Why listening? Learning how to listen using a couple of social media tools and the active task of listening is something that can be easily learned in a few hours and if an organization invests 1-5 hours per week in this task it will definitely return value to strategy development.
As the ExperienceTheBlog suggests:
Simply put, the best way to use social media is to use it. Don't jump into the deep end of the social media pool, but you won't get any benefit nor gain any knowledge by staying dry and arguing over where and how to leap. Dip a toe into the water, test the temperature, and see what you learn about your consumers and your brands.
The point was driven home to me by a commenter from a nonprofit organization named Paulette who works for an arts organization who left this comment on the interview with Marc from the Chicago Symphony:
We're trying to figure out how to best engage in social media. I'm advocating for us to use it more as part of our outreach efforts because I think we're missing an opportunity to communicate with the new audiences we're always talking about developing for the arts. The ROI ideas were particularly helpful as you're correct, it is important to be adding more value than just "keeping up with Joneses." And I'm especially keen on the idea of listening first, as, of course, inevitably the push escalates to "act and get big results" long before you're actually ready for that.
I thought it was right on.
I like how Josh Bernhoff definesit on this YouTube video from the Forrester Consumer Forum. "Learning from what your customers are saying."
In the chapter on listening in Josh Bernhoff and Charlene Li's new book, Groundswell they point out that listening is nothing new - it's market research. There is a difference between market research (using surveys, focus groups, and interviews to collect data) and listening (using social media tools). Market research generates answers, while listening using social media generates insights.
Bernhoff and Li point out in their book that there are problems relying solely on social media to do your listening. While you'll gain new insights, the people you're listening to are not necessarily representative of your total client or audience base. The other issue is information overload due to volume.
As a listener using social media tools, you become a Jane Goodall observing your clients in their natural environment. On the social web,current and potential supporters for your nonprofit are sharing opinions, concerns, and ideas; some are even sharing their day-to-day experiences with your issue area or why they care or what might motivate them to make a contribution. If your first tactical step is to spend 1-5 hours per week putting on your social media ears, you can glean the nuances of what's on your supporters' minds.
Help us flesh out the Listening section by answering these questions on the wiki:
- What are some basic beginner steps for listening?
- What are some advanced techniques for listening?
- What are some of the best resources or blog posts about social media listening?
- We are REALLY need examples, stories, or case studies about nonprofits and listening. Share a "nugget" or drop a comment and I'll interview you for a blog post and addition the wiki.