LEARN: A Simple Social Media Strategy

Posted by Katie Del Angel on Wed, Sep 30, 2009

Today, I'm pleased to welcome DJ Waldow, Director of Community, at Blue Sky Factory — as our newest guest blogger, a new initiative we're starting this month. I hope you'll enjoy this and future posts from DJ, and if you'd like to join our guest blogger series, just drop me a note. Happy reading!

LEARN: A Simple Social Media Strategy
by DJ Waldow

August 21, 2007 by Mark Brannan

I love acronyms. They are fun to come up with and make remembering concepts that much easier. My latest attempt as it relates to social media is the acronym LEARN, which stands for Listen, Engage, Act, Respond, Network. Breaking it down...

Listen: This is one of the fundamental keys to social media, and just about every aspect of life. Before you do anything else, listen. What are your competitors, prospects, clients, partners, fans and internal employees saying about you or for that matter -- each other? You may be surprised as to what you'll learn. Are people singing your praises or are they criticizing your product/support team? Are they even talking at all?

Tips and Tools to Listen:

  1. Google: Alerts - Search your company name and brand(s) at a minimum. Add your competitors, prospects, fans, key employees, etc.
  2. Twitter: TweetBeep.com - Same concept as Google Alerts, just for Twitter. You could also do a "real-time" Twitter search or Twitter tools
    like TweetDeck or HootSuite
  3. Radian6 and similar paid tools are great as you scale up.


Engage: Now that you’ve got your ears open, the next step is to reply. Engaging is all about being a part of the conversation. This could come in the form of a phone call, a reply to a blog post, an email, a tweet, or even a face-to-face meeting. If you are just listening, you become a lifelong lurker. Not necessarily a flattering title to boast. So, listen — and then dive into the discussion. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the dialogue.

Examples of Companies and Individuals Who Engage:

  1. Comcast: Just view the Twitter stream of @comcastcares to see how Frank engages. Also check out these 2 tweets to get an idea of the who, where, and how often: http://twitter.com/comcastcares/status/3737831548 and http://twitter.com/comcastcares/status/3737845169. Comcast also engages on their blog and various other media outlets.
  2. Scott Monty of Ford: Scott is head of social media at Ford. He is extremely active in a host of different channels including Twitter as @scottmonty, his personal blog, and responding to blog posts (search "Scott Monty")


Act/Respond: You’re in the conversation, now it’s time to put the insights you’ve gained to work for you. Maybe you learned that your clients are interested in a new feature (Act/Respond: Evaluate if it makes sense to add to the product roadmap). Maybe they are sharing how much they love you (Act/Respond: Showcase their enthusiasm). Maybe they don't even know who you are (Act/Respond: Figure out how to make yourself known). Engaging is important, but actually doing something helps to create positive change and growth.

Network: A huge part of any social media effort is connecting with people. This networking can come in many forms (see engagement section above). However, also as mentioned above, nothing beats face to face. Meeting individuals in person helps to solidify online relationships. As you are building out your social media strategy, be sure that you make room for conferences, meetups (tweetups?), and other social events. Sometimes coffee, food and/or beer works too.

Are you practicing "LEARN" as part of your social media efforts? Which of the 5 aspects are you strong in? Which can you improve in? Start today.

DJ Waldow
Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory