Listening has to be one of the most important tools for organizations. Social media has allowed the instantaneous exchange of thoughts and ideas and this information can be powerful to organizations to meet customer expectations. Only when you listen can you modify your marketing message to be the most effective it can be. The trick is, that you have to listen to understand your audience and not listening to reply.
We have but two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak. – Thomas Edison.
Call me old fashion, but most of my listening I do the old fashion way. When I say old fashion, I mean know whom my target audience and find out what social networks they may be communicating through. For the organization I recently did some work for, I found that the market they were trying to reach located themselves in unique grass roots groups on Facebook. Most of these were secret groups, so it took a little more investigating to find. Residing in these Facebook groups were key influencers in this community. I starting out in a couple of these groups and listened and I was able to find that these groups were located across Canada and nationally. It took a bit of time and some active listening, but this “uncensored” information was truly the most valuable to the organization I was working for. Being that the members of the group were among their peers, the information was honest and uncensored and really gave the needs of this community.
In any strategic listening exercise, it would be wise to gather information from a variety of sources. Facebook is a great way, but using only one tool limits the breadth and accuracy of data. Google Alerts, Twitter, Blogs are also very important listening tools to your data collection. Google alerts is a content change and notification system that allows an email to be sent when content is changed. Some businesses require media monitoring and while this is not a fool proof medium, it certainly speeds up the process.
The project, company and organizational needs will always determine the best resources to use. Google Alerts and Facebook are always my go-to starting point, but every project is unique and needs a different social solution.
News sources are also valuable to the data collection for organizations. What happens in the world directly impacts an organization. This could be everything from social trends to federal budgets.
Once upon a time we would pick up a newspaper and sit with a morning coffee and read the news. Those days are slowly fading with news being at our fingertips just moments after it happens. Tools to help collate various news sources can be a time saver. Feedly.com is my tool of choice for this as it can collate information I need from a variety of sources into a “one-stop shop.”
Although I still read local news through my twitter news feed, I spend most of my time with news sources like The Huffington Post and Mashable. I think the model works for my generation who want the news, want it fast, but are seeking a little bit of entertainment too. I confess, I do read Buzzfeed quite religiously as pure entertainment. It’s addictive, but should come with a warning declaimer that you could spend hours there. Anyone else have this same issue?