Chapter 9. The Care and Feeding of Fans

You've got a web site, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. You are feeding all of them on a regular basis with new, interesting, and engaging content. But do you know whether doing so is helping you at all? What do customers think of what you are publishing and sharing?

In addition to creating content, you are also building a community of fans and customers around you. It's critical to take care of your community by listening and responding to them when appropriate.

Recall the steps to building a campfire. What happens when you ignore a fire for too long? It either burns out or burns out of control. Neither is what you want.

Setting Up a Listening Dashboard

Listening is one of life's most important skills. If you have kids, you know how often you have to tell them that they need to listen closely. The last thing you want your community and customers to think is that you lack listening skills. Luckily, you have various listening tools at your disposal to help you pay attention to your audience.

As with many things online, free and premium (paid) tools of varying quality are available. We are going to focus on a few free ones, because the premium services constantly add new features and require investigation by you to determine which feature set is appropriate for your needs and budget.

Having a central location for coordinating your listening efforts is important to success. That location is your listening dashboard, which may simply consist ...

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