Your organization has identified a social media objective, audience, strategy, tools, measurement, and experiment. You know your first step is listening, but before you jump into a river of conversations and keywords and even before you touch the tools, you need to be ready to listen.
Here's a few steps:
Why are you listening?
Here are a few conversation starters that you may want to have with your social media team on staff to help you prioritize your listening.
- What are people saying about our organization ("brand")?
- Are there negative issues/complaints that we need to correct?
- Is there an articulated need that we can help fulfill?
- Are there insights we can gather than can help us improve a program?
- What do they like or dislike about your program or service?
- What ideas might they offer for new services or marketing/fundraising campaigns?
- Who are the influential voices in the social media space covering your issue area or topical domain?
- What communities have already formed on social media outposts around our organization, issue, or topic area? Does it make sense for us to maintain a presence there?
List Five Ways You Plan To Use the Information
It is important to link your listening to actual decisions or action. Next, have a brainstorm session with your team about how you will use what you learn.
There are many different ways that you can organize your listening.
- Who in the organization will do the listening?
- Who is empowered to do the responding?
- What is your policy about responding?
- Do you have to respond to every comment?
- How much time will you allocate to listening every day?
- How will you share the information with your team?
- Not everyone has to do the deep dive or heavy lifting, how will you organize your team effort?
- How will you analyze the results of what you heard, analyze patterns, and share insights?
- How will we you know if listening has be useful?
Qui Diaz, The Big Dig: Online Listening and Research
Amy Naslund, How and Why of Listening
David Alston, Top Reasons To Listen
KD Paine, 27 Different Types of Conversations
Beth Kanter, Listening Literacy Skills
Beth Kanter How Listening Returns Value for Nonprofits