Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly1
Your People Are Talking.
Are You Listening?
A collaborative project with
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly2
Engagement is tough.
Declining organic reach, ad blockers, decreasing email metrics, pay to play on Facebook and stiff com-
petition with cute cats.
While the problems are dynamic, the ultimate solution is always the same. Sending the right message,
at the right time…you know the rest. But how?
Most engagement strategies are based on the idea of posting or emailing strategic content from a
pre-determined timeline, which is just one way to engage on social or any other channel.
Our guide flips the funnel and shows a powerful new tactic that will dramatically increase engagement
with this one idea — responding to people as they talk about your work or cause on social media.
We’ll walk you through the basics of of social listening and offer game-changing strategies for
multi-channel engagement, which probably isn’t like anything you’re doing.
The power of social listening isn’t about tracking endless chatter. It’s about smart segmentation so
when your supporters talk about your work online, you’re able to reply in real-time, with the right call
to action, on the right channel. We’ll show you how.
Attentive.ly CEO and
Co-Founder of Fission Strategy
Attentive.ly Co-Founder and
CEO of Fission Strategy
Roz Lemieux & Cheryl Contee
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly3
1. What is Social Listening and the Benefits
2. Social Listening for Big Moments
3. Why Rapid Response Matters
4. How to Engage Your Influencers
5. How to Use Attentive.ly, Twitter, and
Facebook for Social Listening
What This Guide Will Teach You
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly4
Social listening is a relatively new marketing tactic, especially for nonprof-
its. Looking at the big picture, it was only 2012 when Dell launched their
first social media control room, which took 70 staff to monitor conversa-
tions! At the time, the ability to respond to the latest news and trends on
social that were relevant to their audience was totally remarkable. Today,
it’s not only expected, but essential for modern engagement.
For nonprofits, what is exciting about advances in social listening is how
affordable it has become to process data. Organizations can now use
a proven strategy once reserved for the largest commercial brands at
a price that leaves plenty of budget for the great work they do. Social
listening is accessible — you don’t need a mission control center to
listen to your people.
Social Media Listening Defined
Social listening is the process of monitoring digital media channels to
understand the conversations around relevant topics, or social mentions,
so you can better engage those people driving the discussion and partic-
ipating in it.
In other words, it allows you to track relevant search terms on your
people, so when they say, “I love your campaign!” you say, “We love your
support, and here’s how you can help today.”
It’s critical that organizations understand how, and if, their supporters
are talking about their key issues.
It’s not only interesting to see the nature of the conversation, it also
helps inform the content strategy while offering powerful opportunities
to reply with real time, personalized multi-channel engagement.
By listening to what a key stakeholder is saying on social media, your
organization can understand which issues resonate and why. You can
literally see how people are talking about your work.
What is Social Listening?
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly5
5 Benefits of Social Listening
By sending automated emails when our supporters mentioned “Grand
Canyon,” American Rivers gained 2,500 new petition signers with an
impressive 24% petition signature conversion rate, 40% open rate and
Get the Pulse of Your People
Often you may suspect a hashtag is trending with your base, but can’t
back it up with real data. Social listening is like running a daily poll on
your supporters so you have a real-time pulse of your people. Which
#conversations can you join that connect supporters to your mission?
Understand What Your Supporters Want to Hear
People want to engage with organizations that understand their
interests and values. Social listening informs communications and
digital teams about what your people want to hear. As a person’s online
identity becomes better defined by the things they click on, interact with,
and talk about on social media, the more important it becomes to tailor
your communications to get their attention.
Send the Right Message
When we talk about personalization in the context of engagement, it’s
about knowing your audience better so they can be sent the most
relevant content where the conversation is happening. This means
having the ability to strategically monitor conversations in your CRM and
with you social media followers, not the world. The right message could
range from a reply to a volunteer who is talking about your work, to an
automated email with a CTA, when a search term is mentioned.
… At the Right Time
Timing is everything. One of the main benefits of social listening is to
increase campaign conversions by sending the right message at the
right time. If there is a swell in relevant conversations, seize the
moment and send an email or social post when the issue is most
likely to gain traction. Modern personalization combines social media
insights, social listening, and information you already have in your CRM
so you no longer have to guess when to send your awesome content.
Achieve the best results possible with a powerful combination of social
listening and marketing automation. Attentive.ly’s client American Rivers
had a staggering 24% petition completion rate for a campaign (an
average response rate is around 3%). Each time a supporter mentioned
“Grand Canyon” on Twitter or Facebook, that person was placed into a
segmented email group and received an automated email asking them
to sign their petition within 24 hours of the mention.
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly6
Since social listening is a fairly new communication tactic for nonprofits,
you may be drawing a blank on how you could implement this for your
group. It’s likely that the current tools you’re using (CRM, Hootsuite,
Tweetdeck, etc), can do part of the job, but pooling all these resources
may be somewhat time intensive.
Whom should you listen to?
We always recommend listening to people in your CRM or database
since those are generally the most engaged and where you’ve invested
the most resources. Attentive.ly integrates with the leading CRM’s and is
the only nonprofit tool that listens to what people in your contact list are
What should you listen for?
1. Mentions and hashtags. People who are talking about issues that
relate to your programs or campaigns.
2. Trending terms and hashtags. In working with over 200 organizations, we
have seen a steady pattern of terms and hashtags that change each week
— these are trends. Your people are talking about all sorts of campaigns,
with a few steady topics that rise to the top. Find your core conversations
and trending hashtags that you can engage with week to week.
3. Ride Other People’s Waves. In many cases, top trending hashtags in
your CRM won’t “officially” be part of your campaign. But, you can still
look for ways to join their conversation organically.
4. Opportunity to engage. Opportunities can range from retweeting your
VIP influencers to showing your everyday influencers social love.
Who is Talking About You?
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In preparing for their #Write4Rights campaign,
Amnesty International Canada used Attentive.ly to
identify a large number of supporters talking about
issues related to their human rights campaigns
on social media. Amnesty successfully identified
influencers that had already used the hashtag and asked
them via DM to tweet during their global day of action.
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly8
How to Engage People Who Talk About You
1. Retweet, Like, or Follow. Okay folks, we’ve seen a steady trend of
nonprofits not giving out much social love. When supporters post
about your issues, reward them with a RT or at least a Like. If they
are a VIP influencer posting about your issue, make sure you’re
following them and RT their posts. The goal is to cultivate the
relationship, so they will reciprocate with a RT and become more
involved with your organization.
2. Email or Direct Message a Call To Action. If people are talking
about a term that relates to a clear action they can take, send
them an automated email with your Call to Action. This could be
a donation request, petition, event invitation, Google hangout,
Twitter storm, new report, etc.
3. Create a Facebook Ad. Any time a supporter mentions
#YourCampaign, put them into a group that receives a Facebook
Ad the next day about #YourCampaign.
4. Join Twitter Team. Borrow a move from the Hillary campaign
and ask your supporters to help you spread the word by
providing them with content for key events. It’s a great way to turn
supporters into ambassadors within their own social circles, and
demonstrates how much their voice matters to the campaign.
The American Friends Service Committee reviews trending
hashtags and content amongst their community at their weekly
editorial meetings. This helps inform decisions about what action
alerts and web content to create for the week.
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly9
A few days after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the American Friends Service
Committee (AFSC), a Quaker nonprofit organization which promotes an end to discrimination, noticed
a significant shift in focus on social media to the hashtag #Ferguson.
They could quickly see that terms such as “police” started trending, not just nationally, but in their own
database. Using Attentive.ly to see which AFSC supporters were talking about Ferguson, AFSC created a
saved search to see exactly who was talking about Ferguson on Facebook and Twitter. They then invited
those supporters to a Google Hangout to hear AFSC’s response to the events as they unfolded.
