I'm very tempted to start using Results On Insights for ROI thanks to Barb Chamberlain's comment in yesterday's post "What Are The Best I-Words For Nonprofits To Think About Social Media and ROI?"
But what does that really mean?
A few days ago, I asked for some stories "What is the value of listening through social media channels for your organization?" I wanted to see examples from nonprofit organizations engaged in listening and conversation and the value it has to their missions, programs, or marketing efforts. And you shared them! Thanks.
Here's what I learned.
- Listening may happen at the personal, staff level as a best practice for doing their job whether or not it is embedded in the organization's culture.
- For listening to become an organization wide activity and more impact, it needs to be part of the organization's culture. That happens when leaders model and encourage it.
- Listening is typically used by nonprofits to provide better customer service, correct misconceptions, and other ways to support external audiences. Nonprofits are also using listening to support improved program implementation.
- Organizations use both hard data points and qualitative data to listen and learn.
- Having a structured way to collect and analyze qualitative insights can not only help with designing a social media engagement policy, but also harvest insights.
- Effective listening through social media channels means that individuals and organizations need to identify why they are listening and how they will apply what they hear.
- The value of listening is not in the act of listening in and of itself, but when an organization or individual uses the information to improve programs or marketing. This requires engaging in a conversation.
Correcting Misconceptions and Improving Customer/Stakeholder Relations
The AirForce Blog:
The image above is of the US Air Force Blog Assessment and Engagement
process. It is an excellent example of working through how an
organization might respond to comments on a blog, but even
better it is map for insight harvesting. As David Meerman Scott notes in his analysis of their social media strategy, the goal is "to use current and developing Web 2.0 applications as a way to actively
engage conversations between Airmen and the general public."
If you were still thinking about ROI as Return on Investment you'd never be able to make a case! With such a clear policy for response, it is obvious that the blog generates valuable information to shape and improve a marketing strategy.
As Pudding Relations suggests "Take a look and see if you can use it to enhance your own thinking around social media with, ahem, military precision."
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center is listens by searching for discussions about blood donations in their local area says Courtney Martin. Although there is low volume, the listening has provided a lot of value. "We've been able to answer questions for people who want to donate
blood but don't know the rules, or who have misconceptions. When we
found someone who'd had a negative experience at one of our facilities,
we were able to respond to her concern and leave her with a
good feeling about our organization. It was our first true social media success story, and helped
validate our social media use to the powers that be at our organization."
No doubt, the listening also provides great content ideas for their blog.
Network for Good has some terrific stories about noisy, angry people becoming champions for their services because of active listening and then open engagement with them on social networks or in the comments of blogs. One example is from the GiveWell Blog which posted a complaint about the Network For Good's fees. Network for Good's Vice President, Katya Andresen, left a comment in response which lead to a conversation and this follow up post from GiveWell. After some back and forth conversation, including asking for his input when they changed their fee structure, GiveWell became a supporter and user for Network for Good's services.
Getting Ideas for Campaigns or Programs
GreenPeace Whale Trail asked their online visitors for campaign ideas and they got some great ones, like the Great Whale Trail, where they tagged whales and then tracked them using GPS/Google maps. This drove traffic. (Hat tip Miriam Kagan)
Improving Program and Service Delivery
Green Media Toolshed; Founder Marty Kearns says that listening is something that is done on an individual staff level, but for it to become an organizational process leaders need to build a culture of listening. He encourages staff to listen on many different channels and to blog what they learn in order to share with members. He notes that they have a 80% retention rate with members and "you can't do that without listening." Listening by using rss feeds helps refine their services and help stay sharp and connected to experts in the field. A lot of their listening is through filtering information from friends on social networks which saves them a lot of time and helps the organization "work smarter."
World Institute. The social media maven and metrics expert is Laura Lee Dooley
where the organization uses a combination of qualitative and
quantitative data points to improve their social media strategy.
Laura's challenge is to get the right metrics to the right people on
staff at the right time to reap insights. She's recently retooled the
organization's metrics dash board to include social media measures.
Using the hard data points and sifting through qualitative data, she
drives reflective conversations with staff that reap substantial
insights. Here's a few:
World Institute. The social media maven and metrics expert is Laura Lee Dooley where the organization uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative data points to improve their social media strategy. Laura's challenge is to get the right metrics to the right people on staff at the right time to reap insights. She's recently retooled the organization's metrics dash board to include social media measures. Using the hard data points and sifting through qualitative data, she drives reflective conversations with staff that reap substantial insights. Here's a few:
- People who are leaders in online conversations about our issues are not always the same as those who are leaders in the offline world. You should reach out to both audiences.
- People who choose to follow me or my organization do so because of the conversations we participate in and the issues we care about. Keeping the trust of those who follow and support us is an important responsibility.
- It is important to leverage the active social media networks that are already out there - jump in, listen, contribute and you will develop a core group of dedicated followers who will become advocates for you and your work.
LawHelp: Kate Bladow who blogs at Technola says that listening has become a best practice for staff persons responsible for program management, even if it isn't being done as an organizational wide activity. Notes, Kate, "I found out this week that a colleague and I both listen to social media channels on "legal aid" and "pro bono" because we want to know if anyone is reaching out and looking for legal aid." Kate directs those people to their web site where they can find legal information as well as referrals. They also listen to identify people who are talking about wanting to take on pro bono legal work and recruit them as pro bono lawyers.