The Fundamentals of Social Listening and Storytelling

by Eric Melin on October 24, 2012

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This morning I presented an updated version of the the listening and storytelling presentation that I’ve done for a number of Social:IRL conferences.  It focuses on starting with a goal-oriented foundation for your social media strategy, covers tips for online listening, and goes into the steps for telling effective stories that will connect people with your mission.

The presentation includes some data we collected for a nonprofit that helped them realize some great online opportunities. It also includes some insight I learned from working with Engineers Without Borders – Sunflower State Professionals, and lastly a fun and exciting real-world case study that follows the storytelling fundamentals laid out in the presentation.

  1. The first step towards any social strategy — whatever your objective is — is listening. Find out what people are saying about your nonprofit. What does you digital footprint look like? This is simple brand monitoring to discover insight that will be infinitely useful as you put your campaign or program together. You can even go one step further and identify where the community around your issue resides and what language they are using. See how the nonprofit looks in relation to the issue. What does the sentiment look like? What stories are resonating with your target audience? Never go in blind. Always do your homework. Data will drive your strategy.
  2. Set some goals; specific ones. What exactly are you trying to achieve? Make sure the metrics support your objectives. As your mission/campaign continues, how can you tweak it to be more effective? Learn from the data.
  3. Nonprofits are in a unique situation because the reason that people get involved with a cause is because they have a story that inspires people. There’s a heartfelt personal victory of my own that involves social media and storytelling (and KISS) that I cover, plus a great example of a company relating their offering to a basic human truth.

I know you are curious how a bunch of 6 and 7-year olds dressing up as KISS factors into all this, so I’ll just leave the mystery on the table and let you explore the presentation itself:

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