Social Media Intelligence Begins With Data
Something curious has happened.
- A loyal buyer of one brand of equipment since 2010 has recently purchased another brand and you want to know why.
- The sales manager at one company has left to join another and you want to find him.
- People are talking about your company and you want to reach out to them.
- Customers are praising the brand you carry and you want to know what they like most about it.
- You want to understand how your competitors are positioning themselves.
These scenarios and more can be found through social networks. Strategically scanning social networks can deepen your understanding of markets and buyer behavior. You can track trends and learn how prospects are thinking about your brand. Making the most of social media intelligence requires a method. To keep it simple, start with insights you’ve gained from good, current data. Then begin your search.
How To Search Social Networks
Filter your data for who may be a good prospect for you. On Google or another search engine, enter a search term that includes one or more of these: the name of a person, company, brand, or location. John Doe may be a common name, so add the company name or location in the search box as well. Do this for your competitors’ names if you want to see what they are up to.
Review the brief descriptions that appear under the titled results. You will find any related news as well as what social networks the person or company is on. Searching LinkedIn first to find someone who is not on it is a time waster.
If there are too many pages of results from your search term use the name and add “LinkedIn” or “Facebook” or “Twitter” to find them and the name they use on those networks. Once on their social network page look to see what they are talking about. When appropriate, follow them and share their content. Social media influencers agree that the best way to build a relationship with a person or company on social networks is to share their content.
Once you have made a connection, find who is following them and who they are following. Each channel has a particular way of operating. On LinkedIn you can easily find people and companies through the search box, but you may also want to look into Groups and join the business-focused discussions there. On Twitter you will find lots of real-time news. You don’t have to invite anyone to join this network or be your friend. You just follow them. Facebook is people oriented with a light conversational style.
You can also visit a company’s website to find social network icons. Another way to use your search term names is to add them to Google Alerts to receive emails when your term is mentioned. This is an easy way to find current news on customers and competitors. Be specific in the terms you use so you don’t get inundated. Placing quotation marks around the term ensures a specific search for “construction equipment” instead of both “construction” and “equipment”.
Social media intelligence allows you to expand your own network and see what’s popular online before it begins to sell offline. Because it can be time consuming, leverage your data to find the people and companies who want to do business with you.