The result was a record high Google Hangout turnout and 74 donations. More importantly, AFSC
seized the opportunity to talk about solutions around discrimination as the Movement for Black Lives
Rapid Response by American Friends Service Committee
“ferguson dc protest 112514 2” by Neil Cooler via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Timing is of the essence since many terms are only hot for a few days
or weeks. If the term is trending in your CRM, which a tool like Atten-
tive.ly will show you, it means it’s time to engage eveyone who used the
term — especially your influencers.
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly10
Social Listening for Big Moments
You know your big action and event days, but do you have a plan to respond
in real-time? Make a list of your moments and create a game plan with these
tips to respond in real time, using social listening.
1. Buy-In. This is a great exercise in building trust for rapid response
engagement. The idea is to get buy-in for pre-approved content
AND criteria for on-the-fly posts you will share or retweet during the
2. Prepare content. While you’ll want to create content on the fly as
the moment unfolds, aim to have at least half of your posts pre-
approved and scheduled before the event, leaving time to share
creative posts and engage with others during the event. Make sure to
also send sample content to your staff.
Our partner Fission Strategy encourages blog post preparation with a
direct call to action at the end of the blog.
“Draft a blog post in advance including what your organization does
to address issues surrounding the event, so that you can publish
quickly while buzz is at its highest and enjoy inbound traffic to your
website. Include a call to action at the end of your blog post to give
folks another step to take on your behalf.” - Fission Strategy
3. Line Up Your Influencers Before Event. Before and during the
moment, listen for “the name of event” or #related_terms. You can
segment these social mentions into a group called “event mentions”
in Attentive.ly. You may even want to segment these mentions
further by influencer type such as “VIP Mentions”.
4. Engage People During the Moment. Participate directly in the
conversation, especially on Twitter, around key terms by responding
to, liking, and sharing the best posts. Keep your eye out for VIPs and
get their attention by giving them the same social love. This is a good
way to nudge VIPs to share your content. Thank supporters for any
5. Follow Up. Create a group of all of the folks that discussed your
issues or mentioned your organization during the event. Send them
an email with next steps (and thank them!).
“That’s the power of Attentive.ly: When there’s a newsworthy event
on a topic we cover, we’re ready to go with relevant conversation
our audience is primed to engage with.” - MomsRising“
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly11
Why Rapid Response Matters
When we talk about rapid response on social, it’s more than replying to
direct comments on Twitter or Facebook, which are are fairly limited and
easy to follow up with. The idea is to respond to your people who are talking
about related terms or hashtags.
Timing is everything with social listening — if conversations about your work
start to trend, seize the moment by showing some social love, or think about
emailing an action alert or donation appeal while the issue is top of mind.
With social media, you have a few hours to respond before you look lame or
the person has shifted gears.
Keep in mind that rapid response on social media generally can’t go through
the normal approval channels. Colin Delany of Epolitics points out, “A Face-
book post that languishes for a week waiting for sign-off isn’t rapid … or by
that point, response.”
Too often digital teams aren’t equipped to respond quickly on social media
or send an email within 24 hours for reasons including:
• They have no idea what terms are trending with CRM members or with
• Retweeting followers isn’t something they do.
• Retweeting influencers is a multi-person decision, which means it never
• Not empowered to make decisions. Every post must be approved.
• Tweets are determined a week prior.
• The email schedule is determined months prior.
Many of these objections are organizational, not technical. The tech is avail-
able and affordable, so it’s really a matter of re-evaluating priorities, re-think-
ing policies, and trying new tactics.
“Rapid response should really be planned response, so do as much
work as you can in advance to ensure that you’re making the most of it
and able to enjoy it yourself!” - Blue State Digital“
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly12
How To Engage Your Influencers
There’s nothing more relatable to your supporters
than seeing your mission in action by real people,
Nonprofits have an enormous opportunity to recruit passionate fol-
lowers who will extend the reach of content and help secure future
supporters. The idea here is to tap into other people’s networks who
will share your content to their own followers. It’s one of the smartest
ways to grow your base and move the needle on social engagement.
