Social Media Monitoring is an Essential New Marketing Function
Your customers and prospects are discussing your company, brand, products and competition right now in social media, with or without you.
They’re engaged in discussions on Facebook or posting reviews on TripAdvisor. They’re posting blog comments and conversing in forums. They’re asking peers for advice about what to buy and reviewing your level of service before making a final decision.
As the social media landscape grows with more ways to communicate, converse and complain, a new industry is growing in parallel; social media mining.
Social media mining is comprised of dozens of free and commercial tools which allow you to search, sort and filter online “chatter” about your brand. Most tools allow you to monitor certain keywords or phrases related to your company, brand or products. For example, what are people saying about “Dining in Portland” and on which social network are they talking the most?
Making sense of all this data and taking action on what you’ve learned is not quite as easy as collecting the data itself.
You need to understand what you’re monitoring and how you’ll monitor.
What online chatter will you monitor?
Watch for feedback about your company, brand, employees, products or services from potential, existing and past customers, employees, partners, vendors and anyone else associated with your business. Go one step further and watch what everyone is saying about your competition.
What kind of chatter are you looking for?
You’re looking for the compliment, an online version of a testimonial or reference.
Gather these and bookmark them with a Deliciou.us account or integrate them in
your website. Potential clients will love to see these.
Watch for complaints. Here’s your chance to nip these problems in the bud and showcase your problem solving skills.
Listen for expressed needs. People are constantly asking peers for tips and advice. Watch for these conversations. They indicate potential areas for business growth.
Be aware of the crowd. You’ll find certain topics draw huge crowds. You can learn
from those discussions.
Identify the influencers. You may find several people with far more activity than others, either positive or negative. Find these people and nurture a relationship with them. Strive to understand and engage the influencer to either resolve a problem or accelerate an opportunity.
How do you monitor all this chatter?
Dozens of social media mining tools are available. All tools share similar features.
“Converage” refers to how many social media platforms the tool can mine. For example, some tools only mind data from Facebook and Twitter, while others also mine blogs, video comments, reviews, forums and Foursquare.
Conversation location refers to where the chatter is taking place or the object of the chatter, like a travel destination.
Sentiment refers to people’s thoughts, views and attitudes. Most tools are unable to effectively measure sentiment. Human review is usually needed.
The free tools work great, but you’re restricted by not being able to compare historical data or look for trends. The commercial tools also work great but there isn’t one tool which will monitor all the networks or present the results to your liking. You may need to use a combination of several tools.
In the end, effective social media mining is more about your ability to interpret online conversations and take measurable action. Make this a part of your overall strategy to promote and improve your brand.