A few days ago, my friend Arminda asked me about hotel recommendations for her upcoming trip to Nashville. Although I live in Nashville, I’ve not stayed in any hotels here.
Naturally, I turned to Twitter to ask for recommendations. My Twitter contacts came back with all sorts of suggestions.
However, I was disappointed that NOT ONE hotel reached out to me. There are a number of Nashville hotels on Twitter, but none of them raised their hand to say “hey, you should suggest our hotel!”
This is a huge opportunity that was missed.
There are conversations happening like this all over the social web, but if you don’t have the tools in place to “listen in” on these conversations, you will miss out on these opportunities.
So, how do you do that? Here are three easy and free ways you can monitor conversations so you won’t miss out on opportunities to recommend your business.
Set up Twitter searches.
Twitter offers robust search capabilities so you can see what people are saying on the social media platform.
To get started, think about what phrases people will use to look for your services online. If I were a Nashville hotel, I would conduct a twitter search to with the phrase, “hotel, Nashville” to see tweets with those words in them. If a hotel had conducted that search, they would have easily found my tweet and a few others.
There are multiple ways to set up Twitter searches to monitor conversations. The easiest is on Twitter.com itself. The site offers a simple search bar where you can enter queries.
If you use a Twitter tool like Hootsuite, Seesmic or Tweetdeck, you can set up a columns with your designated search term so you can easily take a look throughout the day to see what people are saying and if there are opportunities for you to dive into the conversation.
However, I think the best way mine Twitter for opportunities is to use the advanced search function. To do this, go to search.twitter.com and create your search terms.
The advanced Twitter search lets you take your searches even farther by specifying things like dates, locations and even languages. You can even indicate that you only want tweets that ask a question, which can be really helpful when identifying people who are looking for something.
So you don’t miss out on these tweets, you can set up an RSS feed of this advanced search so you can keep track of these conversations in your favorite RSS reader. To set that up, click the
button that says “feed for this query” in the right-hand column. Now, you will automatically get a feed of your search results in your RSS reader.
Create Google Alerts.
Because Google now includes social media mentions in its search results, you can find relevant conversations when conducting regular searches.
However, Google’s “Realtime” search allows you to only see search results from social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, This tool is awfully handy and gives you more targeted results.
To conduct a Realtime search, go to Google.com and click the “more” link in the top left bar and then select “Realtime”. Or, you can also go directly to http://www.google.com/realtime and conduct your search that way.
If you want to keep an eye on Realtime results for a particular search phrase, simply go to the bottom of the page and select “Create an email alert”. It will then walk you through the preferences for how often you would like to receive email notifications for the designated search term.
You can also use Google’s Discussion search to find your search terms in forums and on Q&A sites. Monitoring discussions on forums is another important and useful way to “listen in” to useful conversations.
Use Social Mention.
Social Mention is a free search tool that works very similar to Google Alerts. When
searching on Social Mention, it pulls in results from social media sites, blogs and news
sites. You can filter results by social media platform and also get some useful information about where the terms are being mentioned most and whether the statements are mostly positive or negative.
Social Mention also offers the ability to set up the search as an RSS feed or you can elect to receive email results for the search term.
Although each of these tools may offer some overlap in their results, it doesn’t hurt to use all three tools. That way, you’ll be less likely to miss a relevant conversation.
So, what do you do when you find these conversations?
Jump in and send them a message!
In my particular situation, it would have been great if a hotel responded with “We’d love to have your friend as a guest at our hotel. Feel free to have her contact us – we’d be happy to answer her questions.”
Wouldn’t you want to stay at a hotel that does that?
Find ways to answer questions and be helpful. If someone is looking for a hotel that’s downtown and you don’t fit the bill, maybe you could recommend a sister hotel or instead. Or, listen in on conversations about restaurants and things to do in your area so you can make recommendations to visitors. That kind of helpfulness will really resonate with people and will make them remember you,
This is just scratching the service with what’s possible with social media monitoring, but these tips should help you find ways to take advantage of the enormous opportunities that you can find on the social web.
Do you monitor social media for opportunities? What tools have worked best for you?
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