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March 30, 2011 / jasonpinto

Are You Listening to the Online Chatter?

Are you listening to the online chatter?

One of the big news stories in the marketing world this week involves SalesForce’s acquisition of Radian6.

These two numbers pretty much say it all:

  • $276 million in cash
  • $50 million in stock

Yes, social media monitoring makes money.

This news story should incite conversations in businesses of all sizes as to what their company is doing to monitor chatter online. With more than half of the adults in the U.S. on Facebook, and hundreds of millions of people on other social media sites as well, chances are that your customers are there too.

How does your company monitor chatter online?

There are certainly a number of software applications specifically designed to help companies “listen” to what’s being said online. While I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from looking into them, I just figured that it might be a good day to share some ways that you can start paying attention to online chatter now:

– Google Alerts

On a daily basis, Google Alerts is responsible for some of them most informative emails that I receive in my inbox.  It is easy-as-pie to set up. Basically, you simply input which terms you’d like Google to “listen for”. Then, you determine the frequency that Google should send you notifications (as-it-happens, once-a-day, etc.).

Google will then send you an email with links to articles that contain those terms.

Here are a few things that you might want to search for:

  • Company Name (including mis-spellings!)
  • Names of your products and services
  • Names of your key employees
  • Technologies and solutions that you want to learn more about
  • Events that your prospects and customers may attend
  • Your Customers
  • Your Competitors

I’ll give you one more tip when it comes to Google Alerts. Pay attention to the “Volume” field. Initially, I had a lot of my alerts set to “Only the Best Results”. I would receive the email alerts and be shocked at the low number of posts about “QR Codes”, for example.

But after changing the Volume field setting to be “All results”, I started hearing a whole lot more chatter.

– Twitter Search

True of False: Twitter is to be used as a tool to constantly broadcast messages about your company, its products, and specials.

Alright, while it certainly can be a channel that helps you spread your message, the search feature in Twitter is truly where there is some tremendous value for your business!

Here is how you could use it:

If you see results (hopefully!), then you should absolutely use that data accordingly. It might in the form of a “Thanks for the RT”, or writing a thank-you card to someone who referred your company, or to simply provide customer service to someone who needs help.

Here’s one tip on Twitter Search: Save your searches! Then, make it a habit of looking at the results of that saved search on an ongoing basis.

– Google Analytics

There are many good reasons for you to use Google Analytics on your company’s websites and landing pages. But here’s one that has nothing to do with how much traffic you are getting.

Under the “Traffic Sources Overview”, pay attention to the “Keywords” section. This will help you to see what people are searching for before they get to your website.

In a lot of cases, this might help you to identify topics that are making an impact on people. Use that information to to make adjustments in the content that you create in the near future.

Listening Leads To…

Finding out what people are saying about you, your brand, and your products & services deserves a high priority.

But of course, we cannot let it end there.

Be just as determined to take positive actions on what you are hearing.

Photo Credit


Leave a Comment
  1. Kelly Kirk / Mar 31 2011 4:32 pm

    Diffusing “online chatter” to the point where it becomes meaningful “online chatter” is a very effective way of utilizing social media. You’ve brought up some great tools that can be utilized to help you make your time spent on social media considered “time well spent.” There certainly is a lot of clutter to get through in the online world.

    Another tool that can be used is or – both serve the same purpose and can enhance your use of popular social media tools much better. You can track multiple trends from different resources (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn); ultimately giving you one platform to view it all on in an organized fashion.

    I think with all of the different social media tools and various apps out there, it can become overwhelming for many folks trying to get a grip on social media and make effective use of it. Once you muddle your way through it all and find what works best for you, it makes listening much easier; allowing you to become more responsive in “real-time” and giving you the opportunity to turn the chatter into a meaningful dialogue.

    • jasonpinto / Mar 31 2011 4:34 pm

      Thank you very much for leaving this comment, and for listing those other tools.

      I do agree with you — the thought of wading through all of the chatter can sound overwhelming at first; but once you start making it a priority and an initiative, it truly can be a task that proves to be rewarding.


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