A Listening Exercise – Gaining Information and Encouraging Action from Your Social Media Communities

June 13th, 2011
by
Flickr Image: Sebastian Fritzon

Flickr Image: Sebastian Fritzon

Valerie Simon

Listening, as I define it, is not a passive exercise. Listening is not a matter of simply hearing words. Listening requires a concentrated method of digesting the information, and using that information to take action. So like any exercise program, I’ll recommend you do a quick check up before starting to strengthen your listening efforts.

Check Up
Take a quick pulse: Review your business objectives and marketing plan. Keep in mind that social media participation should be integrated with your overall communications plan.

Set Goals:  What business objectives will your social media participation help you to achieve?

  • Sales
  • Donations
  • Event attendance
  • Customer Service (response/retention/loyalty)
  • Brand Awareness
  • Crowd sourcing/ product development
  • Membership/Admissions
  • Communications amongst different stakeholders
  • Recruitment
  • Thought leadership

Warm Ups
Who are you trying to reach? Consider what social media channels will be most beneficial for your organization. Stretch. Extend beyond Facebook and Twitter. Consider Flickr, YouYube, Tumblr, LinkedIn and seek out forums and blogs with strong communities.  BurrellesLuce offers several tools to help get you warmed up quickly, including ContactsPlus™, which helps you to identify new blogs by matching up a current release with those bloggers who are writing on similar topics, and Social Media Monitoring and Engagement solution, Engage121, which enables you to explore what is being said across social media channels and effectively build and manage your online communities.

Speed
Are you planning/prepared to provide immediate responses? The W Hotels “Whatever/Whenever” promise may well be on its way to becoming the standard, rather than the exception, in customer service. Social media allows stories to break and quickly spread at any time of day. I encourage those using BurrellesLuce’s Social Media Monitoring and Engagement solution, to experiment with setting up alerts using filters such as Klout rank or sentiment to sift through the noise and make sure that they are advised of critical information whenever it breaks. Of course a quick, well thought out and efficient response across all channels is critical.

Strength
Do some heavy lifting, err, searching. Investigate the current conversations being said about you, your competitors and the industry. Identify recurring themes and study trends. Review sentiment and compare how the conversations vary across different platforms. Identify key influencers and pay attention to the language and tone. What topics evoke passionate responses?

Flexibility
Don’t get stuck monitoring the same keywords you have always deemed important. As you study industry trends and influencers, adjust your searches accordingly. Begin listening to your communities even when they are not actively speaking about “relevant” topics. What do they care about? Consider what new topics or audiences may be interested in your organization.

Endurance
Set yourself up to succeed over the long term. Put in place a structure to collect the data that will allow you to learn from both your communities and your own social behaviors. There are a myriad of ways to measure social media buzz, sentiment, link tracking, share of voice, fans and followers, geo-location check-ins… slow down and take another pulse check. Review business objectives and consider what metrics can best indicate whether your activity is supporting those business objectives. As you embark upon this listening exercise, look at the data in a number of different ways.

Cool Down
Evaluate all of the data you have collected and all your new knowledge regarding trends and influencers. Go back to your business goals and consider how you will align your social media activity to meet those goals. What channels are best suited for your organization? Where should your voice be heard? Where can you build a strong community that will offer business results? Participating in social media will require an investment of time, so consider the time and resources you can devote. 

Prepare to Play
Listening exercise complete, you are ready for the big game… engagement. But that, my friends, is another post!

What would you add to your listening exercise? What activities are included in your daily listening routine? Share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

One Response to “A Listening Exercise – Gaining Information and Encouraging Action from Your Social Media Communities”

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