Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why Bother Monitoring Social Media?


Even if you or your clients have "decided" not to actively participate in social media,it’s really not a choice. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does social media. Either you can fill the vacuum with your perspective, or your customers and competitors will fill it for you. The choice is clear.
Monitoring helps with branding and marketing and can help identify quality control or customer care problems that may have gone unnoticed.
Monitoring is only one piece of the puzzle, however. It’s important to find out who is saying what, and where the conversation is happening so you can respond appropriately.

Terminology

There are few terms you’ll need to be familiar with before we talk about the tools, so let’s take a moment to cover them before we jump into the details.

Influence

If you find there are customers who have a strong opinion of your brand, it’s important to understand the influence of those customers.
  • How many followers do they have?
  • Do they get retweets?
  • How many external links point to their blog?
  • How many comments do their blog posts attract?
Several of the free tools listed below include this measurement to assist in your monitoring and response efforts. All of the paid options include it.

Sentiment

Are the comments positive or negative? Most current tools attempt to assign sentiment to a post automatically. While this is helpful for brands with tons of mentions, it’s only about 70% accurate in most cases[1], so manual verification and spot-checking is encouraged across the board before making any decisions based on influence data.

Volume

This is simply the amount of "buzz" that exists. Many monitoring tools give the ability to chart volume for specific keywords over time. This gives you a great way to measure the impact of your marketing efforts and social media campaigns, especially when combined with sentiment. A lot can be learned about your brand and your customers by investigating spikes in social media volumes.

Workflow

Workflow is the process of assigning, tracking and responding to social media, typically in a team environment. An effective workflow can prevent double responses and missed opportunities.

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