Monitoring social media channels and keywords is tough, especially when you have multiple social media profiles. Flitting between Facebook to answer comments, then over to Twitter to see if you can figure out what happened since yesterday, then searching to see if anyone mentioned your products, then hopping over to Instagram to see if you got a few more followers… it’s difficult – and that’s only if you can get through all those social channels without getting distracted by all the cute puppy gifs. The most time effective way to stay on top of all these tasks is by creating social streams.
What are social media streams?
Imagine having one dashboard with all your facebook mentions in one column, your twitter mentions and keyword search results in a second column, your new Twitter followers in another column and responses to your instagram posts in another. All of that in one window so you can read and respond quickly and move on to to other things on your to do list. Those columns are streams!
Depending on the tool you use to set up your streams, these can often be very customized to your industry keywords, competitor names, important hashtags and sometimes even connect to your CRM for streaming social media posts from your customers!
Each tool is different, offering different capabilities, access to different social channels, and unlimited stream possibilities. For purposes of this ‘intro’ post about streams, we’re keeping it simple so we won’t talk about more complex things like integrating contact lists with social media streams.
Set up the right social streams
There are hundreds of things you can do with keyword streams and it’s easy to get carried away. It’s important to keep it simple or you might become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of posts that you’re trying to monitor. There’s no sense tracking hundreds of keywords and drowning in streams if they don’t serve a purpose.
To keep it simple, you first need to jot down your top goals for social media. These may tie directly into your overall marketing or business goals and could include things like improving customer service or keeping an ‘eye’ on your competition. To help illustrate this point, we’ll continue using the two examples mentioned above.
This might include answering customer questions, responding to complaints (or doing damage control), and even thanking people for positive feedback. All of these actions let your audience know you’re listening. Setting up the right social media streams can help ensure you see all of those posts from each one of your different social channels.
Listening to competition
Staying on top of what your competition is doing is tough. While we don’t recommend making this a huge focus, it’s always good to keep tabs occasionally. However, you should keep tabs on your competitors’ customers. If they’re upset, make sure you at least understand why they’re upset and possibly learn from it, but also potentially recognize opportunities to step in and save the day.
Other social streams
Other social media goals could result in you setting up streams like:
- Conference hashtags – if you’re at a conference, a stream of conference hashtags make it much easier to stay on top of social media activity from fellow attendees. This might present you with the perfect opportunity to meet with a potential customer while you’re both there. And as an added bonus, you might just have a shot at some of those great prizes given away for engagement!
- List of influencers – create a stream of influencers that you have added to your own Twitter list to make it easier to see, share, and engage with their posts. This can also help you to identify other influencers to help you reach a larger audience.
Hashtags and Keywords
Once you have your goals listed out, you’ll need to brainstorm specific keywords or mentions that you can monitor in order to help you reach your goals. Make a list of all the main keywords that might be found in conjunction with your company. This could include things like:
- industry terms
- specific product/brand names or handles
- competitor company/product/brand names or handles
- company or product slogans (and those of your competitors)
- names of high-profile employees (President, CEO, etc.) and their handles
You can also include misspellings, abbreviations, and acronyms for each the above. Another thing to consider are words that you might not like being used with your product, but ones that customers might use (for instance, you call your product ‘little syrup grids from heaven’, but your customers call it a waffle. Be sure to include “waffle” on your list of keywords despite of any push-back you might get from your branding team).
Make a quick grid to help you track your keywords (we keep one on our network so we can edit as needed). Yours will likely be much longer, but here is an example:
|Goals||Goal 1: Supporting Customers||Goal 2: Listening to Competition|
Respond to complaints and kudos
|Listen for new product releases|
Monitor competitor customer complaints and kudos
As an example, here’s what a few Twitter streams look like on a Hootsuite dashboard:
Monitor with the right tools
We published a list of social media tools a few weeks ago if you want to take a look at some of the ones we’ve researched. Most of those have the ability to set up social streams to make it easy to monitor keywords, competitors, and influencers.
Before you immediately seek out a free tool that might not do exactly what you need it to, think about your priorities. Determine if your time is worth more than a monthly fee paid for a more robust social media solution that helps manage all your social tasks within one tool. Find a tool that will fit your needs instead of adjusting your needs and processes to accommodate a tool.
We’re certainly not saying that free is bad or that it won’t do what you need it to, only that you shouldn’t immediately discount paid tools simply due to the cost.
Tools like Hootsuite have easy-to-follow walkthroughs to help set up streams easier.
Give it a shot. Start out with 2 or 3 until you get the hang of it. Add more as you get more comfortable with the tool. Otherwise, you risk reverting back to your old ways.
If you need help monitoring your social media streams, give us a call and let’s talk about it. No pitch, no strings! For other helpful tips on how you can monitor your social media in as little as 10 minutes a day, download our free eBook.