Listen Up! (If You Want to Succeed in Social Media)


 By Dennis Fischman

The secret to social media success isn’t in talking – it’s in listening.

That’s what Dave Kerpen, the author of Likeable Social Media, wants us to know.  Dave tells the story of the time he arrived in Las Vegas after a six-hour flight only to wait another hour at his hotel, just to check in.

“Frustrated, I did what any social media nerd would do – I pulled out my phone, and tweeted the following: ‘No Vegas hotel could be worth this long wait. Over an hour to check in at the Aria #fail'”

He goes on to  say, “The Rio Las Vegas tweeted the following to me: ‘Sorry about your bad experience, Dave. Hope the rest of your stay in Vegas goes well.’ Guess where I ended up staying the next time I went to Las Vegas?”

Listening for Not for Profits

Now, if you work at a not for profit organisation, you might be thinking: “How does this apply to me?  I don’t run a hotel.  I don’t even have customers. Why should I spend time listening on social media?”

  • You may not have customers, but do you have donors?  Listen to social media to find out what interests them and what bothers them.  Then, when you’re thinking what to say in your newsletter and your funding appeals–and yes, your social media–you’ll have a much better idea what donors will read.
  • Do you have clients?  Suppose you’re an organisation provides employment services to young people with a disability. On Facebook, a parent agonizes because their daughter with special needs is about to leave school. You give her a list of providers who can arrange work experience options. Will the word get around that your organisation is a great place to go?  What do you think?
  • Do you have programs?  Maybe you’re an art museum (like the Portland Museum of Art) that offers teachers the chance to bring art into the classroom–and students to exhibit their own art at the museum. Wouldn’t it be great to know what the teachers are posting about you on Facebook or Twitter, and see the pictures the students are putting up on Instagram?  If you thank them online, you will be like the Rio Las Vegas in Dave’s story.  You won’t be doing outreach to get people into your programs: they’ll be reaching out to you.

Don’t just post, tweet, blog, email, snap photos, or distribute videos.  Make sure someone at your organisation is on social media listening.  Then, listen to what they find out.

Dennis is a Cause & Effective Associate. Is your not for profit or small business looking for better ways to communicate?  Dennis can show you how and, in the process, help your organisation win friends and get the support it needs.


About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

2 Responses

  1. Such a good point! People normally think it is about generating content. But, replying to negative comments is so important for companies. Social media has completely changed the world of customer service.

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