Shut Up and Listen to the Internet
Marketing and communications are about dialogue. Dialogue is a multi-sided conversation. And when you’re not talking, you must listen (not just wait for the next chance to talk).
Organizations needs to learn how to listen, especially in this socially-networked world made smaller by the web. Inspired by Beth’s post on listening, I figured I’d share some of the ways I listen on the web.
Search and Google Alerts
Go to Google and search for all kinds of stuff related to your brand. Learn how to use some advanced search techniques to get better results. Then, set up Google Alerts so you get notified when new conversations pop up.
- Google search tips
- Google search operators
- Google Alerts
- Google blog search
- Sample news search for “camp fire usa”
People often forget that what they’re saying is public. On Twitter, many people dump their off-the-cuff thoughts with little regard to the exposure. With the relatively new search feature, Twitter becomes an even more public place. See what people are really thinking and saying.
Facebook and MySpace Groups
Beth Kanter linked to this recently. It’s a really neat way of measuring your brand against various social media sites. It’s less about listening and more about scoring yourself for exposure. But it might lead to finding your brand in places that you didn’t know about.
If you want honest feedback, make it super easy for people to give it to you. Don’t make anyone jump through hoops or dig through tons of pages to find your contact info.
The signal to noise ratio of comments on websites depends a lot on the website. It’s well worth looking for websites that have quality comments to see what people are saying. It’s worth responding, but be very careful not to join into an argument. Don’t get defensive and remember that this is a public, permanent record. People will read what you say, even years later.
Be an active part of the conversation. On your own website, allow comments. Read and respond to them. Go out to other blogs and leave insightful, valuable comments. You’ll build brand, gain exposure, and develop new relationships.
So while you’re at it, why don’t you leave a comment here?