Social media monitoring is the key social media activity that gives you insights that can guide you to increase profits. Monitoring is to social media marketing what keyword research is to search engine marketing.
It gives you insight into your target market, helps you develop your product, great content and allows you to connect with your potential customers. Even at the grass root and bootstrapping levels of the businesses, monitoring is one of those activities that doesn’t drive instant gratification, but the result drives insights that improve your strategical decisions, as well as structuring the language of your audience.
Thanks to the fact that you are in specific business for a very long time, often times you will be blinded sided by your own terminology. This is where social media monitoring meets semantics. Semantical research helps you understand in what way your audience communicates about your product and industry. Prior to the open web of social media, you couldn’t have gauged the emotions of your customers and prospects. Now you can. Time spent into monitoring is invested into getting to know your industry, getting to understand and connect with key influencers of your market, create awareness, content strategy and actionable steps for your complete digital as well as traditional marketing.
The Tangible Result From Social Media Monitoring
We understand that being a business owner will push you to go for the fast results, where you will gain an immediate return on your advertising dollars, however in today’s digital landscape, having an articulate and appropriate content strategy takes time and effort. But above all, it takes dedication to truly comprehend the ideas and habits that your audience has.
The tangible result that needs to be produced from social media monitoring are insights that will give us the clear picture of how our audience thinks, and to what kind of products do they react, and why. Our representatives will spend time listening to your potential and existing customers in order to help you better structure your offering and help us, as your marketing team, to better craft your marketing message.
How Does this process looks like?
There are a plethora of tools out there that are designed to help you listen to your customers. When you hire us, our first task is to focus on what your audience is speaking about, and generate clear reports with actionable information.
Stages of Social Media Monitoring:
- Define an objective
- Decide where to monitor
- Decide what to monitor
- Develop a plan
- Involve others
- Listen first
- Inbound vs outbound conversations
- Build Relationships
- Select the tools that match your strategy
Why should your business monitor the social web?
Besides fine-tuning your communication, there are other benefits you will obtain from monitoring the social web. By listening to we extract the valuable insights, stay on top of your competitor’s activity and ever-shifting digital landscape of your industry. Social media monitoring can be the time-consuming activity for your company, and without the proper expertise, you might spend a significant amount of time, with slim to none results. By reading this article you will gain a deeper understanding of this activity.
People are out there on the internet, and they are already talking about your company and your service. By not participating in the online conversation you are missing out. For the longest time, the big corporate was very skeptical about social media, believing that it is a temporary fad and that it will go away. But Facebook and Twitter both passed a 10-year mark, and social media usage isn’t going away, it is increasing instead, and flowing over onto new channels such as Instagram, Snapchat, and other layers that your marketing department isn’t even aware that they exist.
Back in the early days of old school marketing, you would have to pay expensive focus groups and a lot of money just to have the opportunity to get a snapshot of what customers think. Now-days, all you need to do is open up a Twitter account, do a couple of searches, and get a preview of what people are talking about, what is engaging, and what is trending. All of the above-mentioned activity comes at a mere fraction of a focus group and allows you real-world data.
The main reason is having real-time insights into your audience.
In retail it holds a lot of power, as the data sets are large, in B2B, it holds even more power, as it enables real-time conversation and influence. Here are some of the reasons why you should be listening, and even reacting on social media:
- You can respond to complaints – they happen online, your presence can showcase that you are willing to mitigate the damage that poor customer experience has caused, or at least explain your side of the story.
- You can solve customer problems – Social media in a sense is a way to evolve like customers are. If they are looking for help on Twitter or Forums, your presence there means that they get help where they already are and don’t have to come to you.
- You can answer the prospective customer questions – enabling more sales. Customers are becoming increasingly inclined to buy products from companies that have a better understanding of their habits. It creates a deeper bond between the brand and the customer.
- You can learn the language of your customers – as the online conversation evolves, so does the language. New needs arise, new solutions come with them. If you are there and receive weekly and daily reports, you will be able to move the needle forward.
- You can snoop on your competitors – Imagine having a list of all of your competitor’s customers? You can have their brand evangelists, their casual users, their haters and people that are simply interested in their products, neatly organized and available.
What are the social media monitoring tools that you can use?
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as it sounds in my previous paragraph. Social media is cluttered with a lot of noise, spam, and irrelevant information. Finding insights that are relevant to you is a full-time job, a task that companies are not proficient in. Social media monitoring absolutely requires tools that will help you weed through large data sets.
