Last week I wrote that for a company to successfully integrate social media with their  PR activities they have to listen, learn and respond.  @HughesPR asked if it is that simple

Listening is not hard these days.  There are now over 200 tools that can help you gather the conversations.

The next step is not so simple.  Finding the right content and figuring out exactly what the people talking about you need and want is critical to PR success today. Content analysis is a traditional PR skill, but data mining is not.  Building social graphs has not been part of our PR practice.

I don’t know about you, but I have not studied math since high school. Most PR people I know are much more right brain than left brain oriented. It’s the nature of our work.

But as ReadWriteWeb (RWW) said

“People need to develop habits of thinking about this stuff. They need someone to explain it to them. They need to develop an easy-to-use vocabulary set for understanding data mining and social graphs and communicating about it. Right now ‘social network analysis’ just doesn’t trip off the average person’s tongue.”

The online conversations are a constant stream of content – a fire hose of data. What you need are the actionable insights.

  • Who talks about you?
  • Who talks about your competitors?
  • What do they say?
  • Is it positive or negative?
  • Who are they connected to?
  • what communities do they belong to?
  • What does their social graph look like?
  • What kind of content do they share, and with whom?

95% of new media (social media Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) users expect companies or brands to have a presence on those sites. 89% expect those companies to interact with them in those social spaces. (Cone REsearch)

Less than 30% are doing so. (SNCR, UMass 2010 Adoption Surveys)

Engaging with people online requires that you know who they are, where they gather, who they talk to. how they feel about you and your products, and what kind of information or content they’re looking for and might be motivated to share with others in their social sphere.

And once you know that you can respond appropriately.

It might not be simple, but I agree with RWW – this is something we need to think about, talk about and start to include in our PR strategy.

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