If you are in the process of creating a social media strategy or campaign, did you start the process by listening at your audience first? One of the key rules of communication and social media marketing is to listen first.  How do you start your campaign by listening first?

By only setting up keyword alerts and empty social media dashboards is not listening.  Doing a report on all of your social network followers is not listening.  Checking your analytics for an increases in web traffic is also not listening – only hearing.

Find below a couple of steps to help you get started with your social media strategy by listening first.

Listen before you start your social media campaign

Understand: This is the first step in the listening process and it is quite obvious. It basically involves everything regarding your social media plan.  Where is the audience you want to target online?  Are they on Facebook?  Twitter?  LinkedIn?  Other local social networks? Why are they on those networks?  What questions are they asking?  Can you provide them with a solution?

Empathizing: To empathize with a targeted audience is a critical aspect of active listening.  What are their daily routine? If your audience is composed of rugby players, they will probably mostly talk about football.  Don’t sell them an idea of Rugby or Cricket and expect a positive action. Try to write an audience persona regarding the audience you want to target and use this in your campaign to understand them.

Encouragement: Interacting with a targeted audience will help you provide a fuller picture of their needs.  This process can be ongoing and genuine.  Try to make it as easy as possible for those you communicate with.  People want to know that they are dealing with an actual person and not a robot. Ask pointed questions that have a clear goal.  You will find that people will donate their time if they see the purpose behind it all.

Summarizing: You heard your audience, you empathized with them, you’ve asked the necessary questions and encouraged interaction – what next?  Try to get feedback from your audience.  Always be open and transparent.

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