6 steps toward mastering the art of social listening

Paypal’s social media strategist shares key techniques for optimizing your presence on online networks.

Anyone with even a passing interest in using social media for business has heard all the clichés about how you have to listen before you jump in and respond.

But what is listening, exactly? To whom should you listen? And how do you separate the idle chatter from the stuff that’s really important?

Sudha Jamthe, social media strategist for PayPal, answered some of those questions for an audience at a Ragan Communications conference at Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, Calif. You have to know to whom you’re talking, why you’re listening and how to measure it, she says.

Here are some key ways she said communicators can do that:

1. Get a return on your investment. “It should tangibly reduce your call volume,” Jamthe said. That’s because people on social media sites aren’t interested in talking about brands themselves. They want to know about products—details about how they work, and why theirs don’t. It’s up to you to be able to speak knowledgably about product features, she said.

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