Case study in social listening: When fans say you’re wrong

Case study on social media listening By Paula Wethington @WethingtonPaula

If you’re wrong about something, or your fans think you’re wrong, that audience can be quick to tell you on social media.

In a worst case scenario, this can become a public relations nightmare.

But in other cases, a quick answer with a sense of humor will smooth things over.

Apply the concept called “social listening” to your routine, through which you watch what your community says, and you’ll soon realize when and how to step in.

A quick case study: I run the twitter account for The Monroe News, a daily newspaper in southeast Michigan.

Our sports editor picked Whiteford High school over Summerfield High School in a football rivalry game Sept. 18, 2015. That night, I started getting Twitter messages tagging @monroenews that were calling out our sports editor and / or mentioning who won the game.

We don’t usually see social media reactions on the sports predictions, although those previews are hugely popular with our print audience. Because the sports reporters were still on deadline, it was up to me if there would be a response while the conversations were still taking place.Tweet to Summerfield High School students

I wrote one Tweet that got this point across: We see you. Thanks for reading.

The response was 13 reweets and 24 favorites on my “Hello Summerfield fans” tweet with an emoji football and an emoji paw print as a salute to the Summerfield Bulldogs.

That’s pretty good engagement for an account that had 12k followers at the time.

This post was written in January 2016, and updated in May 2017.


Author: Paula Wethington

Paula Wethington works on the digital side of journalism for The Monroe News in Monroe, Michigan.

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