If you want to be successful in social media you need to start with “listening”, you need first, to understand and then, to be understood. The listening tactics that you establish in the beginning will serve as a guide through the dynamic and interesting world of Social Media.

Whether you are using social media to market your business or you have a more personal objective, the principles of listening are basically the same. Being clear about what you want to achieve with your social media experience will help you define your success metrics and help prove the value of your strategy. Set aside 10-15 minutes each day to listen. Do this for several weeks before making any final decisions regarding your strategy.

There are different types of listeners and different types of listening. The type of listening you choose will depend on what are your goal and objective is and at what stage you are at or your level of participation within social media.

A passive listener is usually someone who has just begun to dabble in social media and is listening silently while planning and developing a strategy for interaction. Passive Listening is listening without reacting. Passive listeners usually move on to become active ones.

The active listener doesn’t just monitor the discussions around keywords and subject matter that they are listening to, but regularly jumps in and engages in conversation. An active social media listener moves from just a “fly on the wall” to “friend in the room”.  Active listening requires both listening and talking.

Mil­lions of con­ver­sa­tions are hap­pen­ing through the Inter­net. Intelligent listening can provide thought starters for meaningful social media conversations and engagement strategies.

So what should you listen for?

Using some of the simple listening tools mentioned in my previous blog, you will discover:

  • Whether or not people are talking about your chosen topic
  • What people are saying regarding keywords that represent your objective
  • Whether the conversations are primarily of a positive, negative or neutral sentiment
  • Where they are currently online (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc)
  • What are the patterns or trends that are evident
  • Who is your target audience and where to find them
  • Which communities to listen to and get involved in
  • Who are the influencers
  • How are they contributing value
  • How you can feed them fresh content

If you want to truly understand your potential audience, you need to spend time listening to them. Refining your listening approach to get exactly what you want and constantly searching for new keywords and noting keyword trends can help you with content strategies to better reach your target audience.

Listening taps into the underlying mechanisms that draw people to engage in social media. From this intelligent listening you can act on these learnings and develop and execute an engagement strategy.

Remember, the best listeners will end up the smartest!

In my next blog, I will examine some specific listening tactics for LinkedIn.

If you are in the Greater Toronto Area, join us for the ‘Unleashing Linkedin Workshop’ and revolutionize your entire approach to this powerful tool!