Mo Elzubeir
Mo Elzubeir

Founder & CEO

April 19, 2021

You are ready for social listening but not sure where to start? In this article I show you the 4 essential feeds to include in your social listening strategy, and the different ways it can help your business.

The first thing we have to determine is the media channels we want to look at. For the purpose of this exercise, my focus is on Twitter and Reddit.

Let's get to it!

Tracking mentions of your competitors

Files on your competitors

Your competitors are not companies you think you are competing with. Your competitors are those your prospects think are competitors to you. This not always obvious, but with active social listening, it becomes much clearer. I've had meetings with clients who are so convinced they are unique that they declare with complete conviction, we don't have competitors. Don't be that guy. That guy sucks.

You don't have to have a separate feed for each competitor, unless you're willing to shell out the extra money for it. It all depends on what you want to do and what you can afford. It also depends on the kind of coverage your competitor mentions generate.

Brand mentions can be found in 3 forms:

  • Social handles
  • Branded hashtags
  • Passing mention in a post (a full, shortened, or misspelled variant)

You will have to research your competitors and find out what they use.

Tracking chatter in your industry

Image of businessman in black suit against a dark background

Let's say you're in the restaurant business, you will want to look at what other restaurant owners are talking about. Issues with opening dine-in during COVID-19 restrictions, hiring cooks, sourcing equipment, ghost kitchens.. you name it.

This will not only allow you to understand what common problems your peers are facing, but it is an opportunity to connect and engage. Incredible things happen when people meet on forums, just ask Coinbase's co-founders who met on Reddit.

As with everything, knowing what keywords to use takes a little research first. The easiest way is to simply look at your competitors' social media accounts until you can identify a pattern. You will also be able to uncover current events or conferences being tweeted by your competitors.

You shouldn't get too hung up on your competitors though. It is an easy way to get started, but it is not a definitive resource of information. However, once you start and by observing the content in your feed, you will be able to adjust and re-calibrate your search query to cover your industry in a way that makes sense to you.

Tracking HARO/media requests for expert opinion

HARO search query

Many founders and business owners struggle to understand the relationship between businesses and the media. PR agencies help facilitate and plan this relationship. But, not everyone wants or needs a PR agency.

Here's a little secret about PR: Journalists love it when the spokesperson of the business communicates directly with them, and hate it when requests come through PR executives. They think of it like when someone wants to ask someone for a date but opts to have a third person do the talking for them.

But how do you reach out to journalists? How do you talk to them? In comes HARO. HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a way for reporters to put out a request for expertise on a wide variety of subjects they're covering. Social listening is an alternative to HARO services that can cost anything from $49-$200 a month.

I like to start with the basics, which are the #journorequest and #prrequest hashtags. I add #lazyweb in there just for good measure. They are all tags people use when looking for help. It's an opportunity to add value to someone.

I would then add another + with my own sector's keywords. For example, mine would look a little something like:

+(journorequest prrequest lazyweb) +("social listening" "media monitoring" "social analytics")

You will have to experiment with your search queries to find the right mix for you.

Tracking mentions of your brand

Are you covered

This is a bit of an obvious one, but it is always good to start with brand mentions and grow with your online presence. People are talking about you (or at least you hope they would). Well, there's an easy way to find out and it doesn't involve surveys. Don't get me started on surveys (hint: they are a ridiculous expense that can be done with social listening more than half the time at a fraction of the cost).

Tracking your mentions can be done by doing the same exact thing you do for your competitors, except.. it's for you.

Now that you have those 4 essential feeds setup, you can have alerts sent out to the appropriate person(s) to never miss a beat. Or a tweet.

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