Sharpen Your Social Media Intelligence: Proactively monitor how your company is represented in blogs
Given this new reality, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to be aware of how their business and industry are portrayed in the social media realm. On the surface, blogs, Facebook and Twitter give the appearance of being trivial, off-the-cuff forums for friends to meet and self-proclaimed pundits to prophesize. But that freewheeling, anything-goes atmosphere is what has made social media such a powerful force because for the first time–age, education or socioeconomic status notwithstanding–everybody has the opportunity to be heard and make a difference.
For the individual with a laptop or an iPhone, times couldn’t be better. But for the company initiating a rebranding campaign or launching a new product, the process just became significantly more complicated. Not only must companies manage and evaluate how the traditional media portrays their business–a daunting task to begin with–but now they need to be on top of the multitude of social media sites and services where customers, investors and stakeholders exchange information and shape opinion.
Identify Social Media Gatekeepers
Success in social media communications requires two key elements: speed and action. Organizations that effectively utilize social media intelligence to either build on positive buzz about their brand or quickly respond to an emerging crisis will rise to the top, while those that ignore the influence of online voices will risk losing out on valuable opportunities and, in some cases, suffer irreparable damage.
The challenge, therefore, is weeding through all of the social media “noise” to identify and engage those individuals who are most important to your business. By narrowing the pool, you give yourself a better opportunity to understand what’s being said and to become part of the conversation. But how does one assess which sources hold weight vs. those that are less important?
A basic measure of the influence of a blog or social media network is the number of inbound links from other social media sites or, in the case of Twitter and Facebook, the number of followers and fans. By that measure, the greater the links and the greater the number of followers, the greater the influence. There’s something to be said for popularity.
However, mere numbers are not necessarily the best indicator of influence. For blogs, online sites such as Technorati and Alexa use a series of criteria to determine the relative strength of a blog within a specific industry and throughout the entire blogosphere. The ratings are not perfect, but they should point you in the right direction.
“Retweeting,” or the number of times an individual’s tweet is redistributed among the Twitterverse, is an excellent gauge of a person’s influence and the interest level of what he or she is discussing. Retweets also shine a light on the more active participants.
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