Brandwatch – Top referenced paid tool
Social media monitoring isn’t cheap. Companies like Brandwatch invest a lot of development hours into creating fine-tuned algorithms that can scale the research process of marketing professionals, by removing low-quality mentions. Their smallest plans start at $1000/month and scale up based on your needs. They always want to drive you to their sales professionals in order to upsell you more. This is the landscape of this type of tools.
Key features of Brandwatch include:
- Search operators
- Historical Data
- Metadata on the mentions
- Location data
- Sentiment Analysis
- Topic clouds
- Automation rules
- Email Alerts
I would argue that sentiment analysis is the best feature of Brandwatch, as it is acquiring the emotional pulse of the audience you are following. This is one of those things that I can’t imagine being done manually after we’ve tried their service.
Our Favorite Free Social Media Monitoring Tool for Small Business is Google Alerts. By using Google Alerts you can track your company’s brand, your competitors, build links and monitor your keywords. It’s very useful tool although only a few marketers use it to its fullest potential. If you want to dig up some information or to discover where have you been mentioned you can do that more efficiently by using Alerts.
Does it mean that social media monitoring tools only monitor social networks?
Actually, not. Besides the social networks, Social Media Monitor tools can also be used for blogs, forums, news sites and so on. Although some social sites have strict rules which means that it’s impossible for tools to cover all the contents. But instead of complicating the terminology behind a straightforward activity, we want to bring transparency to the social media monitoring process, and clearly communicate its benefits and advantages.
HootSuite – Social Media Listening Dashboard
HootSuite is one of the heavy hitting social media listening giants. With almost a decade in business, their Twitter listening capabilities are meticulously designed to help professional social media teams to keep track of thousands of conversations. If you are a small business, their free plan could be a gateway into the world of social listening.
Challenges of Social Media Monitoring
While there are stories about success all over the internet there are still some of the things that you have to figure out. You can’t always rely on insights from your social media monitoring because there are always some challenges that come with these tools. For example platforms like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook have millions of active users today, but also there are numerous bots. That means that you can get a distorted picture of your insights and it is not easy to sort through spammers and bot accounts which represents one of the main challenges when it gets to Social Media Monitoring. It can help when it comes to decisions that are backed by data, which can be much easier when pairing with the right social media analytics software.
Is Social Media Monitoring invading people’s privacy?
Research has shown that 51% of users would like to talk about companies without them listening and about 43% of them say that social media monitoring invades their privacy. Social Media Monitoring is a subject to a network’s privacy settings and that means that for example the majority of Facebook posts cannot be monitored. Facebook users can talk about companies without them listening. But, on the other hand there is Twitter which is a more public network and most tweets can be viewed by anyone. So there is a question, if user tweets about the brand but doesn’t ask any questions or help, should companies get involved? This may help you think twice when to engage.
How does Social Media Monitoring affect e-commerce businesses?
Businesses engaged in Social Media Monitoring actively search for keywords related to their e-commerce brands. By using this tool you get to know what’s being said about you in real-time and with gathering this information you get to organize them in a way that works to your advantage.
That way you can build your brand authenticity, you can see which social media marketing campaigns are performing best, eliminate the ones with lowest engagement levels. Don’t forget to use negative feedback to correct mistakes in your business and try to improve your marketing that way.
If you are an e-commerce brand, social media monitoring can allow you to listen to real time, real world feedback on the performance of your products. Reacting to them would establish that your brand cares enough about its reputation, and could also uncover potential issues that could save the company thousands of dollars if addressed timely.
How to provide the value with Social Media Monitoring?
Behind the popular corporate term hides a pretty straightforward activity that requires more than a single tool to execute efficiently. Due to the complexity and noise of the Internet, existing tools are helping us find relevant real-time conversations in order to enable us to understand our audience, their needs, and desires. Everything we need to know about our market, our customers are already saying it on the internet.
Social Media Monitoring is an activity of actively listening to public conversations on the web in order to refine your communication strategy.
In order to create value, your reporting needs to provide insights that can lead to actions, be it in real time answering to the complaints, or by uncovering the valuable trends in the markets.
Metrics to observe in your social media listening report
When creating social media listening report, there will be a slight difference in B2B and B2C approach. In B2B arena, you will listen to the conversation that drives your target, and what are the topics that they are talking about, and with which sentiment. It will isolate the exact individuals,
Is Social Media Monitoring the right thing for your business?
This is a specialty product for businesses that already generate revenue from standard marketing activities and want to take their company to the next level. Set up a call with one of our experts to determine if social media monitoring is a right fit for your brand.