Your mom was right. To be respected and liked, you have to do more listening than talking.
The same is true on social platforms. Listening to the conversations being had about you and with your supporters online should be one of the driving forces behind what content or information you share and how you approach your social communications.
As Media Cause explains in their Twitter for Nonprofits whitepaper, you should strive to follow the 60-30-10 rule, “[share] 60% retweets and pointers to promote items from other users or sites, 30% conversation and responses, and 10% announcements and events. If all you ever talk about is you, no one is going to pay attention after a while.”
That means almost 90% of your social media time should be focused on listening, or on taking action that is directly related to the listening you are doing.
Here are a few best practices for social listening to get you started:
Listen in the Right Places.
Do some research to figure out where people are talking about your organization. Is it on Facebook or Twitter or through a lesser-known social media site? Are they talking about your handle directly or through keywords or phrases that are affiliated with your organization?
Listen to the Right People.
Depending on the size of your organization’s following, and the number of people talking about you, you may be overwhelmed trying to listen to everyone. Instead, work to identify your key influencers (positive or negative) and listen to them. Figure out what topics they talk about most so you can join the conversation already in progress. Even better, work to develop a relationship with them.
Listen with Tracking and Reporting in Mind.
It’s great to listen, but if you’re not tracking it and not reporting it back to your organization as a whole, it might not do you a whole lot of good. Before you get too far down the road, think about how you’ll organize the content you are monitoring, perhaps setting up categories to help you report and understand the trends that you're seeing.
Listen with Help.
Before you spend hours and hours tracking your social media presence, do some digging into tools that can help you automate the process. Salsa has partnered with Attentive.ly to help you learn a lot about your supporters in the social media space and actually track that data back to your Salsa platform. Don’t take the human element out completely, though. You’ll still want to do some monitoring yourself.
Listen and Respond.
One of the key elements of listening is to take what you learn from your community and actually respond to it. If your supporters are talking about one issue in particular, don’t be afraid to comment on it if you have something valuable to add. Provide your followers with content that meets their interests, not just content that promotes your agenda.