People are talking about you in social media whether or not you’re listening. Your presence is not a requirement. But do you know what they’re saying? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
The first step in crisis communications planning is learning to listen to those conversations now—before a crisis strikes. An effective listening strategy has several benefits:
• Discover early warning signs of negative or false information that can trigger a crisis, if left unattended.
• Identify your key critics and watchdogs, key influencers and advocates.
• Identify which social media channels best suit your organizational culture, and which ones your stakeholders frequent.
• Follow your competitors and discover what is engaging and trending in your sector.
• Uncover ethical blind spots your organization may have.
There are six key conversations you should monitor in your listening strategy:
1. Brand (in new media):
Listen to what is being said in the digital space about your brand. It’s important to track sentiment (do people speak positively or negatively about you?) as well as key messages.
2. Brand (in tradition media):
Listen to what is being said in print, radio, TV, and other traditional channels about your brand? Again, tracking sentiment is important.
3. Core influencers:
Listen to identify people who sing your praises, come to your defense, or simply recommend you to others. This is your influence graph. Know your enemies as well. They are the dark side of your core influencers.
Listen to what your employees think about your organization. Do they have the freedom to speak on your behalf? Identify internal constituents that can become ambassadors.
Listen to what your competition is up to. Who is recommending them or criticizing them? How are they handling that? Are they talking about you?
Listen to the leaders in your sector. Are they saying anything or recommending resources that can help you? Do you follow your sector’s news and influencers?
An excerpt from the coming e-book—Listen, Engage, Respond. Coming soon on Amazon.com.