from you. Remember to be specific and monitor what is going on in your industry so you can create amazing social media posts targeted to the right audience. Your target audience interests may change slightly. Use social media listening to be aware of those changes so your message will be the most relevant.
- Figure out what to share – Many business owners struggle with what to share on their social media. The best way to figure this out is to find out what questions your clients and prospects are asking, or what problems they need solved. These make great topics for discussion! Also you can answer questions your competitors are afraid to answer to set you apart!
- Keeping it fresh – Spying on your targeted audience or your industry news will help you find out the latest keywords, phrases, and buzzwords that are grabbing the most attention. Learn how to use tools like hashtags to make this job easier.
- Who to spy on – As mentioned above, there are tons of social media platforms available. Although it’s difficult to know which ones to be monitoring, know this – it’s easy to observe everyone and everything too. You just have to carve out specific times and focus on certain groups – your competition, prospects, and clients. Lean how to segment Twitter lists, create Google+ circles, etc. to make this job easier.
- Make thoughtful comments – Many times just by commenting on an influencers post, you can get a deeper insight into that particular topic that post was based on. It’s a great way to springboard your idea into a post of your own. Personally I have found that Google+ offers the best platform currently for engagement. Adding a comment is more than just saying, “nice post” or “good job”, it’s trying to add value to the conversation.
You can also stay on top of the latest buzz with industry-related alerts (Google Alerts), targeted lists (Twitter and Facebook), or circles (Google+). You can also use the tracking and analysis options through your social media platforms, or use a tool like Social Snap or HootSuite.
These tools let you track which platforms are getting you the best results and where you are connecting with your audience the most.
Spying, or stalking, your way through social media may sound daunting, but it will help you target your marketing and improve your social media writing style.