Imagine this scenario (chances are it’s happened to you at least a few times):
So, you’re ranting on and on to a friend about something. It might be extremely important, life-changing even, but it doesn’t really matter. You finish making your point, whatever it is, and sit back waiting for a response from your friend. However, all they have to offer is the not-so-monumental, “yeah” or the hardly-satisfying, “totally.” You stare back, jaw possibly dropped, and realize they just heard nothing you were saying. We all know how frustrating this can be. After all, it’s nice to be heard, especially when you feel like what you have to say is really worth while.
For PR pros, it’s essential to know how to listen. One of the most important components about PR is that it involves 2-way communication. It’s not enough to just monitor what’s going on. You have to be in tune with what your publics want/need and what they expect. (Click here to see more reasons why listening is important.) Feedback is essential; it helps PR pros alter and improve their strategies. Not to mention, it really builds trust between PR pros and publics when the publics feel like the PR pros genuinely care about what they have to say. Social Media sites like Twitter and Facebook are communication tools that have impacted the PR field tremendously because anyone can respond to a tweet or post. Not only can anyone provide feedback, but the conversation is quick and direct. Like I said, people like to be heard, and with sites like these, they can be. How gratifying!
As a result, relationships form and appropriate goals can be made because of these relationships. (Effective PR strategies incorporate this concept.) The tricky part is figuring out how to measure/evaluate PR strategies. “Measurement evaluates the effectiveness of messaging and provides a way to show whether or not PR actions are achieving objectives” (Learning Communication blog). It’s especially difficult when you’re audience isn’t speaking in digits. In other words, when you’re measuring qualitative data like attitudes. Here’s a link that explains how PR Pros are using Social Media to get results.