Posts Tagged ‘listen’


Social Media: Stop, Look and Listen

Thursday, March 7th, 2013
Flickr: Paul G - the|G|tm

Flickr: Paul G - the|G|tm

Every day, my Google Reader is chock full of “how to” and “must do” articles especially when it comes to social media.  We read about how important it is to “engage with our audiences.” We hear that we must be “in the conversation.” We’re told that our brand will die if we don’t have a Facebook page – just kidding, but you get the idea.

I’d like to take a step back—back to the basics. I believe many of us got onto social media sites because we thought that was the thing to do. While that may be somewhat true, some may need to re-think why they are there; and, surprisingly (to those of us in the biz), there are a whole lot of businesses and organizations that are just now getting into social media. So, let’s talk about what you should do before making that leap (or if you want to re-evaluate why you’re there).

One thing it seems a lot of folks miss is that before you start posting, purporting, and professing in social media, you should stop, look, and listen. Just like we were taught as kids before crossing the road.  Here is a partial list of things to look and listen for:

Track your competitors.

  • Who is saying what?
  • What platform(s) are most popular in these exchanges?

Observe industry issues/trends.

  • What is being talked about?
  • Where are they talking

Monitor your own company/organization/issues

  • Who’s talking? Are these people in my target audience or are they influencers of you target audience?
  • What are they saying?
  • Where are most of the conversations happening?
  • When are these dialogues taking place?
  • What does your company want to achieve in social media?

Once you have the answers to these questions, then you can make an educated decision about whether you need to simply have a passive presence or need to be actively involved and on what platforms. In this way, you are able to create a plan of action and decide how to best allocate resources.

As Seth Godin says, “It’s a process, not an event.” Social media is not something you should just jump in and “wing it.” It takes time, commitment and resources to be done right.

What tips would you offer someone who feels intimidated or tentative about using social media channels?

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Paul Gillin Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the Bulldog Media Relations Summit.  I’m joined by Paul.

Paul, will you please introduce yourself?

PAUL GILLIN:  Hi, I’m Paul Gillin. I am a writer, speaker and a consultant in social media.

BURKE:  And, Paul, you were just on the panel about social media and the future of social media marketing, and I think that a lot of the viewers here are probably still just getting started or maybe don’t feel like they have the traction that they need in this space.  What are some tips that they can apply tomorrow as far as making their programs better?

GILLIN:  Well, first of all, I would get–if you’re not on Facebook, which almost the entire world is at this point, be sure you’re on Facebook, be sure you’re on Twitter and you have the basic groundings in those areas.  I think the important thing is to listen.  The first thing you want to do is listen.  And for that, become familiar with Twitter search.  Start looking for your company name or the names of your clients on Google.  But also become familiar with some other search engines, such as Boardwatch.  These are—or Twitter search.  These are ways to see what people are saying about you in forums that aren’t necessarily being indexed by Google. 

Build a dashboard. And, I mean, go to–go to Google and become familiar with Google Reader and learn how to take the feeds that are coming in from search.twitter.com and from a lot of Google alerts are available through a–through a feed reader. You can also go to a site like Social Mention, which indexes strictly social market–social networking areas, and you can create feeds that you can capture in Google Reader, and you can sort of build yourself a dashboard so you can see, any time you look at your dashboard, the latest information about what people have been saying about you and your company.

So I’d say spend, you know, a couple of months really getting comfortable with listening and understanding how the back and forth works, the way people talk to each other, and some of the–some of the behavioral standards of social media, and then, you know, dive in as a participant, but only once you understand how people really like to interact with each other.

BURKE:  Thank you so much.  And where can people find you in social media?

GILLIN:  Well, thank–I’m glad you asked.  I am @pgillin, that’s P-G-I-L-L-I-N, as in Nancy, on Twitter.  And I’m at gillin.com.  And I’m also pgillin on Facebook.  So I sense a pattern there.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

GILLIN:  Thank you, Johna. 

