Real World Social Media Workflow — How Much Time Do I Spend Listening?

Social media maven Beth Kanter has been attending a conference on nonprofit use of technology. One of the speakers was Wendy Harman, who runs social media for the Red Cross.

Beth has a great recap of that session here, with these key takeaways:

  • First thing every morning, [Wendy] spends a couple of hours listening – reviewing hundreds of mentions that have been captured in their monitoring radar using a variety of free and professional tools, including Radian 6.   Wendy estimates it’s about 1/4 of her time presently.   I suspect it took more of time in the beginning as she developed her work flow and got over the learning curve – and of course was able to upgrade her tool set.
  • Senior management is not turned off by the term listening.  She often writes social media manifestos, filled with examples, pros/cons, and shows tangible, measurable results from their social media strategy.
  • She has a social media elevator pitch in case she encounters one of the senior people at the organization in the elevator: “I’m the social media lady who builds relationships with our community online.”   Perhaps she extends that to include “that results in increased goodwill, improves our reputation, and donations.”
  • She and the others on staff are no longer afraid of negative comments or posts.  “The opposite of hate is indifference, if someone bothers to post a negative comment it means they care.”  She was also pleasantly surprised about how much was positive.  Negative comments are an opportunity to educate and improve what they are doing.  “It is about being polite and honest.”
  • Wendy balances her personal/organizational social media profiles.  When she uses her personal social networking or twitter account, her rule is not to say anything that would embarrass her mother.
  • Challenges include dealing with the tidal wave of information that they have to analyze and manage. One of the values of a professional tool is that it saves a lot of time in the work flow.  Focusing on the how to represent learning in a visual way.  Laura Lee Dooley shared this example (bookmarked posts of people talking about her organization fed into Wordle)
  • Their community now knows that they are listening and the conversation has changed from talking to how we help you.
  • They have an extensive social media participation policy that has helped spur adoption internally.

Looking at my own workflow, I realize that my mornings are often spent “listening” — yet I don’t call it that. I have seen it as time I am wasting and that I ought to minimize. Now I see I ought to perhaps consider boosting it a bit.

Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

3 thoughts on “Real World Social Media Workflow — How Much Time Do I Spend Listening?”

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