As Time to Change is a social movement, sharing personal stories from people with experience of mental health problems is an essential part of our content strategy.

A lot of these stories we commission from the general public and host on the Time to Change blog, but we’re also a big fan of amplifying user-generated content, to strengthen the voices of people who will ensure the movement  can continue long after our funding runs out.

As we’re such a big campaign, a lot of user-generated content comes directly to us without much effort on our part. People write blogs or produce video content and tell us about it, knowing we’re always looking for great things to share more widely.

But what this doesn’t allow us to see is all the amazing people out there who are fighting for the same things, but doing it alone. Harnessing these voices really drives the campaign forwards because, as well as being stronger and louder together, every person who produces content for themselves has the potential to inspire someone else to do the same – building the foundations of a sustainable legacy.

In order to reach these people, we needed a social listening tool that would show us all the content being produced around the world that related to mental health and stigma. Google is a great tool for finding the top ranking HuffPo and Buzzfeed articles, but those need no amplification, what we wanted was to find everyday people who had powerful personal experiences, wanted to change the world and would inspire others to do the same.

We looked at four platforms that would do this, along with the other operational requirements we had:

Having interviewed them all, we landed on two finalists. The first we picked didn’t work out, they had a few development issues they couldn’t resolve and I didn’t want to keep paying for something that didn’t work properly, so we switched to Meltwater, who have been fantastic.

We’ve been with them a few months now and they do everything we were looking for to help make our social media as good as it can be. We aim for every post to get 600 engagements and 60,000 reach, but invariably our user-generated content found through Meltwater vastly outperforms this, growing our online community and spreading our message of change to a wider audience. This month our top user-generated post gained 8,700 likes and 1.3 million reach – all made possible with a couple of clicks in a pre-built search.

If you’re thinking about using social listening more, for this or the many other reasons, let me know and I can share my notes on suppliers we spoke to.

In the meantime, here’s a lovely post from someone whose blog we shared this month!

Brooke on mental health stigma