Over the past few months in this monitoring series we have been looking at specific situations where B2B companies would benefit from using a social media monitoring solution, rather than relying on just Google alerts, Twitter search and other basic monitoring tools. One of the main reasons B2B companies need to consider using a more robust solution is the sheer number of keywords that you need to follow in many situations. For this last post in the series we will be looking at monitoring an industry, and as you can imagine, there are definitely lots of terms to follow in this example.
Discover Your Industry
You need to begin any monitoring program with a discovery phase and a project as large as following an industry is no exception. Start with general industry terms to find relevant sources, blogs and people talking about your industry. Using the dashboard features of many monitoring programs you will need to take the time to dig into each one of these possible sources to determine if they are keepers or not. There are always going to be new sources of industry information that crop up, as well as one-off posts or articles, but you really need to establish a base of credible information. Make sure you review trade publications, association web sites, blogs, news sites, forums in your sources and include the sites you already know.
Bonus Content Idea: If you publish a weekly blog post with industry news, posts or other industry relevant information, this is a great ongoing source.
Discover Your Competitors
One specific area to focus on in your industry is your competitors. Add their websites to your monitoring, as well as search for their company name, product names, executive names in all of your searches. You might even want to keep up with locations of their major plants, if they are large enough to have a dominant presence in a community. While these are the competitors that you know, there may be companies moving into the space with a single product or service, or even a whole product line that suddenly competes with your business. Use keywords that are both general and specific around your industry to make sure you don’t miss any of these threats to your business. An early warning of this type may make your social media monitoring efforts all worth it.
Bonus Content Idea: An industry leader can openly blog about competitors on their own site. This makes management very nervous. With the depth of information from your monitoring, you can write about objective comparisons with your own products or services. Fight the marketing spin and be honest.
Discover Thought Leaders
One of the best ways to keep up with your industry is to keep up with the thought leaders. This is a totally different approach to keeping up with the news, products and events. This gives you an ongoing, higher level perspective of what is going on and where things might be headed in your industry. Or maybe where they should be headed. As with most of these suggestions regarding your industry, it is very likely you will know where to start on this. These would be the strategic thinkers at other companies, columnists at trade publications, event speakers, prominent bloggers. Once you have identified these individuals, make sure you monitor them by name. As you see who they interact with, those may be influential people worth monitoring.
Bonus Content Idea: By monitoring these thought leaders by name, you will learn where they are speaking, and you can easily arrange for a short video interview when they are speaking nearby.
I hope this post, and the series, has given you ideas and some necessary background for exploring social media monitoring solutions for your B2B company. If there are other situations that have benefited from social media monitoring, please leave comments below.