It’s universal to relationships. We’ve heard it from our parents, friends and even…well, maybe most especially, from our true loves: listen.
If it works with your BFF and your honey, it stands to reason that it will work with your social media relationships too. This Valentine’s Day, take a tip from your offline relationships and start listening.
- Put your ear up to the proverbial door. Start listening to what’s being said about your organization, your competitors and your industry. Set up Google Alerts, Social Mention and log in to major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Don’t feel pressured to join the conversation yet. Just listen.
- Pick the right (wo)man for the job. You’ve got a general feel for the conversation and you’ve just started engaging in it yourself. Congrats! Now look around your organization and think – who can listen best? The person should not only understand social media, but be well-versed in your organization and industry. After all, they’ll be the one who “hears” questions and have to figure out what to do next.
- Organize their thoughts. As you listen, start making note of reoccurring themes. These trends can help you fine-tune your marketing, services, fundraising and more.
- Engage the team. Even if you pick a great “listener” to be your point person on listening, they won’t know it all. They can’t; that’s crazy. Employ a few people across your organization to help provide context, answers and details relevant to the conversation. Consider workflow tools that allow easy teamwork to facilitate this.
- Move beyond yourself. Think about and listen to issues that extend beyond your organization and industry. Be mindful of pop culture trends and consider how you can engage in the timely conversation about them.
- Know your limits. You can learn important things from social media but keep your constraints in mind. Not all your members or donors are on social media. And even if they are, you aren’t hearing everything they say. You aren’t hearing their wall-to-wall personal Facebook conversations and that’s OK. Just know it, acknowledge it and avoid assuming you are omniscient.
Even though the gurus of social media can offer great advice, they also admit some major challenges. If you are hitting these same obstacles, don’t worry. We all are.
- Determining influencers
- Gauging influence
- Separating meaningful signal from noise
But just like in any good relationship, if you keep on listening, a few roadblocks don’t have to mean doom or post-it note break-ups. It could actually mean a stronger relationship in the end.
Now from the Convio team to you, Happy Valentine’s Day hot stuff.