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When is the best time to listen?

by Frank Strong

There are a lot of posts on the web recently about “when is the best time to post,” but the question that goes un-asked is when is the best time to listen?

Oh, I understand, we all want people to read, share and discuss our content, so it makes perfect sense that we’d want to know the optimal time down to the millisecond to post a link on Twitter, or update a Facebook status.

But what about listening?  Remember that word?  Along with “transparency” and “authenticity” and similar words and phrases that now seem cliche, those words used to be a pillar in social media, but today they strike me more as punch lines. 

Seems to me if we can figure out the best time to post a tweet, we can also figure out the best time to listen.  If we listen at the best time perhaps we can engage — not by offering advice — but by asking questions, by probing.   If we could figure out a time, the optimal time, to tune in and capture that nugget of information that would make a difference, would we do it?

That’s a tough question to answer when we’re always talking.

Listening isn’t the sort of action isn’t going to drive short term traffic, click-throughs or conversions, but in my view its akin to reading the news every day:  outside of weather or traffic, there is very little news that is actionable immediately, rather its the long-term, the aggregation of knowledge over time that makes news valuable.

Maybe the answer to the question is always.

Photo credit, P-A-S-T, Flickr

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