Social Media Strategy: Listening

Photo credit: Melvin Gaal ( / Foter / CC BY-NC

Social Media Channels Have One Clear Call-to-Action: Post!

When we sign into an account — on a  social media platform or a social media posting tool– there is always the one highlighted window, clear as day, that we are to post and publish, post and send, post and feel good. Many of us have content calendars (editorial strategies) tacked up on the wall where teams of people congregate and participate to ensure that we are delivering effective content at the right time and hopefully, responding and engaging on each platform, but we often overlook what effective content means in light of one’s communication strategies, goals, and priorities.

One Half of the Strategy

Effective content is content that is dynamic, interesting, relevant, timely, engaging, and accurate, AND strategically delivered as a tactic to reach a specific goal. It’s easy to say that news about one’s brand meets those criteria, and that criteria in fact ensures we are meeting our goal: to create awareness about our brand’s news about our company’s growth (for example).  And yes, we may track the number of clicks our posts are receiving; we may track the increase in our followers that indicate yes! our content is working; it’s effective. We are spreading the word, creating awareness, etc. And then we continue those efforts and apply them to a new campaign, idea, or goal. While this is productive and often quite useful, it’s only half of what I consider to be a strong strategy.


It’s old news that social media is a tool for communicating– the old comparison of the phone or even the email, yadda yadda. And this is valid. We also need to keep in mind that marketing itself has changed over the past decade. It’s inbound. Bringing people to the website, to the product, to the conversation. Again: we know this. However, in order to successfully listen to the concepts of inbound marketing or even that of a phone conversation, we must not forget the other half of our strategy: listening to the other person on the other end of the conversation AND making sure you’re talking to the right person. This means setting up a listening strategy.

Knowing what is important to your customers, clients, and community can help you revise that effective content strategy (and sometimes, even rethink it).

How to Listen

  • Google Alerts: set up alerts on Google for keywords (including your brand name/company name). You can receive emails daily or in real time to see where you are popping up on the internet and in what context.
  • Twitter search: use that search bar!
  • Facebook search: use that search bar!
  • YouTube search: again, search bar!

Keep in mind, these are starter searches. There are many more robust enterprise listening programs. These larger systems allow you to listen to a larger audience and volume of conversations happening on a global scale and yes, can cost a pretty penny (like Radian6).

Key Take-Aways

  • Find out what your keywords are. Look at your website (if it’s up to par). Identify your communication goals. These should GIVE you your keywords.
  • Conduct searches
  • Record your searches and findings
  • Develop a comprehensive plan and strategy to listen on a regular basis
  • Perform reports based on this listening.

One thought on “Social Media Strategy: Listening

  1. Pingback: How to Use Twitter Lists Effectively | Click n' Jive

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