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Post image for The Secret Ingredient to Social Media

You’re scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, quietly reading about what everyone is doing. You see your old high school friend just had a baby, and you spot vacation pictures of your cousin Sue in Hawaii.  You don’t like or comment on the post – perhaps you’re shy?

Most of us have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but when you look at how many people are visibly interacting with the content being put out there, it often seems like most of our friends are either silently trolling our pages, or not paying attention at all!

The missing ingredient in this scenario is “listening.”  Listening is the act of not only reading something on social media (i.e. trolling), but engaging with the content so the creator knows it was seen and understood.

Businesses are often befuddled by the concept of social listening and few do it. In fact, most brands are so busy spewing out self-serving content and promoting themselves that they forget what “doing” social media should be all about.

Now think about your business page. Are you actively listening to what other brands, potential partners, retailers of your product, etc. are saying? If not, here are five ways to turn it all around and become a good social media listener:

Incorporating the Secret Ingredient to Social Media

1.  Use Facebook as Your Business Page.

Many business page owners may not be aware that they can use Facebook as their business page.  At the top of the Facebook “Admin Panel,” click on the last item where it says, “Use Facebook as [Your Business Name].”  Then you can start Liking and Following brands as your company Page, as well as interact with the content they’re sharing.

For my company Page, I like various bloggers, media organizations, designers, clients, branding experts, prospective clients, etc.  Once you’ve taken the time to “like” a handful of business pages, you can keep tabs on them, and show you’re actively listening to them.

To do this, click on the Facebook icon in the top left side of the page and then all the pages you previously “liked” as your brand Page will be in your newsfeed. Don’t forget to switch back to using Facebook as yourself when it comes time to like those high school friend’s new baby photos!

2.  Give ‘Em Love Back.

Whenever another business page comments or shares the content on my brand page, I often go directly to their site and give them some love back. I make sure I “like” their page, and then I comment on something I found interesting on their site too.  It’s a good way to acknowledge they stopped by and solidify the connection. You can do this on Twitter too. When someone of interest follows you, follow him or her back and tweet him or her a 140 character note too!

3.  Create Twitter Lists.

One of my favorite things to do in Twitter is create Twitter lists.  If you make your lists public and add persons of interest to that list, they will see that you added them.  This is a very public way to listen to the like-minded people that you want to keep tabs on. (You can also create private lists so you can listen to what people are saying more privately.)

Nothing makes me feel better than when someone adds me to a Twitter list called, “Great PR Agencies” or “Social Media Experts I Know.”

4.  Comment on Posts.

A lot of us put content out there on social media and blogs, but rarely does it solicit a comment. If you like what you read, or you don’t like it and want to let the writer know about it, go ahead and leave a comment.  Trust me, that blogger or content creator will take note and often will check you out in return (and possibly leave a comment on your blog or social media site too – it’s good karma to do so, right?).

Commenting is a way we can show we’re listening and engaging with the creator – do it and you’ll find your social networking to be much more rewarding!

5.  Create Sharable Content.

If you want people to listen to you in return, make sure you’re giving them something interesting to listen to.  Create amazing, remarkable and irresistibly shareable content.  Use graphics to illustrate your blog posts or fun inspirational quotes you’d like to share. Utilize beginner graphic design tools like PicMonkey and Quozio to create visual content that rocks!  When someone shares your content, don’t forget to thank him or her and share in return.

Social listening can be magical for both the initiator and recipient of the social listening love. Nothing makes us feel better than knowing our content has been seen and enjoyed by others. Go ahead, make someone’s day by sharing their content, leaving them a comment, or otherwise engaging them with irresistibly amazing content to share.

Want more?  Jenny wrote the book on social listening!  It’s called The Art of Social Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages and is a quick read to give you practical, step-by-step tips on how to take your social media listening to the next level.

About the Author:

Jenny Finke headshot 2014 2Jenny Finke is a PR and social media guru and founder of the PR agency, Red Jeweled Media. She believes brands can do a better job at social media, and it starts with social media listening.  Contact her at www.RedJeweledMedia.com

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