Posts Tagged ‘human review’


Learning How-To Be Successful and Social By Listening

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Flickr Image: Beverly & Pack

Flickr Image: Beverly & Pack

Last week I attended the PR News How-To Conference and PR People Awards, which were both sponsored by BurrellesLuce. And on Friday, Sally Falkow, social media strategist at Expansion+ and PR News Trainer of the Year, gave a presentation for PRSA-NCC.

Most of the speakers at these three events, although sometimes reviewing traditional PR tactics, often seemed to switch their focus to new social media tools.  

In this post, I’m focusing on one basic tactic that seemed to be common to all: the universal recommendation of listening first (and often) to find-out where your audience and advocates are talking. Simply stated, “You need to know where the community is congregating if you want to engage them.” Although it will seem daunting at first, a 360 overview using several tools, will help you know where to focus for continued monitoring evaluation.

Sam Ford, Peppercom, said listening is important for—

  • Product research
  • Customer service
  • Solidifying/adapting messages
  • Crisis preparation
  • Outreach
  • New business opportunities
  • Target audiences

Falkow, at a separate event, seemed to expand upon this point by saying that, “Listening helps you with your plan by generating ideas and showing you what the community is interested in discussing.”

Wendy Harmon, American Red Cross, gave a great tip: Learn to tie in your PR campaigns to what the community is talking about. By monitoring the discussions, you can make your campaigns relevant.

Both Falkow and Anne Carelli, Coca-Cola, emphasized you should “fish where the fish are.” This means you should use listening to find communities, and then start conversing in them. You don’t need to go out and create a new community if one already exists. There are several examples of companies trying to create a new community, only to fail, because it is competing with an existing one.

Colin Moffett, Weber Shandwick, and Falkow both talked about using your listening tools to understand influencers. You need to do your homework and understand what a blogger is writing about before you engage them in a conversation. Bloggers are often pickier about how and when you communicate with them then are traditional reporters.

Lastly, as listening moves into monitoring, you should use it for media content analysis. Your analysis needs to be based on your campaign goals. Most of the speakers felt “favorability” or “sentiment” should be consistently illustrated in most measurement plans. Falkow and BurrellesLuce’s Johna Burke both emphasized doing human review of the sentiment, because a computer can not understand nuances or sarcasm.

The take away for these recent industry events: listening needs be a part of your strategy from beginning to end of your campaign.

What are your “how-to” tips? Do you have any listening tips?