Listening is the critical start of an effective social media plan.
Whether you’re a big brand or a solo blogger gathering up the conversation about your work helps develop perspective, adjust perceptions, and make plans to serve the people who love what you do. Listening has been called the new marketing. We’re learning to sort through the chatter for:
- people who are talking
- volume and location of conversations
- tone and sentiment — content and context
- advice, complaints, ideas
- direction, timing, and growth
We’re learning to sort to the relevant:
- tracking keywords
- setting blog alerts
- connecting on social networks, reading about people, and getting updates from them
- following and searching influencers who share interests
- using cross-platform aggregators, social news centers, and comment trackers
- asking questions via surveys, via Twitter, via social networks, via our blogs
Congratulations. People are talking about you and your industry so much that you need a more robust tool for making sense of it all. Several good monitoring services can help, including Radian6 and Nielson’s BuzzMetrics. –NTEN, Got Your Ears On? How to Listen to Your Audience Using Social Media
We’re even beginning sort the signal from the noise to see:
- the positive and negative
- the patterns and trends
- the random and the regular
The information we gather can be overwhelming and contradictory. How we decide when it should move us to change what we do?
Who’s Worth Listening to?
People online are talking all of the time. Sometimes what we say is influenced by the moment or by the group. Sometimes our opinions are uninformed, missing bits of the big picture, bits that would change what we thought or what we would suggest someone might do.
Beyond all that it’s important to remember that we’re a self-sorted group. Everyone online has access to a computer and is literate. Not everyone who has an opinion offers it. Some who offer their opinion have agendas other than helping us improve. And those opinions and the wisdom we offer can fall woefully short of the depth of our feelings. Those opinions and that wisdom also can be far from what we’d actually do.
Even when we listen in the best of faith, we’re still we’re likely to be confused by whom to listen to.
How do you know when a complaint is worth changing a feature or strategy?
Do you listen to the critics?
Do you listen to the fans?
Do you listen to the people who don’t care all that much about you?
Do you try to get the folks who usually don’t talk to weigh in with an opinion?
Seth was brilliant on just this point this weekend.
… the critics won’t be placated. Changing your act to make them happy is a fool’s game.
Here’s a surprising thought, though. You should ignore your fans as well.
Seth suggests that the most important feedback comes from the folks who thrive on sharing what you do. Those “sneezers” are the people who will help you grow.
How do you recognize your “sneezers.” How do you listen for the folks who thrive when you do?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!