Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting at the annual Community Media Workshop: Making Media Conference where I gave a keynote last year. It was great to catch up with my Chicago colleagues, Thom Clark, Gordon Mayer, and the rest of the crew at CMW. Also, a wonderful opportunity to hang out with David Krumlauf, Judith Sol-Dyss, Steve Heye, Marc Van Bree, Kara Carroll, Michael Hoffman, and other fantastic Chicago peeps!
The big buzz at the conference was the release of "The NEW News: Journalism We Want and Need " which is a report on the state of local online news in Chicago commissioned by the The Chicago Community Trust. The Nonprofit Communicator blog has a round up of local reaction.
I taught two workshops (notes are on the wiki.) My workshop was in a fixed seating theatre, but I managed to make it interactive and I think a little fun. The morning workshop was on "Social Media Strategy: The Secret Sauce" that offered some pointers on formulating a social media strategy and measuring its success. The secret sauce, of course, is a combination of metrics, experimentation, and listening based on David Armano's thinking, and KD Paine's, social media measurement wisdom.
I added a new section about Twitter as Focus Group based on Nina Simon's work with the Smithsonian. The participants, after viewing the focus group data, had to suggest ways to apply the insights for a social media strategy. It was a fun exercise and participants were brilliant. Judith Sol-Dyss made a recommendation that made us all laugh.
In the afternoon, we took a deep dive into the listening techniques. I never dive into the tools, this session began with a focus on how and where listening fits in the organization and the work flow. I demoed a lot of different techniques in real time with suggestions of keywords or examples from the participants. Given that we were not in a computer lab, this workshop was delivered as masterclass format. I would love the chance to delivered it as a hands-on, shoulder-to-shoulder workshop with clusters of small groups doing the exercises together on the computer versus demo.
This workshop was an intermediate level workshop and several participants needed more of the introduction to listening.
At the beginning of the workshop, I asked participants how they wanted to improve their organization's listening:
- How do we get started?
- How do we make our listening less haphazard and more holistic?
- We're listening, but how to move strategically into engagement?
- How do you organize listening within your organization?
- How do you work effectively with an intern or junior staff member who is doing the nitty-gritty?
- How to use listening beyond just listening for our brand or during a campaign, but use it as a community focus group?
- How do we spread out the listening within our large organization in an effective way?
- How do we use listening beyond marketing and outreach?
- How do we prioritize what to listen for?
- How do we avoid information overload?
We a lot of discussion on different models for structuring listening within an organization.
Here are three concepts:
(1) Centralized Listener: If the organization has a full-time person responsible for overseeing social media strategy, the listening tasks would fall into this person's job description. The social media person, would be the organization's professional listener or ears. They would probably would listen daily doing deep listening with a mix of free and paid tools, would summarize and distribute regular reports to other departments, be the first-responder in the social media space, track trends over time, key listening efforts to strategy implementation and metrics, etc. The listening task could easily be 10-15 hours a week, especially if this a large volume.
(2) Listening Team: This might work for smaller organizations where there isn't a full-time social media staff function, but social media is being integrated into job descriptions of the marketing/communications team. In one organization that I worked with that had senior communications people who were less facile with social media and younger, more junior staff members who were more comfortable. This group undertook several months of two-way mentoring - brief sessions learning about the tools and each other's work flow needs. This happened through regular meetings where the senior managers got familiar with the tools and the process, actually getting hands-on with the understanding that they wouldn't be "going in the weeds." And the younger staff members, who would go in the "weeds," gained a better understand of how to summarize the listening data, what required a response, when they could response and when they needed to bring it to the attention of their boss.
(3) The Listening Organization: This model would be one where the listening activities are not solely for marketing and outreach, but other program departments might also integrate into their work flow - either for customer support, program development, research, or self-directed professional development. This would require identifying the right people, training them, and to share the information across departments, if needed.
This brings me to - how are you organizing your social media listening? Is it for marketing and communications functions only? Is it centralized or decentralized? What is an example of your organizational or individual work flow?
Update: See this post, The Five Levels of Engagement which talks about the engagement piece - which is part of the work flow of listening.