At first glance, it doesn’t seem like social media listening and RSS would have much in common.
One is a sophisticated practice for gauging brand reputation and planning better campaigns, while the other is an antiquated Internet protocol. Not much overlap to be seen initially.
But RSS might prove to be the tool you need to perform social media listening effectively and do it at a cost.
What is social media listening?
Social media listening is the process of monitoring your social media presence (extending to both what’s happening in your DMs and mentions, and what’s being said about you online) and then using the data to plan your next move ahead.
Social media listening makes good use of the best possible resource there is – your customers! Through authentic interactions with your audience, you can target your marketing efforts with far greater precision and generate sales leads. As well as know your brand health.
What does RSS stand for?
RSS is abbreviated from ‘Rich Text Summary’ / ‘Really Simple Syndication’. Whatever the name might be, it’s essentially the same protocol. RSS has existed since the beginning of the Internet and is used by users to syndicate posts and updates from multiple sites into just one place – an RSS reader.
It’s highly useful for when you have a lot of blogs and news sites you want to keep track of. In the past it was mainly used for text-based pages, though now RSS readers have the capacity to support all multimedia files.
How can RSS help you with social media listening?
RSS’s main strength is the ability to pull information from so many channels and types of media around the Internet, which reduces the amount of legwork required to monitor social media and also acts as a more affordable substitute for social media listening tools out there on the market.
RSS readers are also geared towards making all the work around finding, saving and subscribing to content easier. Inoreader is one of many readers, which make it a point to deliver a discovery functionality. Also you benefit from a browser extension for quick saving and checkups.
Engage with your target audience easier and faster
At a base level social media listening relies on maintaining an active presence on your social media profiles. It’s just as vital to read what people are saying to you as it is to post regularly. Customers want connections and engagement goes both ways. If you want shares, comments, likes and tweets, then you have to do the same for your audience.
Part of the equation is to be quick to the draw. Social media has replaced email and phone as the chief way for customers to complain and give feedback. Adequate reactions online foster positive sentiments and go a long way to improve customer care and satisfaction.
How does it work? You can set up searches on Twitter that feature your brand name and follow them through your RSS reader. It’s important to keep your focus wide, because not everyone is going to tag you directly.
Track what your competitors are doing
RSS feed readers make for an excellent tool to follow simple keywords, whether you’re doing this through Google Alerts, trade press or internal search. Competitors make for the perfect target – you only need to use brand name, product name or the names of recognizable managers and public figures. Inoreader is quite capable at maintaining active searches whether it’s within your personal subscription list or through its entire database.
The benefits of competitor analysis are numerous. It gives you a sense of where your brand fits in the market, what it takes to overtake your biggest competitor’s position and what separates their brand from yours. In addition, you have a direct view of their marketing strategies, content calendar and release schedule for new products and campaigns. All invaluable resources.
Follow your progress and results
RSS feed readers are able to syndicate content from all sorts of sources. In addition to news sites and blogs, you can add podcasts, newsletters, forums and just about every social media platform there is the world. As such you’re able to closely follow your brand’s visibility simply based on the volume of interactions you receive over time and what’s being written about you.
The quantitative aspect is important, because it determines your brand’s overall reach and visibility over time. At a time where everyone wants to become a viral sensation, the metrics become a defining feature.
The qualitative aspect measures popularity as well as likeability. You can totally be going viral for all the wrong reasons (the numbers take on a much more sinister meaning).
It’s important for both metrics to intersect.
Monitor your online performance
What we’ve all touched upon above boil down to overall performance. This is a metric that reflects on how well your digital marketing pays off. It’s the correlation between virality, high engagement and a successful campaign, earning you an increase in direct sales. Campaigns are easiest to track in this sense as you have a baseline for sales, a starting point, a corporate hashtag to serve as your barometer and a closing point in time.
You have a set period of time to monitor. RSS readers can be set to monitor all the important trade outlets and social media accounts that might report on your campaign. You can also follow branded hashtags and your own brand name through a Twitter search and Google Alerts. All this gives you the perfect way to monitor your online performance.
Gain important insights for your brand
The way RSS readers structure information and sharpen focus on a set of subscriptions make them perfect to spot emerging trends within a given industry. It can be as big as a competitor’s massive product launch that redefines customer expectations or as simple as identifying a new need among customers, which in turn translates to new sales opportunities in the short run.