This article has been contributed by Jess O’Reilly, guest blogger for Give Me Marketing, an expert in the field of Social Media Monitoring.
I was recently at a dinner party with a new group of friends. As a way of welcoming me to the group, the host asked the standard dinner party question “… So Jess, what do you do for a living?” I loved that my reply, “I work in social media,” ended up hijacking the evening’s dinner debate as every person decided they had an opinion on how companies were using social media. One shared horror stories of Facebook (FB) posts their receptionist had accidentally posted on her ‘sick day’, but another area that got a lot of time in the spotlight was why businesses would want to monitor conversations about their company online. Some didn’t even realise it was possible, let alone how Social Media Monitoring works.
14 Reasons Why You Should Start Social Media Monitoring
So to those at the dinner party and any others who can benefit from this information, I have put together a checklist that will help you justify why you should be monitoring conversations about your company online- in fact 14 reasons why you need to:
1. To help you monitor competition
This is especially relevant if you work for an organisation that is behind their competitors in social media adoption. Don’t do anything until you have learned from the mistakes and successes of your competition.
2. To learn what people say about your brand and where they say it
How could you write a social media strategy without listening to what people are already saying about your organisation, brand(s) or service(s)? I recently had a client in the automotive industry develop a strategy around a new FB page for a new car launch. A week before the strategy was to launch, the client started monitoring and realised a large community had gotten hold of ‘leaked’ footage of the new car and was already spreading the message.
3. To understand the trends in your industry, not just your brand and competitors
Tracking terms related to your industry is a great method for keeping up with trends. You can be the first to hear of new innovations in your industry, learn about companies winning awards and thought leaders posting new content. One of my clients is in the healthcare space and they track terms around HIV (they sell a product for people with HIV), so they know when any new whitepapers, events or communities created around the subject area are presented.
4. To manage any crisis that may arise
A crisis will always occur when you least expect it, and unfortunately when you are unprepared. In some cases a crisis might start online and be picked up by journalists who spread the message virally. By monitoring your social media you can keep up-to-date with conversations occurring online in real-time, giving your teams the ability to address false accusations quickly or prepare a response to the issue promptly. Working with a few clients in the resources sector, this has been vital in keeping close to what action groups are discussing around the company’s projects, and when and what protests might occur.
5. To visualise the effect events have on social media
If you are a business that runs events, large or small scale monitoring is a great way of understanding pre, during and post feedback related to your event. Even though the event happens offline how many people discuss this online? Geographically how far does the message spread? In the case of the Sydney Festival– do people speak about the event only in Sydney or did the event draw international attention? It can also be a useful way of providing feedback to event sponsors – did people mention their sponsorship of the event? How much attention did the event draw, etc?
6. To discover influencers
“Influencers” is becoming a cliché word in the social media space as more and more businesses try to discover the influencer online that will make their product go viral or send millions of followers to their twitter account. Rather than just looking for this silver bullet that is hard to find or non-existent in a lot of industries, I try to encourage organisations to use monitoring to track the active people online that discuss your brand and initiatives.
7. To reach prospects who are discussing buying options in your category
Recently I was in the market for private health insurance, so I decided to test the industry and find out who would provide me with information online. I tweeted, “I am looking for private health insurance – anyone got suggestions on the best provider?” I had 13 people come back to me from my network with great suggestions and only one provider (whom I ended up signing up with). In a climate where customer acquisition is vital, don’t leave opportunities for your competition to grab a customer that you could have had.
8. To spot trends
Have you ever wondered where Kodak would be if they had come up with Instagram? Businesses can’t afford to put their heads in the sand anymore and social media monitoring is a great way of keeping your finger on the pulse around your industry and competition, particularly around industry research papers and thought leaders.
9. To answer audience questions
Most organisations are rich in information. Having some of the smartest in their field as employees, there is so much information within the organisation that could be shared externally to raise the profile of the organisation. If you were a health and fitness organisation why wouldn’t you monitor conversations in forums around healthy eating and get some of your top nutritionists involved in the conversations? This would be a great way of displaying your credibility leaving the consumers wanting to find out more.
10. To solve customer problems
I recently had a client in the telecommunications space who was monitoring for their brand and competitors. They proactively answered their customers’ complaints online by using links to answers on their websites or took the conversation offline for a resolution. Within 3 months, their online sentiment had moved from 63% to 76% positivity. This in itself is a great example, but this client took it one step further by helping a customer of one of their competitors who had an issue with one of their connections from their provider. The conversations went back and forth online and within the hour the customer service consultant had not only fixed their issue, but won the customer over to their service.
11. To share positive feedback
I am constantly encouraging my clients to stop looking at monitoring as a way of seeing all the negative things online about their brand, but rather identifying all the great things the company is doing and using these mentions as opportunities to brag about how good your business is at customer service or how great your product achieves its purpose.
12. To understand the nuances across different sources and different audiences online
So often Twitter and Facebook are seen as the ‘must-haves’ in the social media environment without any consideration behind whether the target audience is even partaking in conversation on these mediums. Monitoring is a great way of identifying where consumers have found each other online and created their own community around your product, service or industry. Why create a space for consumers to go when they are already somewhere else discussing the information they are interested in or are looking for? By monitoring social media conversations about your industry, you can go where your customers are. I love that Coca Cola endorsed the fan page that their consumers had set up rather than trying to tell the consumers to go to their official FB page.
13. To keep close to key stakeholders
Keep in mind, it is not just people externally that are speaking about your organisation. Those internally also have the opportunity to discuss your brand, clients or competitors online and sometimes in an appropriate manner. A mining client of mine starting monitoring 4 months ago and found 45% of the conversations monitored were by external stakeholders and of that, 47% of comments were negative posts about the working conditions.
14. To measure marketing campaigns
One of the key aims of a marketing campaign is to bring awareness. Social media has a great way of tracking, in real-time, how the market is reacting to the campaign. Has the campaign caused an increase in conversation? Is it positive conversation? Is the right message getting across?
There you have it- 14 real benefits of engaging in Social Media Monitoring. I would encourage you to use this as checklist to either justify why you need to be monitoring your social media efforts through a Social Media Monitoring system, or to make sure you are using it for all the reasons listed above.
What To Do Next
Your next question might be, ‘so how can I monitor my social media?’ or ‘how does a social media monitoring system work?’ That is a topic for another post, but in the meantime, we would be happy to start a conversation with you to explain how you can start social media monitoring within days.
To learn more about Social Media Monitoring, or for a consultation, contact us.