Why you need to use social media monitoring (Part One)

By Liam Foy

Many brands use social media as just another channel to make noise about their marketing campaigns, news releases and prospective clients. Then they give up because no one seems to care about what they have got to say. Well to a point they’re right, no-one does care about your brands current marketing campaign. Why not try and create engaging content instead? In the mean time you should probably be listening to what people are saying about your brand. Through using social media monitoring tools, such as Brandwatch, this can be achieved what you now need to do is…

1. Gauge Sentiment

The first thing every company wants to know about social media is what people are saying about them. Gauging the health of your brand online provides business intelligence that you might not be able to ascertain from other sources. Do people love your brand? Do they hate your customer service? Is your new product a success or do they prefer the older model?

Your brand isn’t just what you say it is, it is the sum of everything everybody else is say about it. On social it can be hard to keep up with conversations about your brand so what you need to do is develop a group of keywords and phrases that would be associated with your brand. What we would recommend is:

  • Company Name
  • Products
  • Services
  • Campaign Names
  • Nicknames, abbreviations, and misspellings
Now get monitoring!

2. Recognise Customer Service Opportunities

Social media has tipped the balance of power from the brand to the customer. No long do we have to sit on the phone for an hour listening to cheesy hold music wondering when someone will actually listen to what we’ve got to say. Customers now broadcast their complaints on Facebook or Twitter, I know I have done a couple of times and I expect the brand to listen to what I’ve got to say and then reply in a timely and useful manner. Through careful listening of your customers and the community, you can easily catch customer service issues as they emerge, even on fast-moving sites i.e. Twitter.

The best way to probably catch most of the conversations is described in the above section (Gauge Sentiment). What you do need to think about it whether the author of the comment is an actual disgruntled customer or if they could be an employee of a competitor and are just bad mouthing your company for the sake of it or even a rogue employee.

3. Crisis Management

Crisis management is one of the hardest things to predict but when something does go wrong you need to be ready to handle the problems. If there is animosity towards your brand already you should know what words are usually used but if you aren’t used to it this could be tricky for you.

What you need to consider first is how many negative comments have there been? If there is a handful keep an eye on these conversations to make sure they don’t escalate to 100s or even 1000s. If you suddenly see a huge increase in people badmouthing your brand, then say “hello” to a crisis.

Before you delve straight into conversations consider where these conversations are taking place is it Facebook, Twitter or in forums. What you should try and do is work out who are your influencers and attempt to sway their opinion, as most people listen to influential people. Monitoring social media channels can shut down many crises before they get off the ground.

During a crisis, monitor relevant conversations. What volume of conversations are you dealing with? 10, 100, 1000? What type people are negatively commenting about your brand? Which sites are the most critical of your brand? If you see that you’ve got 1,000 negative comments on your Facebook wall it gives you the potential to respond quickly with a status update but remember these people are disgruntled, make sure to respond in a sensitive manner.

Even if it appears that your crisis has been averted don’t stop listening! You need to be aware of any un-resolved issues and lingering frustrations that need to be fixed. You may think that it is fine to just listen to see if there are any more angry customers but it’s easier to ask them, they’re there for a reason, see if everything has been rectified.

In the days after your crisis you need to monitor sentiment and compare what it is before the crisis, during the crisis, and after the crisis. Has everything gone back to normal? If not you need to think about why.


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This post was written by Liam Foy

As a Senior Engagement Manager, Liam co-ordinates with our clients to develop strategy, build brand awareness, manage communities and implement social media campaigns to a high specification.