I'm Listening, Now What? 5 Tips to Make Your Listening Worth It | npENGAGE

I’m Listening, Now What? 5 Tips to Make Your Listening Worth It

By on Nov 4, 2010 | NONPROFIT-FUNDRAISING

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We recently talked about how to Set up Your Social Media Listening Dashboard with the goal of getting you to run some basic searches on various social media web sites and aggregate them into an iGoogle Dashboard. Doing this makes it simpler for you to monitor and take action on the things being said about you. It also helps you participate in the conversations going on around the web that you want to join.

Social Media ParticipationOnce you have some of the fundamentals in place it’s time to think about how to take action or as Mike Manuel puts it get your Conversation Escalation and Participation going.

Before we go too far, I understand there are a lot of things to think about when getting started with social media participation. Beth Kanter points out a few good questions that Amber Naslund talks about on the PowerShift Blog. These questions as well as others should all be considered and thoughtfully planned for before you get too far along.

  • Do we have to respond to EVERY brand mention?
  • How much time does it take each day to do this?
  • What’s the best way to handle negative comments? Ignore or engage?
  • How does one person manage all of that information?
  • How do we keep track of what happens after someone responds?
  • Who should respond to brand mentions? What should they say?
  • How will we know if all of this is making a lick of difference?

It should also be understood that not knowing the answers to each of the above shouldn’t stop you in your tracks. There are some things you can get started with right away. Here are five social media listening action items you can start today.

1. Refine your listening skills

That’s right. Once you get your listening system in place make sure you continue to explore, test, review and refine what you are doing. Here are three things you can try today.

2. Make it clear you are listening

Once you’re out there listening to what’s being said about you and your organization you should begin to let people know you’re there. If you’re spending the time to listen, it makes sense to let your community know you’re there and ready to engage them. Make it known that you are around and that you are listening, absorbing and taking action where needed. Your supporters should know you are there and that you care.

3. Talk with people

Chris Brogan recently published A Brief and Informal Twitter Etiquette Guide that provides a lot of tips about Twitter use. You could probably apply plenty of those tips to social media in general. I gave him one more “Talk with people. Social media is all about being social. People have related the social media environment to many things. Some call it a cocktail party while others relate it to a family reunion. No matter how you look at it, always remember that people want to connect and they want to talk. It’s simple. Treat people well and talk with them. Allow them to share, ask questions, give feedback, etc… and you reciprocate. That alone will go a long way in your quest to connect with current supporters as well as help you acquire new supporters.

4. Promote your followers, friends, supporters, donors

The people you want to connect with and your supporters are involved in social media for a reason. They may not all be there, but those that are probably publish content in various forms. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc… They’re out there on the web doing great things. Share their work freely!

5. Share relevant information

You are using social media for a reason. It’s a great channel to build relationships, connect with people and share about what you have going on. Don’t forget to share your work, but be social about it. Ask for feedback. Answer questions. Reply to comments. Encourage others to use your content. Remember, be social.

That’s only 5 tips to get started. What else can you think of? What have I missed? I know there are a lot of folks out there with some great experience in this department. If you’re one of them please leave some of your valuable insight in the comments.

Photo credit: Pedro

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frank Barry, director of digital marketing at Blackbaud and blogger at npENGAGE, helps nonprofits use the Internet for digital communication, social media, and fundraising so they can focus changing the world. He’s worked with a diverse group of organizations including LIVESTRONG, United Methodist Church, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ChildFund Int’l, InTouch Ministries, Heifer Int’l, University of Notre Dame and University of Richmond. Along with writing for industry publications like Mashable and Social Media Today, Frank facilitates discussions, presents solo sessions and organizes panels for industry conferences such as NTC, SXSW, BBCon and numerous others. When he’s out and about he enjoys talking to interesting people about how they are changing the world – check out his interviews. Say Hi on Twitter – @franswaa or Google+

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