You might be surprised to learn that nearly every nonprofit we’ve run
data on has influencers. In fact, we found the top 5% of supporters in
our client’s CRM comprise 85% of their network reach. We’re con-
fident that every nonprofit has influencers hiding out in their CRM,
which is the best place to start.
The best opportunity to engage your influencers is when they talk
about your mission on social media. Make sure you’re set up to know
who your influencers are and have the ability to engage them within
a few hours of the mention.
“Engaging influencers around trending events is a
great way to unleash social-fueled results.” - Social Driver
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly13
Whether you’re looking at someone like a Baratunde or Carole King, VIP/Celebrity Influencers tend to be about 1% of your email list with
a Klout score over 70. Nearly every customer at Attentive.ly has found VIPs hiding out in the CRM they didn’t know about.
Once you’ve created a list of the VIPs and Professionals you plan to approach, get on their radar by following them, providing smart com-
ments and understanding their content. Once warmed up, send them a personalized email (ideally) with a clear pitch.
The Professional influencer is known for their area of expertise and generally have a Klout score of over 55. Their job as a journalist, ex-
ecutive, speaker, etc. is to educate and motivate others around their message. They already have real skin in the game so are motivated
to deliver targeted content.
When contacting Professional influencers, let them know you’re reaching out to them for their professional reputation. Since they’re
in the spotlight, they likely receive multiple requests to share content — so make sure you’ve done your homework and have a solid, per-
Perhaps one of the most practical uses of social listening is to engage your “everyday” influencers or ambassadors talking about your
search terms on social media. Motivated by passion and interest around a product or cause, your everyday influencers are the largest
and most accessible of the three groups you should cultivate. They have moderate Klout scores (40-60) and up to a few thousand social
connections. While they won’t have the reach of a VIP influencer, when combined in a group, they can extend your network reach by
These are folks that would be the most thrilled if you asked them to share your content to their networks on a regular basis as ambassa-
dors, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Types of Influencers
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Showing Social Love
While your organization has the best handle on messaging, cultivating
your social media ambassadors to share your good word is smart.
• Social Proof. Show that you have real, grassroots backing by
retweeting on-message posts from a variety of your supporters.
• Engagement. What better way to demonstrate that the voices of
your people matter than to retweet or like their (relevant) posts.
They’ll love it!
• WOM. Dozens of studies show that recommendations from friends
and family carry the most weight when making decisions. This is
why word of mouth is considered to be the most effective type of
• Organizing Power. Nonprofits have what everyone else wants —
dedicated supporters motivated by their values and passion to help
you achieve your mission. Cultivate your power by showing social
• New Content. Take advantage of your people power and think
of your supporters as a source of new content that validates your
mission, grows your base, and mobilizes your people.
“Given that social media is really better when it is people sharing ideas
with people, the more an organization can incorporate the voices of
its “real people” members into its feed the more compelling it will be.”
If their voice matters,
Social Love Checklist
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly15
Facebook lists live on your own profile, not on your page, so
you would create the lists and then share them with your fel-
low page admins if you want.
If you are trying to see what other people who aren’t in your
audience are saying about you, you can also put them on lists,
again sorted however you want. Personally I try to sort by geo-
graphic location, issues (if I know what the person/organization
is known for) and particular campaigns engaged with.
The last is especially useful if you are a multi-issue organi-
zation, since someone who is active on social media talking
about the environment may not be useful if you are trying to
see what people are saying about the Fight for 15 campaign.
You can then use Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite or TweetDeck
to set up columns to monitor those lists. Take a look at those
lists on a regular basis in order to get a sense of what is being
said. You can also set up saved searches/columns around key-
words and hashtags in order to monitor what is being said.”
