If you aren’t keeping track of what’s being said about you in the social media space, you’re asking for trouble. These days, everyone is on Facebook or Twitter, or they have a blog, or they participate in some sort of online community. And they’re constantly posting their opinions and talking about their experiences dealing with companies (e.g. “The waiter at my restaurant was such a jerk!”). There’s a good chance that people are out there talking about your company, and it’s vital that you have your fingers on the pulse of what’s being said.
With this in mind, here are 7 key tips for effective social media monitoring:
Know your purpose for monitoring — What’s your reason for enacting a social media monitoring effort? Are you wanting to determine how people perceive your brand? Are you hoping to stamp out negative chatter before it turns from a whisper into a roar? Do you want to monitor so you can use social media as a customer service tool? Do you want to monitor the conversation to determine what your audience needs so you can deliver it? All of the above? Knowing your goal will help you stay focused and effective.
Determine where your audience is active — You simply can’t be in all places at all times. You have to figure out where your customers hang out and which channels reach the most people. When you know where these people are, you can monitor these channels and engage when needed.
Identify key phrases to be monitored — The way social media monitoring tools work is that you input key phrases that you want to track (e.g. your company’s name, product’s name, competitors names, industry terms, etc.), and any time these phrases are mentioned, you get notified. So, figure out what you need to monitor. Make sure it aligns with your goals and purpose for monitoring in the first place.
Listen before you speak — Before you try to jump in the conversation, take time to truly observe and listen to what others are saying. You need to understand the conversation and the culture before you can take part in it.
Delegate someone to respond when necessary — Social media is about conversations, so that means someone on your end needs to be interacting with your audience. Delegate someone who understands your brand, knows your key messages, and can be trusted to interact with your target audience in a professional manner.
Leverage the influencers — Who are the influencers in your niche? Who are the people out there who seem really passionate about your brand? Knowing who the influencers and brand evangelists are can be useful in helping you leverage them to help spread the word about your company.
Use the right tools — There are tons of free and paid social media monitoring tools out there, and they’re not all the same. Choosing the right tool is about understanding your goals. For example, if you need a tool that helps you determine consumer opinion about your brand, you’ll need to look for one that offers sentiment analysis.