Listen Before You Leap

Social media experts agree. Before your company takes the plunge, lots of listening is in order. There are plenty of benefits to that, the obvious one being that you do not prematurely say or do anything that will come back to haunt you. Listening gives you a feel for the tone of the conversation, who the players are, what is being said, how much and how often and the general rules of the road. Once you have decided to test the waters and have built the beginnings of a social media plan, listening is the acknowledged first step.

The second key component to getting started is measuring what you are hearing. Whether it is key words on Twitter or “likes” on Facebook, having some measurement of the above is necessary to have a coherent response strategy. Social, Sysomos and Radian6 are among the tools mentioned by J.D. Lasica and Kim Bale in their social article Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business.

Now that you have monitored social media traffic and measured some of the key trends and subjects as well as who are the active players, it is time to look back at your initial outline of a social media plan and fine tune it with an eye towards a response strategy. Then the issues become, do you encourage all your employees to tweet, should the CEO tweet and how do you reassure the legal team that the risks are manageable…especially in a heavily regulated environment such as health care (FDA) or financial services (SEC). A Special Report in the April 25th Wall Street Journal discusses some of those very issues in the article Are You Talking To Me? By Geoffrey Fowler.

Social media is daunting for many. It does not have to be. Common sense, good judgment and a carefully articulated company social media policy will go a long way.

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