As people have become more vocal about socializing online, businesses have been listening. Social listening. And now not-for-profits are beginning to join them.
This new approach has become a cost-effective way organizations can see what interests their supporters, along with a great way to gain more momentum within their organization. So, what exactly is social listening, and how do I get started?
Listen with your eyes
Social listening is following and/or engaging in online conversations people have over a particular brand or industry. Rather than focus groups, this new method is an easy way to resonate with people on current issues, allowing for opportunities for organizations to tailor their message to the popular trend. This new interaction allows supporters a way to ask questions, make complaints, or add comments to public pages, making things easier for you.
Keywords and mentions on social media are a good way to know your audience, but do not forget free advertising. “Influencers,” people with a large following, can be a tool that you need to provide your message about your organization and/or cause. Established adults tend to already have their causes. You need up-and-coming professionals, people just hitting their stride, and those who will soon have money to donate, along with friends who can donate time and money.
As Millennials begin increasing within the workforce, this new generation should become the key audience within your approach. For example, if you see an animal lover with a plethora of likes and comments, follow them, interact with them, get to know them, and then watch a relationship bud. Is there a person who always tweets about wanting to help the community and the earth, do they have lots of retweets? That is an opportunity waiting for you. Most of the time you can look to your local community for influencers. Could a celebrity help an organization? Of course, but there is no need to stretch for their love.
Open your ears
Your organization has a mission statement. You are trying to build a brand. What keywords would you associate with everything your organization has to offer?
#animals #education #(your cause here)
Keep the list up-to-date as new campaigns and initiatives evolve. This is what you’ll be listening for throughout the internet. Online software such as Google alerts, Moz, HootSuite, and Addictomatic can help you keep tabs on those buzzwords. Every time a supporter, influencer, or a potential supporter uses a word, you can create a call-to-action by e-mail. Do be cognizant of how often you reach out. You don’t want to appear spammy, thus losing support and followers.
You can also post content with viral hashtags. However, do not use what is trending just for the sake of reaching more people. Using the presidential election to publicize your fundraiser is not okay. That is a turn-off to most on social media and will not be of service. If the trending hashtag happens to be relevant, feel free to use. For example, fall is here and pumpkin spice is in control. You could use the hashtags “fall” and “pumpkin” for your pumpkin patch.
Don’t stop listening
Although Napster and MySpace have faded into a distant memory, social media is still running strong, and will continue to do so for years to come. It is time to jump on this trending train full speed ahead. Listen and talk with the world, make use of the free advertising, maintain your supporters, and grow your numbers.
Seek the services of a legal or tax adviser before implementing any ideas contained in this blog.