So last Monday, we covered that whether or not you listen, these conversations will happen. So the first thing to do is start listening. The following is a simple method to start listening.
The Google Reader Listening Station
We’re going to build a listening dashboard using Google Reader. Google Reader is what’s known as an RSS aggregator. That means it can capture and display rss feeds. What we are looking to do is grab rss feeds for topics that are relevant to our business. This will allow us to monitor conversations that are happening relative to keywords.
We’re going to capture:
- Our brand name
- Our product names
- Our competitor’s brand names
- Our competitor’s product names
- Topics and keywords that are relevant to our business
- Customer feedback channels
- …and whatever else we want to monitor.
To start with go to http://google.com/reader and sign up for an account if you don’t have one. If you have a Gmail account or a Google Apps account, you already have a Google Reader account, just sign in with your Google (or Gmail) account.
Your Keywords and Phrases
Next, open a notepad and start listing out all of the keywords and phrases that you would want to watch for. If you were Google your list might look like this:
- Google Search
- Google Reader
- Google Plus
- Google Docs
- Google Ventures
- Search Engines
- Facebook vs Google
If you were a Chiropractor in Philadelphia, you might build a list like this:
- “Your Chiropractic Practice Name”
- Philadelphia Chiropractor
- Philadelphia Chiropractics
- Chiropractors near Philadelphia
- Names of competing Chiropractors
- Back Pain
Once you have your list, it’s time to begin capturing the RSS feeds.
The icon for RSS feeds looks like this:
Go to each of the following sites, put in your keywords and capture the rss feeds and add them into Google Reader.
This is a list to get your started, but there are sooooo many more sites that support RSS. You just have to look around, but these will at least get you started.
Getting the feeds into Google Reader
There are many ways to get the feeds from the sites to Google Reader, here are the two easiest. Use Firefox and set all RSS to be captured by Google. See screenshot:
The other way, copy the RSS feed, go to Google Reader, click subscribe, paste the RSS into the box and click Add. See screenshot:
Next, you might want to put each of the feeds into folders. This will help you with your process. You may want a folder for competitors, one for specific products, and some for branded keywords such as the company name or trademarked products. To do this, go to Google Reader settings, click on the tab for “Subscriptions” and add each feed to the appropriate folder. See screenshot:
What am I listening for?
You could just make note of the number of times something is said, you could attempt to determine your overall share of voice in conversations; meaning the number of times your company or product is mentioned versus your competitors. You could look for feedback, you could look for fans, critics, ideas. Really there is no limit to what you can find, you just have to be open to seeing it.
Stay tuned. More posts on listening on the way…