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How To Set Up A Listening Post For Your Market
Wouldn't it be great if you could know what people in your target market were thinking - as they thought it - at any time of day or night or year? Wouldn't it be wonderful if you had immediate insight into the problems that plagued their lives, so you could figure out how to solve those problems and sell them the solution? And it would certainly be useful to know what people were saying about you, your business, and your products at any given time, right?
Good news: you can! You just need to use some widely available tools to set up a "listening post" - a stream of information that's tapped into your market. Here's a list of the tools you can use to set up a listening post - so that at any given time, you can easily get insight into your market and what they're thinking and feeling.
Using Google alerts, you can be notified via email any time a new search result containing certain keywords shows up on Google. You can use this to track mentions of your name or your business's name, and get notifications whenever someone mentions you.
Private Twitter Lists.
Using Twitter, you can create a private list of people you would consider in your target market. They'll never be notified that you've added them to a list, and this allows you to track what the people in your market are seeing, feeling, thinking, and doing at any given time.
You can also use this tactic similarly on Google+ - put people who fall directly into your target market into a circle, and then any time you feel like you need some insight into your market, you can check that circle.
When you search Twitter, you get a list of real-time results for whatever your search terms are. You can then choose to save these searches in an RSS reader, like Google Reader, or you can use a third party application like TweetDeck or HootSuite to save these searches on your dashboard. If you already use one of those apps, then that would probably be the easiest way to handle it.
Some good keywords to search for might be your business name, a product name, keywords related to the industry that you operate in, and keywords related to the problems that you solve.
If there are any hashtags (keywords that follow the # symbol, used to track and create conversations and chats on Twitter) that are related to your industry or your target market in particular, it would be a good idea to set up an additional column in TweetDeck for them as well.
Facebook doesn't have an option on its site to receive a search in RSS format. However, using the website SocialMention, you can select Facebook under the "select social media sources" option, and then get an RSS feed for a Facebook search from there. As with Twitter searches, this can let you know when someone is mentioning you, your business, or your products, and what they're saying.
If you use RSS feeds for any or all of these options, set up a specific folder for them in your Google Reader (or other RSS reader of choice) so that you can stay organized in listening to what people have to say. Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy your access to all kinds of valuable information!
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