Minding Your Manners In An All Too Public Age

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Colleen Flood*
Flickr Image: CarbonNYC

Flickr Image: CarbonNYC

After seeing, hearing, and reading all the recent hullaballoo about employees publically quitting their job, I was reminded of how important manners are and how we often overlook them.

Take the case of Stephen Slater, former active employee for JetBlue Airlines, turned possible folk hero. While Slater was treated rudely by a passenger he was providing a service to that day (and he claimed, many other customers spanning his career), I don’t think, and I’m sure many agree with me, that it was necessary for him to so rudely and publicly exit his career. 

Also, I’m sure there were young children on the plane and as a parent of children under 12 I try to instill good speech and certainly don’t want them to “overhear” a flight attendant on a loudspeaker uttering curse words. Never mind having them see a grown man whisking down a safety slide when clearly there was no emergency. 

We were all taught as kids “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Then when we got older, we were taught that “the customer is always right.”  Mr. Slater forgot theses pearls of wisdom. 

Recently, I started following Jodi R.R. Smith on Twitter after reading her article, Gracious Good-Byes – Career Transitions. While Jodi has some great tips on protocol for an exit strategy, she also has periodically written pointers on manners in general, not just for the workplace. These are two that standout to me:

  • Attention Clerks: Customers who took the time to enter your store should be waited on BEFORE those calling in by phone.
  • Politeness costs nothing and gains everything.

To that I would personally add:

  • Everyone’s time has the same value – be punctual and never assume a colleague or friend is less busy than you.
  • Be courteous to family, friends, colleagues and strangers – say good morning; give a compliment; smile at someone on the street.

I also decided to weigh in with a youngster’s take on manners.  While my 10 year old was unaware of the Slater JetBlue fiasco, he did have some interesting responses to my questions on manners:

What are manners?

A. Manners are what you use to be nice to other people and let them know you are a good person.

What is courtesy?

A. This means you are aware of other people and not yourself all the time.

How do you show consideration?

A. Don’t say words that would hurt people’s feelings. Listen to them. Then when they are done you speak and you say thank you if they say something about you that you like.  Also holding doors and asking people how their day is is nice to do.

Do you think adults and kids treat each other with respect?

A. I think most people respect each other most of the time, but, it’s human-nature to ignore someone or say something mean once in your life.

Uh oh…but you apologize right??

A. Yes, you can say sorry and make it up to them with a smile.

So what has happened to manners or at least having the dignity not to act so rashly in front of an audience of onlookers?  Perhaps, the increased acceptance and need to document every moment of our lives via online and social media plays some role. Perhaps workers feel compelled to vent and unleash frustrations publically when they might otherwise have handled the indiscretions privately because they are more likely to get a response from their boss or peers. Or perhaps some aren’t as concerned with their public image as their public relations or media relations counterparts. What are your thoughts? Please share your ideas with me and the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers. 

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 *Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Sally Falkow, Press Feed, Interviewed By Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the Bulldog Media Relations Summit.  I’m joined by Sally.

 Sally, will you please introduce yourself?

SALLY FALKOW:  Hi, I’m Sally Falkow from Press Feed, the social media newsroom.

BURKE:  And, Sally, you’re doing a session tomorrow about social media strategy.  Can you please share the two big things that whenever anybody is trying to develop their social media strategy for their communications and their public relations – what are the two core things that they absolutely have to keep in consideration?

FALKOW:  Only two?  We’re only allowed two?

BURKE:  Only two for the purpose of this quick video.

FALKOW:  OK.  Well, first and foremost, I think you have to listen. Before you even start doing anything else, you have to listen to the conversations.  We heard a lot this morning in the first session from people saying how much conversation and discussion there is out there, and that the role of PR people is changing from managing news and getting our news out and working just with mainstream media to actually participating in and shaping and directing what was discussion or conversation.  So you need to know what is being said, you need to listen.

And the second thing, I think, is you need to really understand how you fit into the business and what the business goals are.  And you can’t measure if you haven’t set a measurable goal.  So you need to know what it is you’re aiming for, and then you can figure out how to get there.

