In the first and second parts of this series (Using Digital Media and Social Media for a Product Launch), I set up a foundation of listening tools to help uncover and start a digital search. From there, I moved onto some basic mechanics – quick shots on how to find information and absorb it in new ways. This post describes what I like to call ‘signals and smoke flares’ – looking for and setting up some of your own signals to find and get found out there.
- Company page on LinkedIn – Like it or not, this is how some people are going to find your company. And some may even judge whether you’re a legitimate/reputable company based on how well you’ve got this web property set up. So take some time to add all the necessary information. LinkedIn is the de facto business social network, so it behooves you to have a company presence here. In addition, consider adding it to your “to do” list to make an update every so often to show that your company has a pulse. For more reading on this, see CMI’s Step-by-Step Guide on LinkedIn Company Pages. If you’re outside the US and LinkedIn isn’t your thing, check out Viadeo and Xing.
- Facebook Fanpage – If your brand, product, or company is a B2C or more casual good, this will probably seem like a no-brainer. But even if you’re a B2B brand, you ought to consider a Facebook fanpage. The reality is, many people are spending time in Facebook, not just on Facebook. So you need to get found here. Similar to LinkedIn, provide enough basic information so people understand what and who you are. Use the power of iFrames to embed static HTML content (some of the same content you’ve already created for your company’s own web page) and build it in. Or provided an excerpt or teaser, and ask people to ‘click here to read more’, and get them to come over to your web site. Here are several resources I’ve collected about Facebook fanpages you can read.
- Looking for thought leaders and influencers? You probably know of at least one or two. Perfect. Hopefully they have a blog. Now, go see who they read. And then go subscribe to those blogs and stay on top of the news. Do this again at the secondary and tertiary levels, and in no time flat, you’ve amassed a good chunk of skimming and reading. Throw those author names, one at a time, into a Google search with the word ‘twitter’ (minus the quotes), and Google will tell you their Twitter handle.
- As an example, head on over to a prolific blogger in the PLM space, Oleg Shilovitsky. It’s OK if you don’t know what PLM is – the point is still valid. On the right, scroll down until you see the words ‘blogroll’. This is who Oleg reads (and links to). There’s a good chance that those people are writing and talking about similar content as Oleg. You get the idea.
- Whether or not they are influential is a different story. There are many in-depth ways to determine this. If you want a quick 10-minute assessment, read this post I wrote about determining online influence.
- Aside from using specific blog rolls, you can also use blog search engines like Google Blog Search and Technorati. Using the advanced Google blog search is a bit better than the traditional blog search, so use that one. Technorati is another good blog search engine, though it seems to be less popular than it was just a few years ago. Nevertheless, it’s worth spending some time here. Rounding out the set is IceRocket. IceRocket is a third engine that also nets out good blogs. Using one or two of these is fine. If you have the time, use all three, though you will start to see duplicates, which is a sign that you’ve probably adequately mined the space. What are you searching for? Conversations about your space! Search on key words, terms, lingo, product solutions, and the like.
- Struggling for key words to search on? Don’t re-invent the wheel. See what your competitors do. Go to a competitor’s web site. Then, depending on your browser, view the source code for the page (I typically use Google Chrome, so it’s CTRL+U). Somewhere near the top (line 8 or 9 or something), you’ll see a meta description and a meta keyword listing. Matt Cutts over at Google has said that Google does not factor in meta keywords into a Google search, but that doesn’t stop companies from filling out this item on web pages – and it shouldn’t stop you from looking at that data. The description likely is factored into a search, though Google likely won’t say where or how much. That aside, this is for a thought exercise only. Use it to help you frame how your competition is going after the market, and mimic or deviate as appropriate.
- These are actually elements of a baseline listening exercise that I advocate for many of the marketers with whom I work. You might not have the time (or inclination) to conduct a full one. To see listening as a case-study, check out this presentation I prepared for a Marketing Profs event. In it, I advocate using a spreadsheet to track mentions across the Internet. The point isn’t to go batty tracking everything, but rather start to get a sense of where might you have better success. If you’re interested in the generic spreadsheet I developed for this, head on over to my ‘About’ page and get my contact information. Send me a message and reference this post and a way for me to get it to you, and I’ll send it over. Also check out this presentation (Social Media Listening: What’s In It For You), particularly at slides 41 and 42, to get a sense of the spreadsheet as well.
That rounds out this installment of the series. If you read this and you’re chomping at the bit for more, head over to the posts below for more reading. Two are by the super-knowledgeable (and affable) Mike Troiano (@miketrap on Twitter). I constantly refer back to these posts to get information to pass along to others about setting up a content hub. I also have a link to some of my own “how to” posts for social media.