The most important thing that you can do to implement a successful strategic Social Media strategy in your organization is to listen.
One of the first lessons that I learned when I started integrating into a social setting in Kindergarten is that it wasn’t all about “me” any more. I had to learn how to listen to other people’s needs. This is a challenge! It’s a challenge in our personal lives, and it’s a challenge in business. In our personal lives this makes sense, it’s intuitive to know that we have to listen. In today’s tight market, it’s hard for organizations to say “okay let’s spend some resources listening to what other people have to say.”
Listening, as I am using it here regarding social media, means listening to what people are already saying on social media platforms about your industry and your organization. If you, as an organization, don’t have the resources to start listening to what people have to say before you start blasting people with social media messaging, I would suggest that you hold off on the blasting. It’s also the best place to start, for those of you that want to start using Social Media in your organizations, but aren’t sure what to do first!
So why listen?
- Provides you with an incredible opportunity to hear what your customers are saying – about you.
- Can help you get a feel for how people participate and communicate on different platforms.
- Can give you direct access to the leaders in your field, and you can see what they are saying.
- You can think about whether or not their approach is working, and how you could do better.
- You can see what is happening RIGHT NOW. Real Time. You don’t have to wait 6 months for survey results.
- No one is going to listen to you if you don’t listen to them. At least not for any length of time.
- Relationships (which are going to at least be part of the goal of any social media strategy worth it’s salt) are two-way streets.
Where should you start listening?
- Twitter is a great place to start. Twitter searching provides you with the opportunity to use a “live search engine”.
- Industry blogs – if you are part of a larger industry with some known leaders, read what they are saying.
- Partner blogs – Listen to what your business partners/suppliers/ have to say! Listening can strengthen those relationships.
- Customer blogs – Listen to what your customers are saying! Identify your core customers. See if they have a social media presence. If they do, see what they have to say! If the individuals don’t find blogs from people with similar characteristics and read those!
- Industry forums – If you are part of an industry that has forums or message boards that are dedicated to your nice, join up and read what people have to say.
When should you start?
Right now! Listening to what people are saying for 20 minutes a day will have a positive impact on your organization, your marketing efforts, and your individual goals. You will be building your knowledgebase with each minute that you spend listening. You will be learning more about your customers. You will be learning more about your industry and your competitors. You will be building new relationships and strengthening the ones that you already have.
So what do you think? How much time do you spend listening on social media? Any tips for beginners? For experts?