BURKE:  Sally, always great insights from you.  Where can people find you in social media?

FALKOW:  On Twitter, sallyfalkow.  I’m pretty much just sallyfalkow, all together, one word, lower case.  If you search that, you’ll find me pretty much all over.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

FALKOW:  OK.

Social Media: The New Solitaire?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

by Denise Giacin*

Flickr Image: The Progressive

Flickr Image: The Progressive

Lately I’ve been struggling with the social media paradox – is it good or is it bad? I use social media because it encourages me to be, well, social. You can keep in touch with your aunt halfway across the country, you can check out photos of your recently married ex-boyfriend (ah-hem), you can stay on top of current news stories, and you can even rant or rave about practically anything and cyberspace is forced to “listen.” Networking is also another plus for social media. One of my friends recently told me how he actually used Facebook to help out a friend who was laid off. The news came up in his Facebook feed, he contacted his friend for a resume and emailed it to a PR firm he knew was hiring. His friend was rewarded with an interview and an opportunity that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

All of this sounds good, so what’s the bad? Well, there is a lot of question and doubt regarding social media in the professional world. For one, some companies are hesitant to learn about these tools and apply them to their strategies. Instead, they are blocked, strictly forbidden, and grounds to send you packing in the event that you’re caught sneaking a peek at your Twitter feed.   

I recently attended a BDI conference called “Social Convergence and The Enterprise” and my mind is overflowing with all these thoughts on social media. Paul Hernacki, chief technology officer from Definition 6, boggled my mind with his perspective on social media in the workplace. He advised that we “stop blocking things internally.” Whoa! Wait, there’s more. Hernacki pointed out that while public relations, marketing, and communications departments should guide your company as your “official voice” this alone won’t be as successful as getting your organization involved as a whole.

This, my friends, is genius. Case and point: I tried to explain to my dad, who isn’t familiar with social media, what “liking” something is on Facebook. You should have seen the blank stare on his face.  My point is, how can you expect your employees to understand the power and impact of social media if they are not allowed to be actively involved?

At the same conference I also had the pleasure of listening to Jenny Dervin, director of corporate communications for JetBlue Airways. When speaking of social media, her words “you are being watched” hovered over the conference room. After all, the conference was being broadcast live over the web and we were all watching a live Twitter feed (#BDI) of our comments.  Dervin went on to further explain JetBlue’s use of YouTube and their blog “Blue Tales” as part of their strategy for taking a crisis situation head on. How much more authentic can you get than having the founder and former CEO of JetBlue Airways, David Neeleman, deliver an apology over YouTube? Kudos to JetBlue for picking up on the fact that consumers are involved in social media and for using this medium as a way to interact.

When your employees know what is being said on social media sites or how this medium is being used to promote a product, service, or idea it can only help your company. For example, if I worked at a major automobile manufacturer I might find it interesting to know that Ford is promoting the 2011 Explorer by unveiling it first on Facebook. In fact, the Ford Explorer fan page reached their goal of 30,000 “likes” so Ford will now give away a brand new Explorer! Clearly, Ford understands Facebook and the users who frequently use it.

I’m not suggesting that your employees should do nothing but surf the web all day, but there should be a balance. Encouraging your employees to understand social media and to use it wisely is an important tactic for any business plan. There are a lot of studies discussing whether or not social media decreases productivity at work. In my opinion, before social media it was Solitaire, before Solitaire it was “the water cooler.” There are always going to be distractions. If an employee is consistently not doing their job they shouldn’t be an employee of yours.  Not doing your work is a choice you make, regardless of how easily accessible any distractions are.

Social media gets people talking. If you want to be a part of the chatter, don’t block social media, incorporate it.  I’m sure you have many thoughts on this controversial topic and we’d love to hear them. Share your thoughts with the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. How does your company feel about using social media internally? What ways have you utilized this social media phenomenon? How do you monitor social media?

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*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce