In the age of digital transformation, social media monitoring has grown increasingly important. Companies are beginning to adopt social analytics to better optimize, track and evaluate their marketing efforts and customer experiences. According to a survey by Clutch, businesses use social listening to:
- Improve products (25%)
- Entice customers (24%)
- Improve customer service (21%)
- Monitor content performance (13%)
- Recruit people (9%)
- Obtain competitive Intelligence (9%)
As social media monitoring helps businesses make smarter decisions on where to invest their marketing efforts and resources, it gives them a greater competitive advantage.
The increase in the adoption of social media monitoring is hardly surprising as social media is now integral to business strategies with a 13% increase in the number of social media users from 2017 to 2018, to 3.196 billion. While the widespread popularity of social media saw an increase in companies embracing social media monitoring tools, there are still some burning questions about it.
Here are some frequently asked questions about social media monitoring, according to Google autocomplete, answered.
What is Social Media Monitoring?
Social media monitoring is the process of using a tool to monitor online discussions and gather valuable insights about brand reputation, consumer sentiments, industry trends and competitors’ actions.
Contrary to popular belief, social media monitoring is not limited to social media networks but also extends through other types of online public content such as:
- Review Sites
- News Sites
- RSS Feeds
Why is Social Media Monitoring Important?
The ability to share news, information, thoughts and feelings on social media channels has empowered consumers immensely. Given that social media is the go-to communication channel for many people today, monitoring discussions here gives you real-time insights to proactively optimize your marketing strategies, build strong customer relationships, enhance brand reputation and quickly respond to crises.
Gone are the days where companies need to spend months collecting and trawling over data for consumer reports. With mountains of insights readily available online, leading companies who are actively monitoring social media can leverage this data for competitive advantage.
Here are some ways you can benefit from social media monitoring:
1. Monitor Brand Sentiments and Customer Expectations
Using a social media monitoring tool, you can discover how people are talking about your brand, the issues they are having, and what they like about your products. These insights can help inform and guide many important business decisions such as your brand building initiatives, product development processes and marketing campaigns.
The bottom line is, social media monitoring helps you understand customer expectations, how well you are delivering on those expectations, and enables you to proactively meet those expectations.
2. Identify Emerging Trends
For example, Spotify uses social listening for trend research – to track conversations online and analyze consumers’ mood to put together a customized ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist for every individual. This has proven to be very successful as Spotify managed to establish a personal connection with consumers and deliver better user experiences.
In a competitive market with ever-changing consumer demands, brands constantly need to find ways to differentiate themselves and align with their target audiences to remain attractive.
3. Manage Crises
With social media monitoring, brands can detect early warning signs of a potential crisis, understand the impact of the situation, and take purposeful actions to mend your brand’s reputation. For instance, abnormal spikes in negative brand related discussions could signal an impending crisis or incident that brands should look into. By understanding the cause of the spike, brands can develop the necessary responses rapidly to resolve the issue efficiently.
4. Conduct Competitive Analysis
Monitor social media chatter about your competitors to learn what customers like and dislike about them. Everything from product development to customer service to marketing can help your brand avoid potential problems, be more consumer-centric, and stay ahead of the competition.
How Does Social Media Monitoring Work?
Most social media monitoring tools continuously crawl through and index public data on social media and online sites, either in real-time (Twitter), or about every 10 minutes (other sites). Once site pages have been indexed, they can be searched based on queries or search strings, to find mentions of specific words and phrases on those pages. This allows users to have access to all the public mentions online, related to the specific keyword or term they set.
Social media monitoring tools will not just help users to collect data, but also consolidate these mentions and use intuitive or cognitive computing technologies to create data visualizations that allow users to easily understand trends sentiments and opinions of those mentions.
Is Social Media Monitoring Ethical?
Social media monitoring tools are only allowed to crawl through data from public accounts and public domains on the internet. This means that the content you see on the tools are publicly available anyway, and the tools would just consolidate data on its platform. These tools should not be accessing data on private social media accounts such as protected tweets and direct messages on Twitter, private pages and messenger on Facebook, and so on.
Furthermore, with laws such as the GDPR that ensure an individual’s privacy is respected, social media listening solutions need to ensure their technologies adhere to these laws.
For example, pursuant to the GDPR, Digimind only indexes data that are voluntarily posted on the Internet with a public status, which has been prone to expressed consent regarding the use by third parties. In other words, Digimind never collects information which has a private status and is not accessible to profiles or pages online and social networks, if the access has been restricted by the user.
Which Tool Should You Select?
With so many social media monitoring tools available now, you may not know which tool works best for your brand or where to begin. Here are some steps to help you pick the right tool for your brand:
- Determine your project objectives (monitor reputation, identify influencers, etc.)
- Establish budget
- Determine the resources you have (time, manpower, etc.)
- Determine the support you need (onboarding, training, monthly reports etc.)
When you have these answers, start researching on the various tools in the market to determine which one best meets your needs.