Being a social media marketer is like being a covert spy on a mission. On most missions a spy is pursuing a target and has a cover ID. To gain the target’s trust the agent sits back, listens, and studies the target for the perfect opportunity to engage them. By being patient and studying their target, a spy can collect valuable information.
As a social media marketer, my job is similar to being a spy. On each project my goal is to gain trust. Before I can I need to learn everything I can about them. Here are tips to becoming an expert social media spy.
1. Find Your Target
This first step is the leg work. You need to identify what community you want to target. This could range anywhere from a group on LinkedIn to a particular blog that focuses on a specific topic.
Now that you figured out what community you are targeting, it is time to start your stake out. This can be a lengthy process so you might want to get the snacks ready. But I assure you that it will be time well spent. Listening allows you to understand the dynamics of a community and follow the discussion that takes places. Listening allows you to gather information on who the influential contributors are, what they find interesting, and ultimately what you could possibly contribute with.
a. Setup Listening Devices
A spy can’t be everywhere at once and neither can you. Managing and keeping track of multiple communities or networks can be tough and extremely time consuming. The two most useful tools to help you listen are:
· Google Reader
· Tweet Deck
These “listening posts” can make it very easy to receive updates from multiple sources without having to visit them individually.
3. Engage the Community
A time will come when you feel comfortable becoming an active community member. This could happen in the following ways:
· Answering questions
· Commenting on articles
· Responding to comments
· Writing an interesting blog post on a specific topic