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Listen, Speak, and Connect

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Social media strategy isn’t the goal; it’s the path you plan to take to get there; and should always precede activity.

So what are your goals: to increase your customer base; to generate leads; to drive sales; to build awareness; to establish thought leadership; to educate customers; to reach new channels of customers?

At the end of the day, social media is really a very simple concept; it’s about people connecting with one another; sharing ideas with one another; collaborating with one another; and becoming friends with one another; all ONLINE.

Social media is all about adding value to the community. It’s about giving back, collaborating and contributing.

In social media, LISTENING is twice as important as speaking. Listening gives you metrics, gives you topic material for content, and gives you a sense of where your crowd is. Online, the tool for listening is a news reader.

What should you listen to?

Build an ego search – use tools like Technorati and Google Blogsearch to build a search on your company’s name, your products’ names, employee’s names, etc. Then build the same for your competitors. Find blogs about your specific industry and subscribe to a handful of them; then find blogs on other topics of interest to you and subscribe to a few of them.

Blogs, podcasts, video blogs, Twitter, Facebook and dozens of other tools exist for SPEAKING.

Use Facebook and MySpace and other social networks to point people towards your primary media. Use these services to tap into audiences that might not find your work otherwise. Seek out like-minded people who are making similar media excursions and share attention with them (meaning, give them attention, and offer your media as something they might like as well).

Make sure your site and all your media points back to you, so people know who you are, where you are, how to reach you, and what you are all about.

CONNECT, build community. Social networks abound; comment and share.

You need to understand that the primary purpose of social media is to build relationships. Social media is an ideal place for getting to know your target market in a professional but conversational way; sharing information, getting feedback and becoming the person businesses think of when they think of your products or services.

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5 Comments

  1. Daniela Chase ~ AssetVirtual on March 17, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Well captured, Crystal. It’s so important that business owners and key decision makers understand that social engagement is a vehicle that propels you toward business goals. Utilizing key listening tools is critical to implementing and executing an effective strategy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Crystal Burkholder on March 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for Listening, and Connecting Daniela.I agree that utilizing key listening tools is critical. What tools do you use?

  3. Janet Barclay on March 18, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for writing this, Crystal! Too many people are only using social media to broadcast their own self-promotions, and not taking the time to listen to others and connect with them. I ask people, would you watch a TV station that showed all commercials, all the time?

  4. Daniela Chase ~ AssetVirtual on March 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I utilize keyword research and custom-built dashboards to monitor online conversations and determine the best channels for online engagement.

    Crystal? Janet? Anyone else? What tools are among your favourites?

    Also, I’m interested in thoughts regarding dashboards like HootSuite, TweetDeck and Seesmic. Do you have a clear preference? And, if so, why?

  5. Janet Barclay on March 18, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I like both TweetDeck and HootSuite.

    For my own use, I like TweetDeck, because I can keep it open throughout the day and check it periodically without having to open my browser and log in.

    For managing a client’s accounts, I prefer HootSuite, because I only want to see it when I’m working for that particular client. In addition, HootSuite won’t allow you to send a tweet without specifying which account it should come from, whereas TweetDeck defaults to your own account.

    On my iPhone, I prefer the HootSuite app.

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