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July 30, 2012
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Shhh! Now Listen Here!

What makes a good conversationalist? I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with how well a person can deliver a punch line or how well read they are.

A good listener makes the best conversationalist. That’s right, more important than witty banter or animated storytelling is the art of listening. Think about the last truly good conversation you had. There was an open exchange of dialogue, your points or arguments were thoroughly considered before you received a response, it felt like you were really being heard and that what you had to say mattered and it left you eager to speak with that person again.

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The same key points regarding listening are at play in social media. It’s not enough to simply share information; however fascinating or entertaining you may be (or think yourself to be), it’s important to make sure the content you share addresses your audience’s needs.

Unlike in a real conversation, it can be difficult to “hear” what your social media audience is saying, but there are some key ways to tell if they feel like they’re a real part of your conversation.

1. Are they commenting?

Pay attention to the types of posts that your audience comments on. If they respond well to pictures, post more images. Or if trivia questions seem to be what gets them going, follow suit and keep the trivia posts coming. Similarly, if you regularly post news items that do not receive a response, you’ll need to change the type of content that you’re posting.

2. Do they “like” or “Retweet” your posts?

Commenting shows active engagement, but liking and Retweeting is a bit more passive and does not require much effort from your audience. If they don’t care about what you’re saying enough to extend a mere like or Retweet, you need to reevaluate what you’re posting. Find a pattern in the content that generates the most likes and Retweets and continue to post more of the same. Your content should be dictated by what your audience wants to see, not by what you want to see.

3. Are they telling their friends about you?

Providing content that inspires your audience to share it with their friends is a key indicator that you’re doing something very right in the social media world. Whether it’s a contest, a deal or coupon or an interesting article, “shares” are excellent indicators that your audience is paying attention and finds your content worthy of spreading to their own connections. Content that is shared is generally amusing and entertaining in some way or provides value in the form of a discount or coupon. If your posts are not generating shares, reevaluate them to see if you can incorporate something more “share-worthy.”

Above all, listen and evaluate the chatter of your audience before developing your social media posts. When you find posts that work, stick with them, but,more importantly, never stop listening. You don’t want your audience to get bored; if engagement drops off, take a look and determine if you need to freshen things up again. Domus uses Google analytics and other measurement tools to expertly determine what an audience wants to hear and, based on those findings, we provide original content for our clients’ social media posts. Once you find what makes your audience happy, you can develop it into a steady stream of similar but ever-evolving content.

To keep your audience listening, it’s important to remember that the information you’re providing is about your audience’s needs – not yours.

Kate Toy is a Senior Account Manager at Domus Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com/. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at betty.tuppeny@domusinc.com or 215-772-2805.

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