Max, Desiree has also explained how to listen and gather information in her blog post here: http://desireeashton.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/wakeup/
@Max - this is an interesting post on Social Media and Listening: http://www.briansolis.com/2011/09/the-new-listening-movement-hard-of-hearing-or-just-hard/ I get what you say about the Gurus, but I do know a local company whose tagline is something along the lines of - if we're not Tweeting, it's because we're busy working on our cleints' social media. In one way, I think they have a point. While my role is to bring organisation and structure, when my desk /in-box is at its messiest and the post-its are threatening to drown my desk, I'm doing my job well.
Thanks Max. I agree that 'listening' is a very important aspect and I'm always surprised by how many people are quietly sitting back reading posts and updates who don't participate but like to keep up with what is being said. Whether they're tracking their own brand or competitors in their industry its is obviously very useful. I'm afraid I'm not that disciplined. I only listen to people who are really interesting and most of them aren't talking about business!
OMG I am in shock at Edward Cullen being called drippy! Shock horror!! But back to your question. I believe when people ask this it usually translates into "How do I get work from using and participating in Social Media?" and that is a very different question indeed. Let's face it most small business people are not participating because they have no friends. They are using it primarily to "get their name out there" and ultimately to win business. Klout, Peer Index and a few others can help people to look at certain metrics but this is no different to having KPI's in line with a business goal except they need to be the right sort of KPI's (and it needs to be the right goal). They need to be meaningful and relevant. I think the danger with tools such as Klout is that in some cases they can measure the wrong sorts of things if people are not careful. Having lots of followers or following lots of people is very easy with automated tools and is a twitter equivalent of wasting a lot of time putting your ladder up the wrong wall! Having said that there is an argument that says tools such as Klout deliver information that isn't readily available in other places and can be used as a very useful and free tool but it really comes back to what it is that you should be measuring in line with social media marketing plans. What tickles me is when I see people promoting their services as Social Media Expert/Guru/Coach/Digital Mentor/Tormentor/Whatever and their Klout or Peer Index information (not just the scores) gives a completely different picture. Sometimes that they are more of an expert in one particular platform (Twitter or Facebook or Linkedin usually) but have scores and information that do not provide any reassurance at all that they understand "SoMe" as a whole and do not keep up with any emerging stuff or niche areas that are more beneficial or relevant to their clients. One of the most important things to measure in my book is listening and so far I haven't come across a tool that will do that for you :) Great blog post by the way and hope you are well :) Max
Nice post, Ann, and another example of how social media can be used as a 'de-brief' vehicle following an event. I see this a lot with those who work in the e-learning sector, and the research suggests that it is becoming an increasingly integral part of the learning process because of the knowledgeshare and bonding which is facilitated off the back of it...as you term it, the water cooler moment. I found the event hugely informative - not just gaining more first-hand insight into the very real issues that small business face with social media, but also because all of us, even the presenters, acknowledge that we are still learning. Lovely to see you, by the way! At the risk of alienating a swathe of your followers - give me the grit of Burton any day. I can't be bothered with these half-baked pretty boys.
Oh Ann - I don't know what has distressed me more! You calling Rpatz (AKA Edward "yummy bum" Cullen) a "drippy hero" or blogging about, and revealing, a secret I'm trying to keep, well... a secret! Honestly though - what a cracking blog! SoMe has completely changed the way we interact with people - you can leap over months of the odd face-to-face networking encounter with the same person where you get to know each other slowly, to developing fantastic business connections/friendships etc in double quick time. Now that's effective and efficient! And it works both ways - you might meet and then build that friendship through regular tweet chats, or find someone you follow is a great person to know and then actually get to meet them in the flesh. Not at least counting how many people I love tweeting with who I may never meet - but have in many ways enriched my life, made me laugh, giggle, smile, appreciate, learn and sometimes sit back in awe of. Now, I'm sorry that I just can't bring myself to go ga ga for Richard Burton - but you know that would be a bit like fancying my Dad! - however when I looked back at some of his more youthful photos - was he really that different to Robert Pattinson *swoon* :)
I agree with everything here EXCEPT that you think Edward Cullen is drippy. I drool over him but that's another matter entirely :) And I'm pleased that I sparked this for you as it's a belting blog post :) I love social media and it's working for us not just because we understand people, but also because sometimes, we don't understand people and use it to ask questions, learn and find out more about the people in our lives and around us. It's an amazing tool and has to included in the "business toolbox". I'm off to share your blog with people, if I can edit out your slanderous comments about the hunk that is aka Edward Cullen from Twilight :)