Create Your Own Social Media Listening Post in Four Easy Steps | by Olivier Sartor
Meet SocialGrow's new blogger, Olivier Sartor! Olivier is the founder of Boston-based social marketing agency Elbow Grease Marketing. Follow Olivier on Twitter at @osartor.

How much time a day do you spend listening?
How do you monitor, in real-time, what is being said about you, your company, and your products and services?
How do you find out about new, exciting ideas in your industry?

One great option is to create a social media listening post – a collection of RSS subscriptions sent to your feed reader program or e-mail. Creating your own listening post is one of the most effective ways to tap into the firehose of valuable, online information. Listening is the most important component of successful social media strategies, but is often the least used.

The benefits of a using a listening post are significant:
• It automates the task of monitoring online conversations and information
• It saves time by allowing you to focus on analyzing and using information rather than searching for it.
• It allows you to quickly connect and engage with people in your targeted audiences, including: key industry influencers, content creators, and critics of your products.

Four Easy Steps to Creating Your Own Social Media Listening Post

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1. Content
Finding good content starts with determining the best keywords to use for your listening post. Start with your name. If you have a common one, you will have to use additional keywords to make the search unique. Add in business terms, your company, competitors, industry, products, and services. Use Google AdWords to find additional keywords. For example, SocialGrow’s listening post keywords include “social crm software”, “web contact management application”, and “social media marketing”.

2. Monitoring
Now that you have decided on the most relevant keywords, you need to create your RSS feeds. Google Alerts is a good first option. Enter in your keyword phrases and choose the option to deliver your content through feeds or email. Twitter Search can be valuable source for getting real-time content, just scroll down to RSS icon on the right side.

3. Tools
While there are a number of RSS feed readers, Google Reader is one of the best. If you chose feed delivery in Google Alerts, your feeds will already be populated in Google Reader. Start by reading the content from the feeds and keep only those feeds that you find valuable. Use Google Wildcards to refine your searches.

4. Process
You may find it useful to categorize your feeds into different folders within your feed reader. You can name your folders by subject, or even day of the week, so you can organize your listening. If you want to share important content that you discover, tag these posts to create a new feed, to which others in your organization can subscribe. After a couple of weeks, you will be able to determine the best process to monitor and share your feeds.

Listening posts are truly for everyone, whether you’re just casually interested in something, or already a subject matter expert. Without the luxury of an in-house research team, it is virtually impossible to manually monitor all the online content and conversations that impact your business. If you don’t already have one, a listening post will quickly become the single most powerful tool in your social media arsenal.

Please share the processes and tools you use to listen for your business with us in our comments section below. We look forward to learning which tools you use to listen!

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  • Greg Allbright, Craig M. Jamieson on Sep 29, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greg Allbright. Greg Allbright said: The greater value in setting up automated social media listening is the time you save over the listening you can do. http://ht.ly/2KnJP [...]

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Craig M. Jamieson. [...] Craig M. Jamieson said: Create Your Own Social Media Listening Post in Four Easy Steps by SocialGrow Blogger Olivier Sartor | The SocialGrow Blog http://ht.ly/2Kyad [...]

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[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Greg Allbright. Greg Allbright said: The greater value in setting up automated social media listening is the time you save over the listening you can do. http://ht.ly/2KnJP [...] [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Craig M. Jamieson. [...] Craig M. Jamieson said: Create Your Own Social Media Listening Post in Four Easy Steps by SocialGrow Blogger Olivier Sartor | The SocialGrow Blog http://ht.ly/2Kyad [...]