Eric Johnson posted this interesting case study“Where are my people?” on the Case Foundation’s blog. I do my own listening, of course, so I spotted this in my normal monitoring because he picked up on a Twitter conversation Lindy and I had at the nonprofit technology conference (which we mentioned here as number 3 of our top 12 WTF moments).
So of course my first thought was, sweet, what a great reference, that’s so cool. But as I read his whole post much more carefully, I realized that Eric gives us a great, concrete example of how an organization might start doing some listening on the social web, using some search tools. He takes us through an actual search for a specific example organization, and shows us what we would get in different search tools and then what we might do with that information. Check it out, it’s pretty awesome.
Bottom line is, if you haven’t started listening yet, you should. Start now, even if you have no specific plans for thinking about social media strategy yet. You can spend a fair amount of time (as long as you want) listening and getting the lie of the social media land before you decide whether you need to start actively participating. Many organizations wonder where they should start – but the listening part will tell you that. The listening part will tell you where your people are. It will tell you what they are talking about. It will tell you when it might be wise to jump in.
Just start by listening.