The social media landscape never sleeps and there is an ever-growing ocean of consumer data out there. The million dollar question is whether you are actively listening or not. At first glance, the scope of the task seems immense. Gathering individual messages manually, across social networks is incredibly resource-intensive indeed.
Fortunately, we have smart and automated solutions at our disposal. They streamline tasks and processes and boost efficiency across the board. So, there is really no excuse not to reap the amazing benefits that stem from social media monitoring. If you really mean business, data and business intelligence need to form the core of digital operations.
Don’t let anything fly under the radar. It’s time to get ahead of the game.
The big picture
Social media monitoring revolves around the process of gathering all messages into one stream and taking action based on key findings.
Note that social media listening is a different term that should not be confused with monitoring, although the two are somewhat interwoven. Namely, listening refers to a type of monitoring that centers on trending topics and keywords and is associated with tactics such as topic affinity, brand mentions, and sentiment analysis.
Both tactics have their place in any smart social media strategy. Their purpose is to support business decision making and lead to smarter allocation of resources. It is supposed to eliminate the guesswork from the whole process. To make it happen, you need to cast a wide net: pick up and respond to comments and soak in the feedback, be it positive or negative.
Tools of the trade
Bear in mind that it is preferable to have one central dashboard where all data is integrated and processed. The good news is that there are some great tools for effective social media monitoring, with advanced features, that let you track direct and indirect brand mentions across various social media platforms in real time.
Naturally, what you chose to focus on depends on specific industry requirements, things that make your business unique, and the social network you are monitoring. On Twitter, brands gravitate towards trending hashtags that spawn around new products/services. To stay on top of them, they employ specialized, hashtag-tracking tools in the league of RiteTag and Hashtagify. They also select certain performance indicators such as engagement rates, reach, buzz, sentiment, etc.
In general, apart from hashtags, you want to track incoming messages and brand keywords and mentions, including common misspellings. It’s also worth noting that some tools (like WeLink) are location-based, as they enable you to keep track of trade shows, conferences, parties and events in a certain city.
A wealth of benefits
Once you have a strategy and system in place, you can start reaping the many benefits of social media monitoring.
- Monitoring makes it easier to open the lines of communication and reach a wider audience. For instance, you can obtain insights into what people think about your new product or announcement. In the process, you fine-tune your (content) marketing campaigns, improve your offerings, and better tailor core messages.
- Furthermore, you are in a position to identify trending topics, prominent influencers and disruptive trends that shake up the industry. You take part in conversations and provide solutions and answers to people’s problems and queries. You can also take a firm stance on burning issues and spread brand awareness that way. Working with influencers brings benefits to your brand promotion on social media networks: Boosting brand awareness, Reaching wider audiences, Increasing your share of voice, Improving brand reputation and building trust, Generating high-quality leads etc. For a small business and start-ups, this is crucial, because they still haven’t develop a strong network of followers. Don’t forget that once you increase brand awareness and engage visitors, you need to inspire them to make a purchase.
- Another benefit is that you can spot negative feedback and discontent from a mile away. Not only that, but you are able to react promptly to mitigate the damage to your public image. That is to say that social listening is an excellent reputation management strategy that helps brands steer clear of social train wrecks.
- You also get to show your impeccable customer service. This is important because people adore brands that have quick response rates (up to four hours, not 10, which is average). Most customers who have a question or complaint expect to see your answer as soon as possible. Still, many businesses don’t take customer feedback seriously. This is a huge mistake, given that large portion of these customers will decide not to buy from you. Brands that prove they care about their consumers reply almost instantly. Also, more than one third of customers prefer to reach brands via social media instead of traditional channels.
- Monitoring invites you to humanize the social voice and become more approachable and relatable. This is a great way to foster meaningful and lasting relationships with your customers. It can make a real difference between an abandoned cart and a purchase.
- Finally, social monitoring enables you to scope out what your competition is doing. Since business world has become overly competitive, this benefit of social monitoring is self explanatory. You can carry out a competitive analysis and learn from their success and mistakes. The goal is not to merely emulate the good aspects of other brands’ strategies. You should use the acquired knowledge to set yourself apart from them.
Ignoring what people are talking about on social media is not an option, however unpleasant the truth may be. So, master the art of listening and monitoring and prioritize customer care and service. Figure out what people want and need and give them just that. Improve your brand’s communication pipeline.
Extract valuable insights and uncover opportunities for engagement. Keep up with industry goings-on and amplify your messages. This is your chance to make a name for yourself and take your marketing game to the next level. Get ready to brave that tumultuous social wilderness.