Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Monitoring Social Media for Documentation Customer Feedback

Rhyne Armstrong, who used to write scripts for haunted houses, started by saysng that the alternate title for this presentation is....

<cue haunted music>

It Came From the Intenet...!"

First, you have to prepare yourself. The Internet is a spooky place. For a long time, we could write in our cubes, send stuff out, and never get any feedback. We've gone from where we can hide within our organizational structure to where we have to get out there.

Because they are talking about you--and your documentation. If you're not in the conversation--if you're not leading the conversation--you may have this "crapstorm" going on about you without you knowing about it.

Social media does not belong to the marketing world.

Lots of free tools to do tracking, including Google Alerts, retweetrank.com, Klout, Bitly, SocialBro, and others. There are pro versions of many of these, and you can also pay 9big bucks sometimes) for monitoring. A number of companies are in the social media monitoring space.

Most people aren't looking for your manuals--that they can find on your website. They are looking for "how do I do X with Y?" 

3 ways to distribute documentation for feedback: passive, seductive, and aggressive.

Passive is like a mummy. When you publish and wait for feedback, it's a good start. Results can be skewed (usually negative), and you can always be putting out fires. Feedback is because they had a problem.

Seductive is like a vampire. It brings users to your content. Can be done through Facebook or Twitter. Asking them to come to your content, but not necessarily asking for feedback.

Aggressive is like a werewolf. Go where your users are. Put a face with the content. Announce, solicit, and respond. Communicate! It can be dangerous. It can be a full-time job to do this. But it becomes your documentation as much as your documentation.

Don't forget to use your braaaaiiiins...... (tips for surviving the zombie holocaust as well as social media.)

Sharing is better than feedback, which is better than silence.

 Never stop running. If you go silent, at least leave a breadcrumb trail to reach you.

Stick together. Work with other teams.

Unleash the beast. Let your documentation go.

Don't freak out. Don't get anxious when you get negative comments. You never know who is on the other side of the twitter ID. Gracefully, calmly respond. But don't always automatically capitulate.

Stay out of the woods. Don't use too many tools. Better to stay in the clear, where you can see things coming at you. You can't spend so much time distributing documentation that you forget to write good documentation.

You really have to consider the source. If CNN retweets something, you have to respond. Look at how many followers tweeters have. Try not to get management involved; C-levels either want to do something Right Now or they deny that it's an issue. 

When you're compiling metrics, don't use individual tweets.

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