Are You Sure Your Customers Are Social?

Mar 14, 2012   //   by Kaila Strong   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  2 Comments

How much do your customers really use social media? This seems to be a question that’s asked often and answered often. You might ask this question if you’re just starting out in a new industry or maybe you’ve been in your industry a while but just don’t have a clue where to start online. Lack of knowledge, disconnect with data and not knowing who your customers are can cause issues when trying to figure out how social your customers are.

The first step in figuring out how social your customers are is research. Turn your lack of knowledge into expertise just by putting in the research. Conduct social listening exercises across multiple platforms to get started. Here are some suggested social listening exercises to help you gain the social insight you need into your industry.

Site Search

Monitor the large social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even MySpace. Use the search functionalities of each of these sites. Search for keywords related to your products or services. Who is talking about your products and services? Are any of these users very influential – you can figure this out by going to their profile and looking at how many friends they have and how active they are.

Additionally, try typing in frequently asked questions into the search bar. Are there users asking those questions? Make note of how regularly messages are sent out and/or responded to. This can help you figure out how social your customers are too.

Competitors

Search for competitors brand pages. You can gain a lot of insight by seeing just how other brands are using social media. How active are their fans? Do fans comment, “like”, “share” and post regularly? Do they foster a sense of community on their pages? Make note of how your competitors are using social media marketing.

Forums

Use a search engine to find discussion boards and forums. How regularly are people posting, answering and sharing? The conversations in forums and on discussion boards can show you how often your customers feel compelled to post about industry related topics.

Blogs & Industry News

Use a search engine to find industry blogs and websites. Does the site allow contributors? How many bloggers write for the site and how active are they on social media? Make note of how regularly posts are updated, commented on and responded to. This can help you see exact how social your customers are.

With each of the listening exercises above you’ll gain great insight into the social activities of your prospects. In addition to the research you put forth through social listening, try looking at studies put together by by Forrester, Marketing Hub, Pingdom, and others. Some of these studies will help you identify how social certain demographic groups are.

Additionally, you can get insider tips from people within your own industry. Search Google for articles about marketing to your industry through social media. Or follow experts like Jay Baer who wrote this great blog post, “4 Detective Tricks to Find Your Customers in Social Media”.

Hopefully after a few of these exercises you’ll start to get a better grip on exactly how social your customers are. Don’t forget to go back and conduct these exercises often – the social activities of your customers change over time.

What sites do you currently use to conduct social listening?

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Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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  • Gail Gardner
    Twitter:
    says:

    These are some useful tips for preliminary research. Some of us have been doing this for years now and we have plenty of additional tips we can share. For example, there are browser addons that let you see @Klout and @PeerIndex numbers and there are newcomers such as @Kred and @GroupHigh. (Whenever we put an @ in front of something that is shorthand indicating you can find out more and click through to their sites to find out more.

    Influencers tend to know each other, so if you reach out to any of the influencers in social media or in a specific niche they can introduce you to others – or you can see who they’re talking to on Social Networks and who they follow. Or log into Klout, PeerIndex, Kred or Commun.it to see what those sites indicate they’re influential about, who they influence and who influences them.

    There is much more on my blog, and I see that Kristi Hines, Ileane Smith, Ana Hoffman, Ann Smarty and Brian from Blog Engage all comment here so use their blogs as additional resources, too. (Most of us know each other fairly well and have for years.)

    • Kaila Strong says:

      Thanks so much for your great tips Gail. Readers certainly will find this information very helpful as they continue to do research. There are so many resources out there it’s so hard to name them all. I certainly agree with what you have here, known those folks for many years as well and worked with Kristi for a few years. Amazing resources of information online for anyone looking to start down the social media path. Thanks again!