What is Social Media Monitoring?

Social media monitoring or social listening is the continuous monitoring of the social media activities of competitors, customers, target groups and influencers relevant to the organization. It means that you are always aware of what user-generated content on particular topics related to your brand is circulating on the web. The information can be important for sales and marketing activities and for product development – for instance, in order to identify trends, develop campaigns or protect your reputation.

If negative comments are picked up early, a shitstorm that could damage your reputation can usually be mitigated or even averted. In addition, social media monitoring enables you to keep track of your competitors and initiate a prompt response when necessary.

While social media analysis is performed occasionally or on a one-off basis, monitoring takes place in real time. However, the data gathered during monitoring forms the basis for an analysis.

It’s not just about being there

A company or user profile on a social network can be set up in minutes. However, organizations should not act on the principle of “It’s all about being there” and register for an account on every channel and with every media provider.Instead you should focus on being active only in the channels relevant to your target group.

You can also read our blog entry “Social networks: Curse or blessing for your organization?

Social listening, on the other hand, should cover as many channels as possible. For example, if you focus on the B2B platforms, you might fail to notice that your customers or business partners are posting negative comments about you on private Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Manage your corporate communication via two routes:

Posting

on the platforms relevant to you

Receiving

extended to other platforms

Always be prepared to respond appropriately to received utterances. When criticizing de-escalation is announced. But also a reaction to a praise is welcome by users.

Social media listening – When and where?

what is social listeningThe when question is easy to answer: as soon as possible. Don’t start by actively posting articles in social networks and then thinking about social monitoring later. Tackle both from the word go. Ideally you should start with monitoring in order to identify the platforms on which your target group is active.

Your organization isn’t active in social networks at all? No problem. Your target group is still active. Is it a small group of buyers of a niche product? Even a small number of users can pose a risk if comments go unnoticed and unanswered. Don’t let such arguments deter you from social listening.

The answer to the where question depends on your particular circumstances, topics and target groups.One thing is clear: social listening shouldn’t be dumped wholesale on IT just because particular software is needed for a structured approach. Marketing, PR and communications, and also sales, customer service, product development and market research are the right departments to talk to about monitoring what is going on in social media.

Sales

What are our customers interested in?

Marketing/PR

How does the market respond to our campaigns and press releases?

Customer service

How can we provide the best customer service?

Communications

What are customers and watchers saying about us?

Product development

Can we adapt our products in accordance with customers’ wishes?

Market research

What current trends can our products and service pick up on?

What data protection requirements must I consider when monitoring my social media presence?

Social media monitoring has no data protection implications if only publicly accessible data is collected and analysed.So if a user authors content that is publicly visible, this content can also be analysed.Posts that are intended, for example, only for the user’s friends and are labelled as such cannot be read by the social media monitoring tools permitted in Germany.

When choosing a monitoring tool, make sure that it complies with Section 4 of the German Data Protection Act (BDSG) and can therefore be used in Germany.If in doubt, consult the provider.

The right way to use social media monitoring

Many social media monitoring tools are quick and easy to set up. Some are even free.However, just performing monitoring is not in itself enough.

If you are not to be swamped by the flood of information, the incoming data must be meaningfully structured, for example according to topics, channels or user groups.And you must be clear from the start about how you will respond if “Situation X” occurs.If you come across a major complaint in a social network but are not prepared to respond to it promptly, you have failed to utilize the benefits of the social listening tool.

When responding, timing is crucial

When responding, timing is crucialWhen it comes to social media monitoring, the time at which you become aware of a posting is crucial. If you discover a negative customer review on a social network on a Friday evening, a response on Monday morning may be too late.If every post and every response must undergo a time-consuming authorization process before it is published, you will lose valuable time in averting a possible shitstorm.You should therefore attach importance to lean processes in your social media activities.

Don’t leave your monitoring of social media until it is too late. If a shitstorm has erupted, it can cause irreparable damage.In some cases a shitstorm on social media has developed into a scandal that has spread to traditional media – from online to offline.

A social media monitoring tool may not necessarily prevent the shitstorm but it can help you identify the problem promptly and contain it by responding appropriately.

Finding the right tool

There are a large number of social listening tools on the market. This makes it extremely difficult for users to find the tool that is exactly right for them. Not every software is suitable for every application.

When choosing a tool, some of the points to consider are:

  • What channels can be monitored?
  • What department in the organization will use it?
  • What prior knowledge do users need?
  • How can the information be processed?
  • What are the costs of using the tool?
  • What human resources does use of the tool require?
  • Can positive and negative tonalities in contributions be identified?
  • What filter options are available for restricting results appropriately?
  • How up to date is the data?
  • How accurate is the tonality analysis?

LexisNexis® Social Analytics provides you with a user-friendly social media monitoring tool that can be adapted to your personal needs. Filter options, tonality analysis (also sentiment analysis), email alerts and many other useful functions make your real-time media monitoring efficient.Never miss out on important information again! Take important decisions on the basis of reliable data and keep in close touch with your target groups.