I walked into a room the other day and someone said to me, “are your ears burning?” As I hadn’t been sunning myself or misusing my hair straighteners this could only mean one thing, the group in the room were talking about me. But if I hadn’t walked in at that precise moment would I have known that I was the topic of conversation? Probably not. This scenario can be likened to how businesses monitor what is being said about them or their industries. It feels like we are shorter on time than ever now in a working week as constant demands are put on us to keep up to date with the seemingly ever changing technology, apps, tools, plug-ins and platforms that keep us in touch with our customers, our audience and the world. I for one certainly don’t have time to sift through tweet after post after review to see if I got a mention or a shout out so therefore I need to be very specific in my “detective work” if I want to know what’s hot and what’s not and where I fit into the picture.
Using the likes of social media, analysis sites and review platforms can be a great way to keep up with news relevant to your industry, and also your competitors but I think we are probably all familiar with review sites and the fact that most can alert you when a new review is posted now, and I reckon we should be getting to grips with streaming our social media channels and using ‘new follower’ and ‘mention’ information to build our following too. So what is the next step in the world of marketing “espionage”?
I have recently discovered a few new sites that promise great things and with time and a little more detective work I’m sure I will be using them to their full capacity, and when that day comes I will do a follow up to this blog, but in the meantime I’m just going to give you a taster of what is available to you at the click of a button… Let’s start with the big daddy, Google…
You may or may not be aware that late last year Google introduced reviews for businesses in Google Places, where you can learn what your customers are saying about your business on Google and across the web. If you have a verified business listing you will be able to see and respond to ratings and reviews left by your customers. Responding to feedback is a good way to engage with your customers directly and learn from their comments in order to provide and improve a tailored service.
This is amazing, I am a big fan purely because of how you can narrow down information by what is relevant and specific to you. Fresh new content is the apple of Google’s eye and this new service gives you the tools to find and harness the power of research, analysis, trends and insights, all in one place.
You start by selecting the industry that you’re in or that you want to find out more about and then you can streamline the results by selecting from the following categories and sub categories:
Product & tools
Pretty cool huh! I don’t want to give too much away as you should definitely explore this for yourself but what I will say is that google has compiled a lot of information here from various studies, trends and ideas that they are working on and monitoring with the express aim of making it easier for businesses like yours to make better informed choices and decisions – and it’s there for the taking!
This next one is pretty good too and has been set up to help increase website traffic through search engine optimisation analysis.
Even if you only have a slight inclining to know what SEO is all about this site will get you hooked and you will be addicted in no time. Basically, what this site does is show you the stats, facts and figures of your competitors from a search engine and keyword perspective. You can look at things like keywords they have bought, organic rank and ads and a lot of the information is free.
Obviously you can look at your own information too and use the recommendations made by the site to improve your performance – think this is going to be my new play thing!
SEMrush.com is similiar to Spyfu but I haven’t had a chance to look into that one as much, if you do and find that you have a clear favourite, be sure and let us know, it would be good to get some different opinions.
Having knowledge like this available to you in an easy to use format is brilliant. But if it’s brilliant for you, you can guarantee that it is going to be brilliant for your competitors too, hence why you need a clear and structured plan outlining your objectives before you start. If you want to use some of the tools mentioned above but are a little unsure whether you would get the best from them, give us a call and we can discuss how Début Marketing can help.
In the meantime, here are some slightly less complex tools that will get you on the right track.
Google.com/trends – This will let you see where and when there is demand for your product and who is searching for it (i.e. in what country etc.)
Twitonomy – This is similar to Hootsuite but offers some more features.
Google alerts – Automatically get results based on a specific search query sent to your inbox.
Google search – The advanced search lets you see relevant, up to date content and engagement so you can join in conversations and make yourself seen when people are searching for content/terms
Buzzwords – Search on Twitter to see who is talking about industry relevant topics, you can also search your business name in case people are talking about you and do not know your twitter handle
Topsy – great for keeping up to date on Twitter mentions and trending topics
Ok, so I think I have earned my keep for this week. Next week I will look at how to gauge your placing in the market.