Activist Essentials, photo by Vadim Sherbakov.
Listening is honestly going to be not only the most important part of any successful campaign for social change that uses online digital tools, but also the biggest timesuck.
No lie, it’s like 80% of the gig. And if you’re anything like me, bighearted, fiery and passionate, the problems you’ll be spending 80% of your time reading about will probably really impact upon how you feel about the world. These last couple weeks reading about Black Lives Matter, equality, people suffering from debilitating diseases… Safe to say it’s been hard at times. And it’s really hard for me to believe that these things haven’t changed the more time we spend listening, so just be prepared for all of the feels.
What makes listening easier though? Emotionally, not much is there to support you except having really good conversations with people talking about the same issues… But in terms of social media tools, this is the cool part, there are HEAPS of sites, people, tools already created to help you get the most out of these platforms.
The internet really is pretty phenomenal, and with a campaign for social change it is one of your best friends.
If you’re using Twitter, I can’t recommend HootSuite, My Top Tweet, and Sprout Social enough. HootSuite is a dashboard for you to essentially see every page of Twitter you want to monitor all at once. You can dedicate a section to whatever #hashtag you’d like to watch play out, and this is honestly a great way to get in touch with people who care about your topic.
My Top Tweet allows you to see the most liked, retweeted tweets from people’s handles, and is therefore great at allowing you to see what hashtag networks from your identified hubs get seen by loads of people.
Sprout Social is a tool that helps you measure your Twitter engagement. I won’t go into them all in depth but logging on is enough to give you reason to stay.
Handy thing about Facebook pages is that they’ve built most if not all the analytics you could want right into their Insights page. It gives you reach, engagement, page visits, likes, and the list goes on. One thing I’ve noticed about listening on Facebook though is that searching for hashtags and people don’t necessarily give you the goods when it comes to how they preferentially deliver search results to you. So for this one, make sure you already know your hubs and you spend significant time on their pages to read comments and share their info.
Once you’ve listened to what the rest of the internet has to say, deeply consider what the internet around you says with regards to your content. The things that have the most views and engagement, the posts that have generated the engagement you’re looking for, the times of day people spend looking at your data, etc. and then adjust your strategy accordingly. If you believe it to be content-based engagement, keep pumping that kind of content out! It’s not difficult, but it does require a lot of focus, energy and time.
Happy listening all!