Guest post by Brian Chappell
Social media monitoring often gets lumped into very traditional departments inside organizations, and when this happens, certain aspects of the practice can be overlooked. There are many features of social media monitoring beyond its ability to help manage your brand's reputation via customer service. When brands come to Ignite asking for help with 'social media monitoring', we think holistically with the understanding that the practice helps service many different channels inside of their brand (not just customer service).
The four cornerstones of social media monitoring are (1) Competitive Analysis, (2) Product Development, (3) Reputation Management and (4) Outreach.
Social monitoring can be an extremely effective way to keep tabs on your competitors. In fact, depending how thorough of a job you do, you can effectively use social media monitoring to legally spy on your competitors. The kind of information that can be unveiled can be worth its weight in gold. So long are the days of wondering exactly what your big brand competitors are doing. The only social efforts that are even remotely hidden are some interactions on Facebook. Other than that, most things are free game, and can be effectively monitored. It is not difficult to unearth specific strategies and tactics your competitors might be launching in the social sphere.
Another area regarding competitive analysis that should be thought through is the metrics obtained from your competitors' overall brand health. Now that you are able to identify specific campaigns they are running, you should be able to assess the overall reaction of a campaign via sentiment analysis comparisons.
In the past when a company needed to conceive new ideas for products they would research what their target market wanted via focus groups and other outside research agencies who would mine traditional media clippings. Granted those are still effective practices; however, now that users share anything and everything online, companies have the ability to tap into a vast wealth of knowledge from their customers. There is huge potential for brands to effectively use social media monitoring to help supplement the product development process.
When fellow social media practitioners discuss social media monitoring it is generally in regards to customer service and reputation management. When companies setup a process for monitoring it generally involves an employee(s) reading posts/tweets/videos/images and deciding whether or not they deserve a response. When companies make the decision to spend budget on a social monitoring plan this is typically what it gets ticketed as, a means to monitor and react to customers.
Unfortunately, as I have noted, there is much more to monitoring a brand and reacting to customers than the customer service angle. Simply sticking the oversight of your monitoring plan with the brand manager or lead customer service representative typically means many of the additional benefits of social media monitoring get kicked under the rug. If you must go this route make sure those in charge of the plan are educated on the real ramifications and make sure they have the means to share information with other channels quickly and efficiently.
The benefits of running targeted blogger outreach campaigns via social media monitoring insights can be quite significant. If you are skeptical, listen up. Monitoring really is a means for discovering your passionate customers. Utilizing those fans and turning them into fanatics can have a huge impact. What you do with those individuals discussing your brand is up to you; however, here are a few things you can do to help market your products:
- Send a blogger who mentioned your product free product
- Bloggers who discuss your brand consistently can be asked to join a bloggers club
- Customers who mentioned your site without directly linking to it can be asked to link to the site with custom anchor text
As you can see, a holistic monitoring process really crosses over many different segments of a business. Simply sticking monitoring in the customer service department and calling it a day is a huge mistake. Work towards developing the structure and efficiency that is required to effectively orchestrate a well oiled social media monitoring process inside of your organization.
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