Listen and Learn: Monitoring Social Media

Having the power to know what others are thinking can be a mixed blessing, even a curse. Just look at Sookie Stackhouse, the telepathic protagonist of HBO’s vampire soap opera, True Blood. As she waits tables at a small-town diner, she can hear every bit of gossip and every snide remark that passes through her customers’ thoughts. It takes practice, focus, and restraint for her to avoid being overwhelmed by it all.  Sookie’s struggle isn’t all that different from the challenge posed to business by social media (minus the vampire drama). With millions of conversations taking place at once—via blogs and tweets and comments and “Likes”—how’s a company to decide what to listen to, what to tune out, and what to respond to?  An array of social media monitoring tools and services have become available in the past few years to help businesses sift though these potentially valuable streams of information. And they’re about more than just trying to police the Web for negative comments. Social-savvy companies are using these tools to generate sales leads, better understand consumers, and develop and evaluate both on- and offline marketing strategies.(Continue reading…)

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