Using Twitter or Facebook
“If you’re trying to listen to
your own audience, sort through
your followers and assign them to
lists. How you sort them is up to you,
but you COULD throw them all in
one list. More likely, though, it’ll to be
useful to segment them in some way
(geographically, based on interest,
social media reach, etc.)."
Digital Strategist Beth Becker
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly16
Use Attentive.ly for Social Listening
Using Attentive.ly, you can see what people in your CRM are saying on
social media. Your organization can understand which issues resonate
with them and why — you can literally see how your people are talking
about your work on social media.
• Trending conversations. See what topics, hashtags, images, and
videos are trending among your contacts. Filter by location, list
segment, or social network.
• Segment by social mentions. It takes just one-click to cut a list
segment based on social mentions, influence, and social networks,
which you can send to your CRM.
• Identify “influencers” hiding out in your CRM. Find your existing
influencers based on network reach, topic relevancy, and prior
• Marketing automation. When a supporter mentions your cause on
Facebook or Twitter, send them an automatic email from Attentive.ly or
your CRM, asking them to sign your campaign petition .
• CRM integrations. We integrate ActionKit, ActiveCampaign, BSD,
Campaign Monitor, CiviCRM, Luminate, Mailchimp, NGP and Salsa. We
also have an available API and connect with Zapier which allows you to
import/export to other CRMs.
“Social listening with
Attentive.ly is unique in that it
takes a medium where we have
weak relationships with supporters
(social networks) and creates for
us a medium where we can talk to
supporters directly (direct message,
email, social advertising). Making
this connection is priceless."
MomsRising on Flickr
Visit www.attentive.ly for pricing,
free resources and to request a demo.
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly17
Attentive.ly drives engagement with your campaigns by turning your existing supporters into advocates. We identify
the influencers you need to engage today and provide multi-channel tools for an automated, personalized response.
Track interest in key topics, includ-
ing your brand, over time, and add
“watched words” to track and filter.
Find out who is already talking about
a campaign topic or your organization
and engage the most influential people.
We turn your list into an infographic
showing the reach of users’ net-
works, influential people, popular cit-
ies, popular tmes to post, and more.
Does your email “house list” have top blog-
gers, VIPs, even Members of Congress?
Find the influentials hidden in your list.
Export to CRM
Increase your Facebook Page following,
and promote a campaign on Twitter.
Stop guessing, and use your audience’s
hashtags to join the conversation.
Your People Are Talking. Are You Listening? | www.Attentive.ly 703.988.3549 hello@Attentive.ly18
Make Social Listening Actionable
Work with a digital agency and consulting team to get
your digital strategy moving, today.
Meet our sister company, Fission Strategy.
Fission has a proven track record helping leading nonprofits, foundations
and social enterprises harness innovation more effectively to create so-
cial change around the world. If you’re nonprofit, a political group, social
enterprise or cause seeking to solve a seemingly intractable problem,
buck the status quo, tell the truth about an important issue, or create
a vibrant web presence for your community, you’ve come to the right
Fission’s offerings include:
• Live Event Social Media Coverage. Fission will map and monitor
engagement opportunities with influencers and hashtags, to amplify
your organization’s reach.
• Facebook Engagement. Fission provides insights into your
organization’s Facebook outreach strategy, and works with you to create
powerful campaigns with compelling copy and design, catered to the
audiences you wish to serve, within your budget.
• Discovery & Audits. Fission conducts in-depth discoveries to find out
how your current technology is working, what your new technical and
staffing requirements are, which CMS or CRM would best suit your
specific needs, and what your resources, assets, allies and opponents
• Strategic Planning
• Campaign Implementation
• Web Design & Development
• CRM & Advocacy Tool Integrations
• Brand Identity Design
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Want to try Attentive.ly?
Visit www.attentive.ly for pricing, free resources and to request a demo.