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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When I grow up I want to be microfamous

Please accept my apologies for disappearing over the last few weeks.  Life has a way of getting busy with things like helping clients, producing a radio show, and performing my mission critical soccer dad duties.  Somewhere in between I’ve been able to squeeze in a few hours building my microcelebrity (more like expanding my nanocelebrity).   Over the last two weeks I broke the 1,000 followers mark on Twitter (OK, Limeduck I mentioned it in public so you can unfollow me now).  Here are some of my observations from the 12 months of tweeting: The number followers doesn’t mean as much as quality of interactions and conversations.  This is an obvious point that gets lost in Ashton and Britney’s battle for supremacy.  I thank Ivan at Tipjoy for changing my mind on this. Twitter has helped me connect with really interesting people I never would have met in my World 1.0 circles (folks like @jeffcutler, @matthew_t_grant, @robertcollins). A milliscoble of social media infamy is no substitute for my longstanding professional relationships when it comes to new business development. Twitter is a bit like Vegas.  Some thing are larger than life on Twitter.  Also many things that happen on Twitter stay on Twitter. People can become in social media “experts” very quickly.  You can find a ton of great info on Mashable and Techcrunch not to mention the blogosphere about social media channels.  FOTS (Friends of the ‘Slice) have heard my regular rants that social media are just media that need to be tested like any other channel making “expertise” less important. I’ve met Chris Brogan three times (but I’m not sure he remembers my name).  I want to dislike the whole “social media rockstar” schtick but he is a genuinely nice guy who blogs with a clarity that I admire.  I also really like his dad’s poker blog. The credentials that give someone status in the business world (ie Harvard MBA, worked for Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, etc) are not always a big deal on Twitter.  I guess you could argue that Twitter is more egalitarian than the real world. Twitter can be a powerful promotional tool.  The Skeptical CMO team signed up 100 people for our first radio show back in May almost completely through Twitter. Did I miss anything?  There are too many great people and conversations to highlight in one small post. Shameless self promotion: I’ll be on PermissionTV today discussion all thing marketing, social media and tangy.  I hope you can join the conversation. Stay tangy my...

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Is Facebook vs. Twitter the next epic battle?

With the recent design changes at Facebook, the media is buzzing about the “epic” battle for status update supremacy.  If you are looking for an informative article about the growing rivalry, check out a great post by Brian Solis on his PR 2.0 Blog entitled The Social OS, The Battle Between Facebook and Twitter is the New Mac vs. PC. Both Facebook and Twitter do provide simple ways to enable our oversharing of every little detail of our otherwise mundane lives but in my opinion, this is where the comparison ends. Facebook has realized that status is important and redesigned their site to put status front and center, but there’s still a heckuva lot more to FB than status.  In fact, I bet that many Facebook users don’t use status much compared to everything else they can do.   The key difference between these sites seems more about openness than functionality.  For example, I can get an RSS feed of my tweets but so far as I know, not of my FB updates.  And as many of you know, I can then push that drivelstream into untold crevices of the Internet from Twitter. I understand how both Twitter and Facebook would want to see themselves as our next operating system but I don’t feel like it is the right analogy. Perhaps better comparison is cell phone vs PC or Blackberry vs Mac.  Besides features, these sites are quite difference in relation to demographics, user behavior and technology.  Here are my reasons why I think that this won’t be the next “Mac vs. PC battle” as Brian Solis suggests: Size:  Facebook is about 20-40 times bigger than Twitter at the moment.  I know Oprah tweeted last week but Twitter is still a niche application (albeit one with a crazy growth rate). When Twitter starts taking users from FB or vice versa, then we’ll have a real battle. Demographics:  Facebook is more about students and young professionals. I know, I know Gen X’ers and boomers are the fastest growing segments on Facebook but they are not likely the heaviest users.  Twitter by comparison is more about obsessive 30+ professional (don’t trust anyone over 30, right) with a bias towards marketing, social media and consulting. Openness: Twitter has been all about their open API and third party innovation.  Facebook has historically had some issues with embedded apps and is still less open than Twitter. Exclusivity:  Despite recent conspiracy theories about Facebook and Twitter apps not communicating with each other, it is pretty easy to use both concurrently.  TweetDeck recently added Facebook updates so I can push my microdrivel to both places with...

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Day 15: You’re ugly, you have no friends and…

…your mother dresses you funny. That was a common insult when I was about 8 years old.  These days I take solace in the fact that I did find a loving wife years ago and my mother doesn’t dress me anymore.  The middle part of that statement, however, hits a little closer to home.  When I started this inane trek, I figured someone would find me on these site.  I do have some “real” friends after all (238 on LinkedIn, 104 on Twitter and 61on Facebook to be exact). So what is the deal?  Despite a recent outpouring of moral support, over the last two weeks I’ve had fewer than 5 friend requests from places beyond these core three sites and most were in the form of invitations (thank yous to Dan Shugrue and Chuck Burt for the help). So how can you help Sir Slice overcome the sour quacking forces of evil?  There are three ways: 1.  Keep those suggestions coming.  Feel free to post them to my blog as comments, message me on one of the sites or resort to boring old email.  I am flexible (even though one former disgruntled PR manager once said I couldn’t manage my way out of a wet paper bag). 2. Add me as a friend.  I’m getting lonely and joining dating sites would certainly cause some marital strife.  Ideally, I’d like to see more friends from sites other than FB, Twitter or LinkedIn. 3. Make a donation to my Firstgiving online fundraising page.  I am raising money for the Brackett School PTO, the official charity of the Slice Family.  This money supports cultural enrichment programs for middle class kids in Arlington.  Basically, because of prop 2 1/2 these schools have no money to teach kids about things like Jazz, poetry and opera.  I’ve committed to $1 for each site I sign up for with a goal of 100. I plan to beat that number with all the recent incoming suggestions.  If this is entertaining, whip out that Visa card and drop in $10 or $20. Its pretty easy and its tax deductible. I have a bunch of new sites to highlight but they’ll have wait until tomorrow. Thanks again and be my friend,...

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Social Media and Microblogging: Twitter

Did I tell you I love Twitter? Who knew 140 character random musings could bring so much pleasure. Did I tell you I love Twitter? I already have 14 people following me including Obama, Clinton and MC Hammer! Did I tell you I love Twitter? Who knew my Firstgiving colleagues from the UK also enjoy late afternoon chocolate breaks? Did I tell you I love Twitter? Or that my short attention span syndrome can be treated with microblogging? Did I tell you I love Twitter? Either way, everyone who’s anyone is Twittering. Why aren’t you?...

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