Social Media monitoring is a booming business nowadays. There are so many platforms and pieces of software available to small businesses as well as government and large corporate. Prices range from $5 per user per month, up to $2000!!
Many confuse Engagement platforms with Monitoring platforms, and services. In the following paragraph I’ll shed some light on Social Media Monitoring for the enterprise. This is quite a simplified view – you are more than welcome to add your comments and views below:
Why – There are many reasons to monitor social media conversations. Since there are already active conversations happening on Social Channels, it is important for the corporation to monitor these conversations. It is not necessary to participate in every conversation, however it is important to monitor what is being said & by whom.
In general, listening to social media conversation can be used to identify sales opportunities, customer sentiment toward your brands, products, services and staff, identify influencers, and monitor the competition.
What – So we have established the need to monitor social media, but what should we monitor? Social media seems infinite, so where should we start?
It’s absolutely paramount that we monitor what people say about us, as a company, our products and services, our staff (key executives] and our competitors (products , services, and key staff). Monitoring the competition is important for benchmarking, and measuring ongoing position in the marketplace, amongst other KPI’s.
It is also advisable to monitor what our own people are saying. Our own staff are talking using social channels already. It may appear as if I’m advocating “Big Brother” like behaviour, but there is tremendous value in our own people’s opinions and views. Especially if an Enterprise Social Network is implemented.
How – There are two options, when it comes to monitoring of social media. You have the option of buying a licence of one of the leading (or specific) social media monitoring tools, such as Radian6 or Sysomos (there are two many to list here, but these two are currently the leaders in the monitoring space). This option comes not only with the financial commitment to buying the licences, but also you’d need the staff to do the ongoing monitoring, analysis and reporting.
The other option, is to use Social BI providers, who will monitor analyse and report to you as per your instructions. These service providers is likely to have an agency account with the above-mentioned market leading software providers, and a team of Business Analysts to make sense of the data, and create meaningful insights to your business.
When – As long as the internet is in operation. The internet never sleeps, so your monitoring and listening strategy should take this into account.
Who – There are two parts to this:
Part 1 – Who should you listen to – Consumers by demographic and behaviour; Competitors; Influencers; Brand Advocates; ex-customers; Employees; Suppliers; Associations; Publications and journalists (relating to the industry), and anyone else who can have an impact, or you value their option.
Part 2 – Who should do the listening – Listening professionals:
Mature, experienced and responsible community mangers, who are able to respond in real time should the need arise. These community managers are awarded the key and trusted with the most delicate business treasure – the brand. They should be selected as such.
Experienced Business Analysts (employees or service providers), who are dedicated to monitor the variety of channels and platforms, providing quantative as well as qualitative insights and recommendations. These people and their contribution can save or sink a company, based on their analysis.
In conclusion, social media monitoring is a complex business, which needs to have a concise strategy, a clear action plan, and dedicated resources. It isn’t enough just to decide on some of the W’s above. You need them ALL.