(this post originally appeared on: http://www.radian6.com/blog/2012/11/5-tips-to-take-to-your-social-media-listening-and-engagement-to-the-next-level/)
Let’s say you’ve taken the plunge into the social media listening and engagement pool, but now what? You really want to leverage your listening and engagement tools to have maximum impact and ensure that you meet your corporate objectives. Here are 5 quick tips to help you do this:
1. Focus on your Key Performance Objectives (KPIs)
The most important point to remember is that your social activities, including your listening and engagement, should be tied directly to your business goals. A good way to stay on track is to stay aligned with your KPIs. Staying focused will ensure that you and your organization benefit the most from social initiatives.
2. Focus on Lead Measures Versus Lag Measures
Also referred to as “business drivers,” leading indicators measure the actions that your Engagement Team, aka your Community Team, does for the company’s medium to long-term success. They show what is currently happening and serve as an early warning sign that change may be needed in a particular area. As a result, your Engagement Team will play a key role in recognizing and escalating trends or issues before they become significant.
3. Commit to Having the Right People
Listening and engaging is not for the faint at heart. It takes people who are passionate about people, and passionate about being social. Make the commitment up front to have individuals who love people, and working with people and who have an eye for the big picture. Equally important is having people who not only know how to interpret KPIs, but understand the importance of timely, relevant reporting. Finally, your team should know the right balance between when to be serious and when to be light-hearted. After all, we all need to have fun while we work.
4. Understand the Importance of Reporting
Regardless of which tool you are using, if you can’t generate useful reports for your management team, you are in trouble. Members of your Engagement Team are excellent resources to generate such reports. They are intimately familiar with the various conversations taking place. Make sure that they know and regularly prepare brand, competitive and research reports. More importantly, ensure that your management team is getting the reporting that they need.
5. Recognize the Power of Community and Influencers
Building a loyal following of customers, prospects, and influencers is more important than many realize. While building relationships takes time, when done properly an organization will not only learn about preferences, ideas or needs of its communities, but the community itself can become your greatest advocate. Advocates and influencers are particularly powerful when they share your information, value proposition, and message on your behalf.
Focus on your community and you will realize quite quickly you come full circle and be back at focusing on your KPIs.