I’m going into a listening phase for a client, where I observe their customers and partners habits online.
I thought I’d write up some of my techniques. The overarching task is listed as “Set up a monitoring system for “listening” to the social media participation by customers or partners.” The deliverable for this monitoring system is in the form of a report. But I’m also thinking of ways to set up a Google account so their technical writers can continue to monitor for months and years to come.
For starters, though, I’m going with who I know as much as what I know, picking the online brains of people who are close to this type of product. First, I searched through the archives of a blog of an industry analyst. I found a great post about a set of opposing videos the company had responded to when they were called out by a larger company (my client is the small company). What a find! Definitely set the tone for what they had recently gone through on the social web.
Next, I set up Google Alerts for the company name and two or three keyword phrases that relate to their products. I found a small group of blogs and bloggers dedicated to discussions about the technology behind the products, but not the product itself. There is also some standards work related to the product, which is good to know.
I also searched on LinkedIn for people’s profiles that have this company’s products listed. Then I made a list of their job titles. This client is already providing me with personas, which is great, but I want to add on more information if needed.
I searched on Indeed.com for jobs in high-tech metro areas where the job description contains some of the key skills the product requires as well as the product name itself. This search also reveals job titles.
I also set up a Twitter search that summarizes keywords and the company name, mimicking the Google Alerts. This search yielded more news and marketing information than I expected, which I could interpret as users aren’t on Twitter, but the companies are on Twitter.
Finally, I want to segment the customers by demographics, such as men in the U.S. aged 35-44, to see what their tendencies are for using online information based on the latest Groundswell Social Technographics ladder and data.
I’m also going to revisit the user assistance research that Scott Deloach put together, assembling best practices for user assistance.