Become a Social Media Expert: First Learn to Listen using Hootsuite

by Joanne Steele on July 6, 2011

cocktail party

Social media is like a massive cocktail party.

Milena Regos of Out and About Marketing has created a nice 4 minute history of social media video that helps to show why  we feel, everyday, like we’re trying to play “catch-up” with social media!

For those of you who have attended one of my internet marketing workshops, you’ll remember that Step 2 in the seven step process of taking control of your internet marketing is “ Take control of your understanding of social media.”

Milena’s short video shows why it’s time to get started.

Social media is becoming a huge force for business success, and you can’t afford to ignore it any longer, and you can’t afford to get it wrong.

Too many small business owners, in a race to do SOMETHING… ANYTHING on social media set up a profile and start plastering up billboard like announcements. They ignore Facebook or Twitter the rest of the time.

Think about it for a minute… You go to a party and there’s someone there who circulates making pronouncements about their business, passing out business cards and nott listen to anything anyone else has to say.

How does that make you feel?

Probably, you try to avoid that person. Everyone kind of resents their intrusion and insensitivity to the fact that this is a party!

Now, think about another situation. A group of friends at that party are discussing a problem someone is having – maybe it’s about a roof leak, or finding reliable daycare, or finding someone to help you solve a computer problem.

Someone in your group who has been listening to the conversation offers a solution, “I think I can help you with that,” she says, and then proceeds to give you a suggestion – either her business or someone she knows and trusts.

Everyone you’re chatting with is delighted. You may or may not take the suggestion, but you welcome it.

In social media, being part of the conversation is the most important component that is missing for most small local business users. They tend to post pronouncements and never show up again until it’s time for the next pronouncement.

If you start your social media experience by taking control of your understanding, you’ll increase your internet markting effectiveness. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by it and resentful that you even have to bother with it, you’ll welcome the opportunity because it is bringing you more customers!

In his blog post, The Single Most Powerful Use of Social Media for Small Business on Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch talks about using social media for listening.

I love this article! He is talking about how to be the guy at the party who offers a solution as part of a conversation, at exactly the time it’s needed!

He talks about setting up a Google Alerts to listen for mentions about your business, your industry and your competitors.

He suggests you follow what’s being said about you and the things that are important to your business. I prefer Hootesuite for this over his suggestion of Tweetdeck.

Who has time for social media listening you say!

YOU DO! It’s easy with one of the coolest tools on the internet, Hootsuite.

You can stick your toe into social media by setting up your profiles in Facebook and Twitter – you’ll need these to start listening using Hootsuite. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything yet but listen.

You will need to create your Hootsuite profile, which is a matter of following the directions on the site. And then you can set up Twitter streams that monitor specific keywords that are important to your business, or specific industries, or if you have set up lists in Twitter, you can follow specific lists.

You can set up to monitor your Facebook page. Why on Hootsuite rather than just going to Facebook? Because with a single click you can move from Facebook to monitoring a keyword or hashtag on Twitter.

The point is that you’ll be listening, and getting in the habit of paying attention to the conversation rather than spending every social media second trying to figure out something clever to say yourself.

If you get the importance of listening, like Jantsch says, you’ll be well on your way to mastering social media.

Before long, you’ll “hear” something that you can’t stop yourself from commenting on, and voila! You’re using social media correctly – to be social and to build relationships that lead to more sales!

Here are several past posts to add to your understanding:

Rural Businesses: Get your Social Media Organized With Hootsuite

Google Alerts Can Help Small Rural Tourism Businesses Become More Profitable


photo on Flickr by Takomabibelot


1 Milena Regos July 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Hi, thank you mentioning my video. Nice post!

2 Rina Smith July 8, 2011 at 1:33 am

It is just high time to get active and enjoy the perks that social media sites have to offer.

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