Facebook has a hidden option that can make listening to your competition and your industry a breeze. Do you know what it is?

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How many Facebook Pages have you “Liked” in the past year?

Chances are you don’t know. I know I don’t, and I can count on one hand the number of Pages I actively participate with.

“Listening is the most important thing you can do when it comes to your Social Media implementation.”

However, I need about twenty hands to count the number of Facebook Pages I “listen” to.

Listening is the most important thing you can do when it comes to your Social Media implementation. In fact, I would argue that listening should be the first thing you do before launching your company’s Facebook Page.

But, how do you go about listening to Facebook Pages that may be relevant to your business? Well, not too long ago Facebook had an RSS feed option that they hid at the very bottom of the page. This was before Facebook introduced Timeline. After which they moved the RSS feed as an option in the small drop down menu next to the “Like” button. Then quietly and mysteriously, it disappeared.

Now the most obvious listening solution is to start liking a bunch of pages in hopes that 1) the content is helpful to you, and 2) it somehow falls into your news stream. However, what happens if you find that the page you liked isn’t helpful? Ever try unfollowing a Facebook Page? It is not the easiest process.

Here’s how you can begin following Facebook Pages without hitting that darn “Like” button:

  1. After logging into your personal Facebook account find a Page you might be interested in following. For this example let’s use our amazing Facebook Page :)
  2. Click on the options button that is sitting right next to the “Message” button
  3. At the top of the drop down menu click on the “Add to Interest Lists” option
  4. You’ll be prompted to add the Page to an existing Interest List you have created, or you can create a new list.
  5. At the bottom of this drop down menu go ahead and click on “New List”
  6. You’ll be taken to a new page where you will see your selected page highlighted in a blue box with a check mark in the lower right hand corner. Hit “Next”.
  7. Now you can give your List a name – competitors, brands, sports, etc., whatever will help you organize your content streams
  8. Now choose if you want your List to be public, shared with other people, or private. Hint: If I am snooping on my competition, I might want to keep my lists set to “Only Me”
  9. Hit “Done” and you’ll be taken to your new list where you will see a stream of content from only the Pages you chose to add.
  10. You can click on the “Manage Lists” button on the top right to edit and change your lists.
  11. You can also, access and manage your lists individually under the “Interests” menu that will begin to appear in the lower left hand side of your profile. If you don’t see this, try clicking on the “More” option.

Bonus Extra Super Ninja Tip!!

Do you have a team of people who are responsible for listening? Should they all be listening to the same Facebook Page? Do they all need to create their own separate Interest Lists?

How can your team be sure they are covering everything they should be paying attention to on Facebook?

Well, remember those Public/Share/Private list options?

  • Go ahead and choose a list you want to share with your team
  • At the top of the list news stream you should see the title of your list, and your name below it
  • Right next to your name you should see a tiny icon representing your privacy option. Go ahead and click on this.
  • If you want to share a list with only certain people then click on “Custom”
  • In the new window you’ll be asked who you want your list to be viewed by. Go ahead and select “Specific People or Lists”
  • Begin adding names of people you want to be able to view your List. Note: For now it appears that you only share your lists with people you are friends with on Facebook

Facebook Interest Lists are a great way to add targeted data to your listening dashboards.

Using Lists will enable you to weed out the Facebook noise, and organize your news feeds in a way that is productive for you and your clients. Continue to build your Interest Lists using the above steps, and soon you will have a library of helpful news feeds at your disposal.

So, try it out, and let me know if this was helpful for you.

Photo by Seth W.

About this Blog

This blog is a collection of thoughts pertaining to the new era that is redefining business.

It focuses on the subtle shifts in perception, communication, and behavior that must take place–as well as the web-centric technologies and tactics that will be required–for businesses to thrive in the new reality.

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