Listening to the web

Social media gives your customers the ability to talk about you and your business at the drop of a hat. Do something great and you might see a favourable mention on Twitter. Stuff up and expect anything from a bunch of angry tweets, through to a warts-and-all blog post or a Facebook group set up in your (dis)honour.

When a customer mentions you favourably it’s nice to say thanks. They took the effort to be a public advocate, they deserve some appreciation. On the flip side if someone is mad enough to air a complaint it’s smart strategy to respond. Dell does this all the time on their Facebook Fan Page. People complain, Dell responds in a professional, courteous manner. Clever.

Listening to what the web is saying isn’t difficult. Most agents need just a few resources. First you’ll need an RSS reader. Web browsers often include a built-in feed reader. I use Google Reader which is web-based. Second, you’ll want to set up a Google Alert. It’s a simple process. Alerts can be delivered to either email or an RSS reader. The reader option allows you to check on the alerts whenever suits and keeps your inbox free of clutter.

So what sorts of terms might you include in an alert? There are plenty of options. Start with your name, the name of your business, and possibly the names of your sales and property management staff. You might also create alerts for the terms “property” and “real estate” in combination with the names of the suburbs in which you operate. Google allows you to create up to 1000 alerts, so experiment.

Some alerts may produce no results and this may be due to using overly restrictive search terms or misspelling words. Google have an excellent Alerts help centre.

Finally, you’ll want to set up and subscribe to a number of Twitter searches. To set one up perform an advanced Twitter search. There are a number of options available so be prepared to experiment until you get the most relevant results. For example, a search using the “All of these words” field for “real estate Balmain” might produce no results, but changing the search to “property balmain” may be more fruitful.

It’s important to subscribe to the RSS feed of the search even where there are no search results. Just because there are no mentions today doesn’t mean someone won’t tweet about you in the future. It’s best to know.

Listening and responding is a great way to build your network and improve your brand. Do it right and you’re set to achieve some great results.

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About Peter Fletcher

Speaker, trainer, and consultant helping real estate agents sort out their online communication strategy.

@peterfletcher - Google+

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