The idea of “Fish where the fish are” – listening and monitoring to figure out where your customers are in social media before jumping in – is a basic and important business concept. I remember reading abut this in Chris Brogan’s eBook several months ago, but have been drawn back to the fishing analogy by a number of recent posts that I’ve run across.
I think that the fishing parallel can be drawn even further as more people and brands moving into social media. The rate of change is very rapid right now, at the Social Media Club of Salt Lake meeting this past Thursday, it was mentioned that 6,000 businesses are creating Twitter accounts every day. With that many more fishing setups, there are bound to be more hooks being dropped into the part of the pond that you’re trying to fish in. With more options, fish are going to be more picky. Sure, a fish might still snap up the hook closest to it, but they’re at the point where they’re ignoring a lot of hooks and looking more for the ones with the bait that they’re most interested in. Also, many are at the point where they won’t nibble unless they’re hungry – so both content and timing are more critical than they ever have been.
In order to figure out what will trigger your fish to bite, you need to continually monitor your analytics using short url services like ow.ly and bit.ly. See what posts or tweets people are interested in and test new ones to figure out why. Another shortening service, su.pr, even recommends the best times for you to fish based upon past click-through rates (be aware that this service is still is beta mode at this time, follow @stumbleupon for information on when it will be rolled out further).
There will be days when the fish aren’t biting as well as some when you can’t throw your hook back in quick enough, but the days of only a few people fishing have drawn to a close and we all have to be careful to make sure we’re fishing with the right setup and at the right time.