I work daily with clients assisting them with using social media for their business successfully. One of the first things I try to do is teach that while it is important to use the mediums properly to reach out, it is even more important to have systems set up in place to monitor your business online.
Monitoring your business online? Yes, you need to know what consumers are saying about you, your company, products, & services. You can really impress your customers when you are paying attention to what they are saying and responding appropriately.
So how do you go about this? Well, there are actually a few very simple ways to accomplish your monitoring. The first, is through Google Alerts. Google Alerts allows you a quick and simple way to set up automatic notifications whenever the search engine picks up that term.
So, you would want to set up alerts for your personal name, your brand name, business name and any other ways that people may refer to those things your either produce or provide. This way you know whenever consumers reference your product or service, you know what is going on.
This is important for a plethora of reasons. First, say a customer writes a blog post about how wonderful your product is. If you took 30 seconds after receiving that blog post to go visit the post and leave a simple comment thanking them, you have instantly taken that person from being a happy client to a fan for life!
Or, on the other hand, you had a client that wasn’t very happy with your product and decided to blast your company publicly in a blog post. When you see the post hit your inbox you can quickly begin the resolution process to correct whatever issue they may have.
A story that recently comes to mind is about a friend of mine who had some issues with a mobile phone company. They were completely untruthful with him and promised things that they would not deliver then. After several calls ending in pure frustrations, he finally turned to his blog and wrote about his experience. Within 48 hours he had people from this company contacting him and working on fixing the issues.
How did this company know about it? I am sure they had some sort of an alert in place to notify them whenever someone wrote about them.
Other than blogging, another way people enjoy voicing their opinions is through Twitter. They will send out tweets that their friends will then see and start discussions about how this company was terrible or really great with helping them with whatever they needed.
As a business, you MUST have someone monitoring Twitter and keeping track of what others are saying. While there several ways to do this, one of the ways I like to do this is to set up certain searches inside my twitter application of choice, Tweetdeck. I used to do community management for a large real estate corporation called ActiveRain. At the time they had well over 150,000 members from around the world. So, one of the things I did daily was monitor what our members were saying on Twitter. You would think the typical term I would put in would be ActiveRain. But, the company had created a feature that thousands of it’s members use to automatically post their content into twitter as soon as they hit publish. I didn’t need to have 2,000+ updates showing up in my stream. SO, what I had to do was be a little more specific with my search setup. The phrase that attached to the auto post was “Just Posted on ActiveRain” so to build a real time search that would monitor the company name without the automated feed, I created a Twitter search that was Activerain -“just posted”. This meant the search would look for ActiveRain but would ignore any that had the term with just posted in the phrase.
By monitoring the term I was able to provide a great level of service for new members who had just signed up and were completely lost. Or just being able to give an added level of support by saying “Hi, I am Jeremy the community builder, let me know if I can help out. These members that just joined and tweeted 2 minutes ago were already receiving customer support from the top level available in the organization and were blown away.
The reason this post today came about due to a recent experience I had with Target. My wife who is now 8+ months pregnant asked on her Facebook profile:
Explain to me this… Our local Target has over 13 handicap parking spaces ( I lost count at 13), and even on the busiest day I have not even seen half of them full. Yet EVERY time I am there there are a ton of pregnant ladies or moms with small babies. So why don’t they make some of the parking spaces close to the doors into “New or Expectant Moms” spaces?!?!?
See, my wife is now 8+ months pregnant and had visited the local Target to make some changes to our baby registry. She had my 2 year old daughter in hand and 107 degree heat index that had to walk from the farthest point of the parking lot over to the entrance. When I saw her post this, I left a comment saying I knew they were on Twitter and would send them something to find the reason why they set things up this way. When I sent my tweet, I watched several of my friends start a conversation around it wondering the same thing. I know there were at least 15-20 tweets all targeted to them all revolving around this subject. 10 days later and still no response from Target.
Granted, maybe the company is huge in size. But there still needs to be some sort of monitoring of this. Corporations like ComCast & Best Buy do this phenomally. When their clients ask a question or place a complaint, their team is quick to respond and assist in any way possible. Normally within a few hours. By doing this, consumer satisfaction goes through the roof, customer support calls go way down and business production increases.
So, take the time and set up ways to monitor your online business. Besides, who wouldn’t want to know what people think of you? 🙂