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If you’re handling PR/ Marketing/ Customer Service in your organization…no matter what your product offering/ service is, here’s a simple, 5-day (one for each working day in the week) realization primer if you’re wondering about the what, how and why of social media engagement. This 5-day primer will not increase your sales overnight or promise you astonishing size to satisfy…I digress…this is intended precisely at creating hands-on awareness on how potent social media is. The more known your brand is, the more you’re likely to gain out of this exercise.

Day 1. Time: 30 minutes
Tool: Blogs

  1. Select at least 3 product names that your company owns.
  2. No product names? Select at least 3 business areas that your company offers services.
  3. Search for these keywords in Google Blog Search
  4. Search for the keywords in Technorati
  5. Search for the keywords in Icerocket.
  6. Just focus on the top 10 results in each search. Do you find any blog post from a non-mainstream media that interests you?
  7. Anything positive/ damaging about your area of business/ product?
  8. If so, do those blog posts contain comments from that particular blog’s visitors too?

Close the browser and get back to work.

Day 2. Time: 20 minutes
Tool: Groups/ Discussion forums/ Message boards

  1. Use the keywords identified yesterday and search for them in Google Groups Search. Thankfully for us, Google has recently expanded the scope of their groups search to many self and remotely hosted discussion forums, besides Google Groups.
  2. Search for the keywords (after logging in with your Yahoo account) in Yahoo Groups.
  3. Focus again on the top 10 results. Are there groups in Yahoo relevant to your brand/ service? Any thread that induces your interest in the Google Groups search?

Close the browser and get back to work.

Day 3. Time: 15 minutes
Tool: Microblogs

  1. The same keywords, again. Search in Twellow.
  2. Try the same in Twitter Search.
  3. How often do you see your brands/ products/ services mentioned in the first results page? A few? Lot? None?

Close the browser and get back to work.

Day 4. Time: 25 minutes
Tool: Social networking

  1. Oh no, those keywords again. Have a Facebook account? No? Jeez! Create one. Like, now.
  2. Search for the keywords in Facebook after logging in.
  3. Search for the same keywords in Orkut (specifically Indian companies. And Brazilian :-)) after logging in with your Gmail/ Google account.
  4. A few groups in Facebook with your brand/ product name? Or discussion your area of business? Are the groups discussing something? Actively? When was the last message posted? How many members have joined?
  5. Some/ lot of Orkut communities? How does the message board look? Crowded? Sparse? How many members?

Close the browser and get back to work.

Day 5. Time: 20 minutes
Tool: Video/ Photo sharing

  1. The. Same. Keywords. Search in Google Video Search (includes a YouTube search, since Google owns YouTube!)
  2. Search using Flickr Search.
  3. Any video that stops you? How often has it been viewed? Any comments?
  4. Any comments in any of the relevant photographs in Flickr?

What next?

  1. If you’ve had an epiphany due the sheer amount of discussion your brand/ service/ area of business generates online, you’ve a fabulous opportunity to join the conversation and add significant value.
  2. If you have not found anything and find this 5-step exercise pointless on Day 5, relax – you’ve a fabulous opportunity (again!) to make a mark yourself on behalf of your organization. Either way, you have something amazing in your hands.

Next up…making this informal listening process formal. Hands-on. Yourself.

Photo courtesy: ArtByChrysti via Flickr

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