#TRGrules 1: Listen First, Everything Else Second

We start this ongoing series of #TRGrules with the most important thing you can do in social media: Listen first, everything else second.

(Actual first reason, I get to use this graphic of my dog, Taffy.)

Why is this an important rule? Listening is critical to your social media success story because if you don't know what your audiences - current and future - are talking about how will you know what to talk about on social media?

When you base a social media strategy around talking/broadcasting/not listening, you can look forward to these things happening:

  • If you talk all the time about yourself, you miss out learning about others.
  • If you talk all the time about your business, organization, or nonprofit, you miss out on opportunities.
  • If you talk all the time about what you are offering, you will not grow an audience which will benefit you.

Think about the guy at the party who runs his mouth about everything and everyone the whole night (I look in the mirror at this comment) and think if you really want to be that guy on social media when you see how the audience at the party reacts to him.

So what should you listen for on social media?

  • Listen for conversations you can monitor, join, or add value to through the folks you follow online, hashtags, and Twitter chats.
  • Listen for business opportunities like hirings, requests for proposals, and events you can participate in IRL or online.
  • Follow your local or industry hashtags and social media leaders to listen for community news which may be beneficial to you.
  • When you have done a sufficient amount of listening, then you can talk. Be sure to focus on content and comments which will educate, inform, or entertain (or all three at the same time!) your audience.
  • Finally, always be comfortable with listening more than talking on social media but avoid becoming a lurker. The only way to grow an active, and profitable, audience for your own voice is to use it. After you listen.

Need help? Be sure to check out the ongoing list of #TRGrules here on this site and contact us at The Rocket Group if you ever have any questions or challenges we can help you with!


Gus Wagner

Gus Wagner is the President.Owner of The Rocket Group – an award-winning marketing and communications firm. The Rocket Group has specialized in building effective tools across traditional means and new media for clients in businesses, organizations, and nonprofits since 2001. Gus is also a five-time certified Social Media Strategist, a former Chief of Staff in the Missouri State Senate, a retired national champion amateur hockey coach, and a would like to be a singer/songwriter. His Welsh Corgi, Taffy, lets Gus and his wife, Farrah Fite, live with her in Jefferson City, Missouri.

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