Listening Tools Session Notes

People want to be better listeners.  Or at least they want to figure out what the right tools are. Beth Kanter’s final session of the day “Listening Tools” drew a large crowd of curious attendees at the Nonprofit 2.0 Unconference on Friday, June 25th.

Wendy Harman, Social Media Manager at Red Cross, was the first to discuss the listening tools she uses (namely Radian6) — and process she follows (more on that in a moment) to keep a beat on what people are saying about Red Cross across social networks and the blogosphere.

From Wendy’s explanation, Beth distilled four key points:

  1. Keywords are king (Google alerts only be effective if the correct keywords have been set up)
  2. See the forest not the trees (skim, spend time reading through only the meatiest comments)
  3. Find a workflow that will lend itself to both internal and external engagement (listening can essentially serve the same function as assembling a focus group – share the important information that you learn about your brand’s perception with your colleagues. Respond to the happy, frustrated or misinformed people whom you’ve found online to address their concerns or successes.)
  4. Make sure to circulate the information learned (Basically, this final point just reinforces the importance of using the information that you’ve found through listening to inform organizational decisions.)

Through listening to others’ descriptions of how they listen to what’s being said about their organizations online, Beth determined that there are three different methods of listening:

  1. Listening in real time (or in Beth’s words, changing a flat tire on a moving car.  This method provides an advantage from an engagement perspective.)
  2. Reflexive listening over time (This method is especially good for informing a longer term strategy.)
  3. ROI (Evaluating the frequency of positive and negative comments will enable you to make a list summarizing research.)

So, what is everyone using to listen anyway?  Here are the tools mentioned during the session:

  1. Technorati
  2. Google Alerts
  3. SM2
  4. Radian6 (paid)
  5. Twitter Search
  6. Social Mention
  7. Addictomatic
  8. How Sociable
  9. Ice Rocket
  10. Backtype
  11. Twitolyzer
  12. Klout
  13. Twitter Counter
  14. What the Hashtag
  15. Facebook search
  16. Social Ping
  17. Scout Lab (paid tool)
  18. Backtype
  19. Thrive
  20. Flickr
  21. YouTube

A few other resources to check out if you’re interested in improving your listening practice are:

  1. KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog
  2. Beth’s Blog
  3. Social Media Flow Chart
  4. Red Cross Social Media guide 

Notes by Larissa Lawrence of *Originally posted on Care2′s Frogloop blog