Fake Shakespeare — Why It Matters In Social Media

"Listen to many, speak to a few."

       Those words are often attributed to William Shakespeare, but, alas, he never wrote them and probably never spoke them. It’s fake Shakespeare, likely based on a line in “Hamlet,” “Giver every man thy ear but few thy voice.”

     Editing Shakespeare is generally a terrible idea. And whoever came up with this revision not only lost the elegance of the bard’s pen, but also altered his meaning.

    There is one way, however, that the fake Shakespeare is an improvement over the original: It’s better advice for B2B marketers and PR pros engaging in social media marketing.

    You don’t want to “giver every man thy ear,” that is, follow every conversation taking place on social media — that’s both impossible and a tremendous waste of time; those outside your marketplace — and many inside your marketplace — have little or no business value. Instead you want to “listen to many,” by focusing on the “right” conversations (and the context of those conversations) happening in the marketplace on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, as well as blogs and online news stories.

     Then you want to “speak to a few,” take the time to focus and participate in the “right” conversations that relate to your topic or news.

     But you need to find these “right” conversations first. And you need technology to do that, as there is far too much information out there for any one person—or 100 persons—to track. The best technology doesn’t just listen, it analyzes because social conversations don’t take place in a vacuum (as described here).

     Social “conversation” analysis software gives you the power to “listen to many” ongoing conversations, yet cuts out the unwanted chatter. For example, this type of software allows you to search for a topic and get a list of the people who are writing, commenting on and/or sharing related content about the topic — as well as data that gives you an understanding of their level of “influence” with respect to the topic based on things like their following, the amount of content they author on the topic, how often their content is shared, etc.  From here, you can connect with the right people and share your news or make appropriate outreaches, thus improving both the quantity and the quality of your audience.

     You also want to find and join these right conversations, at the right time. What’s the use of finding a conversation if everyone has stopped talking. Social “conversation” analysis software gives you the ability to find hot topics because it constantly monitors the marketplace, showing which topics are trending among the most influential journalists, analysts and social influencers.

     Marketers can also use this type of software to analyze what’s trending in their own custom networks — say, for example, sales prospects or a certain geography — in order to be more selective and strategic in what conversations to join.

    Knowing what’s trending also allows you to tailor your content and SEO strategies to those topics. You can choose more timely and relevant subjects for your white papers, webcasts and blog posts, and watch them be more successful and impactful as a result. And when the content is ready to publish, you will know which journalists, analysts and influencers to share it with (the people currently talking about that topic online).

     The fake William Shakespeare surely wasn’t as elegant as the real thing. But the words “listen to many, speak to few” have real business value for B2B marketers and PR pros, provided you use the technology to take advantage of them.

     A new white paper by HRmarketer titled “Want People To Hear You? Then Listen” goes into more detail about these technologies and how these technologies can help marketing and PR pros. Get it here.

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