Seven simple steps to more effective social media listening

I’m sure that most of us have heard the social media truism that first step to being more social is listening.  An entire industry has sprung up around listening platforms.  Before you sign up for 12 months of service from the platform of the day, here is my list of low cost/no cost ways to be a better online listener. Identify your top influencers and/or sources of information – If you are like most people, you know your top 5 to 10 off the top of your head.  What are the sites you visit everyday?  What sites do you feel guilty about not visiting more frequently?  What does your boss read daily? You get the idea.  My suggestion is find 30-40 sources.  I know that sounds like alot but we’ll talk more later about how to deal with the deluge of content. Setup a Google Reader account – I know there are many ways to read RSS feeds but I like the Reader’s ability to share feeds and connect with people on Google.  I also regularly use my feed reader as a convenient time waster on my new HTC Incredible. Just scrape the RSS feeds from your source and add to the reader. Create Google Alerts – In my world, there are granular things that I want to watch daily.  I know it is vain but I watch my own name and “personal brand”.  Some other obvious things include your company, brand, or competitors.  You can decide on a comprehensive vs. blog search depending on traffic – one approach is starting with comprehensive and then refine if necessary.  I also suggest setting it up for immediate notification by RSS rather than email.   If it has more than 10 alerts per day then you are either too popular (yeah, right) or need to refine your search.  You can track these through your Google Reader like any other feed. Setup a Twitter search – I think this is the hidden gem of Twitter’s offerings.  Just go to search.twitter.com and create searches on your keywords (use the same keywords from your Google Alerts if you want).  The best part is you can create RSS feeds for these search and then dump them into your Reader.  More advanced tweeters can add a search column in Tweetdeck. Create lists on Twitter – I “follow” over 1,000 people on Twitter.  In reality, I probably care about 150 of them (sorry).  The best way to keep your signal-to-noise ratio high is to build a list important friends.  For example, I have on two lists on my personal Twitter account – Fresh Followers for new followers I’d...

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We’re gonna party like its 1999

I read in the Wall Street Journal this morning that Google and Microsoft are in an epic battle for the hearts and minds (and ad dollars) of Facebook. Besides not knowing who to cheer for, my mind drifted to Geocities and Tripod (what ever happened to them?). Then in the “Money and Investing” section, Dennis K. Berman offers a cautionary tale based on the rise and fall of an earlier generation of community sites. Did you know that only nine of the top 20 most trafficked sites on Aug 2003 are still on that list? The author highlights the need for continual innovation to keep the community fresh and alive – sensible advice for prevent users from chasing the next interesting thing (I didn’t say fad) after graduating from high school or...

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