5 Tips and Tools that Allow You to ‘Shut Up and Listen’
Just before embarking on my new journey as a Social Media Marketing Associate at Conduit, my father, a man of few words, felt it necessary to impart some paternal wisdom. “James…sometimes you’ve got to just shut up and listen!” So far, it has proved to be excellent advice. Coming from a market research agency, I was taught to value the art of paying attention to your audience, as this is key to understanding their motivations, attitudes, and behaviors. I believe that these values also hold true to social media. But with the social world tweeting, blogging, pinning, and posting with ever-increasing ferocity, have we forgotten how to listen?
So having put project ‘Shut Up and Listen’ into practice, I would like to share with you five pieces of advice that helped me successfully navigate my first week at Conduit, and ones that’ll hopefully enhance your ability to listen and effectively engage with your audience.
1) Keep your finger on the pulse.
First things first, you’re only as good as the information you have in front of you. With social media news changing faster than the speed of light, it’s essential to keep up to date. Google Reader operates as a database for a variety of news feeds. So instead of checking 10 websites individually, you can just log in to Google Reader, which displays a list of your favorite websites, and informs you whenever they’ve been updated with new content. Google Reader is an “oldie but goody” – reliable, easy to navigate, and time efficient. I wouldn’t start my workday any other way.
2) ‘‘Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.’’
When it comes down to wisdom, you may be on your own – but at least a strong analytics tool will provide you with an effective statistical breakdown and the knowledge base to ensure you fully understand your audience. There are hundreds of Twitter tools that claim to give the most comprehensive analytics feedback, but in terms of individual style, Commun.it is up there with the best. Commun.it prides itself on gathering insights about who’s talking about you on Twitter through metrics, measurement, sentiment, and analytics reporting.
3) ‘‘It's not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people.’’ – Steve Jobs.
A potential side effect of the day-to-day job in the world of social media is relying too heavily on the virtual world. Call me old-fashioned, but social media tools, sites, and apps shouldn’t take the place of face-to-face meetings with key opinion leaders in the industry. This is where Meetup truly shines. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group based on common interests or goals, or join one of the thousands already meeting up face to face.
4) ‘‘I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.’’
I think every single person is in a constant battle against the clock to try and conquer an ever-increasing workload. When did 10 hours a day become insufficient? With social media spanning across countries, continents, and time zones, it’s important to engage your audience around the clock. Buffer automatically shares posts for you throughout the day….and night! So when I’m all tucked in bed, I can sleep well knowing my audiences in the U.S. are receiving their lunchtime updates. Not exactly time traveling, but pretty close nonetheless!
5) Look past the nametag.
Just like in the school playground, social media revolves around the individuals who stand out and the groups everyone wants to befriend – not to mention the tech celebrities and new-age media fanatics, brands, companies, and logos. But look past that and you will find some incredibly-talented individuals who, if you’re lucky, might just teach you a thing or two. Twtrland helps you target the people most aligned with your interests and goals by using analytics data to create a profile of a particular tweeter that goes far beyond what Twitter provides.
With apps, tools, and experts all intent on adding value to your social media content, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. I hope these tips have provided you with the tools to do just that.
Have any other advice? Share your comments below!