Social media has transformed the way businesses engage with their customers. Regardless of what users have to say about a business's products and services, they may turn to social media to express their thoughts and opinions. What if you're not there to hear and respond to their commentary?
Numerous tools are available to help you with social media monitoring. However, if you do not have a social media listening strategy, these tools are pointless. Monitoring social media is a great way to get ahead of your competitors and keep your customers coming back for more. To help you come up with a social media monitoring strategy, we'll discuss the ways to listen in on social media.
What is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring involves keeping track of internet chatter (often beyond just social media) about a given topic, such as your brand, a specific product or another business initiative. Effective social listening is all but impossible without at least one widely trusted social media monitoring tool, a comprehensive social media management strategy and efforts to track information from all possible social channels.
What you should monitor on social media
While there is theoretically no limit to the number and types of things you can track in the larger social media conversation, here are some of the most important metrics to monitor:
- Branded terms and brand mentions: The easiest way to stay attuned to the social media conversation about your business is to track all brand mentions your company receives on social media.
- Customer sentiment: A good social media monitoring tool will paint a picture of not just how often your brand is mentioned but also what people say about it.
- Reviews: Social media monitoring tools can help you keep track of what people are saying about your business on major social media review sites (including your social media profiles on Facebook, Yelp and Google, all of which have native reviews). You should respond to any reviews you deem worth addressing, especially negative reviews.
- Hashtags: Track any hashtags relevant to your business or industry to get a sense of how your target audience perceives your company.
- Competition: Just as people talk about your brand on social channels, your competition is part of the conversation, too. Use social media management tools to discover the ways in which your competitors are having more success than you, and then act on your discoveries.
Social media tools enhance digital marketing efforts
An essential part of any social media strategy is using social media tools to listen to what people are saying about your business or brand. Some of the most popular social media listening tools are Google Analytics, Hootsuite, TweetDeck and Social Mention.
By utilizing these tools, you can find out what your customers want so you know what to provide them. This valuable social data is akin to getting feedback from your audience without actually asking for it; a tweet about your brand can be an unsolicited action point for your company. Think about the possible ways to improve your marketing efforts by tapping into your audience's thoughts.
Social media tools can help you do the following:
- Garner invaluable feedback. Seeing your audience's reaction to your latest marketing campaign, product or announcement will help you to improve your products or services by tailoring them to your customers' needs.
- Humanize your social voice. Social media listening tools allow you to interact easily with your target audience and make you more accessible.
- Negate harmful social buzz. In 2015, a fire caused by a Keurig coffee maker burned down an apartment in Oregon. At first, Keurig merely wanted to present the newly homeless family with a new coffee maker, resulting in cries of indignance across major social media channels. As a result of listening to the audience's reactions, the company paid for fire restoration, and the family was able to regain their home. This example shows the effectiveness of social media listening in reputation management.
Social media tools give your business insight into your competition
You have to know what your competitors are doing in order to overtake them. With so many online tools that allow you to watch your competitors' social media activity, it's natural to feel overwhelmed. The key is to choose a tool based on your intentions, which may include the following:
- To gather intel on your competitors and evaluate their efforts.
- To find new opportunities to beat the competition.
- To set new business goals based on the closest competitors you aim to beat.
Watching your competitors allows you to learn more about their tactics, activity and customer engagement. Doing so could lead you to win over some of their customers.
Improve your marketing efforts by monitoring hashtag trends
When a massive consumer brand releases something new, it tends to trend on social media. For example, on the day Apple unveils a new product, social media analytics often point to a sudden tweet storm of specific trending hashtags related to the product. Apple would naturally monitor these hashtags to discover customers' likes and dislikes.
Here are a few excellent hashtag-tracking tools:
- Talkwalker: This online tool allows marketers to easily measure the impact of hashtags as a variety of social media analytics and metrics (general buzz, engagement, sentiment and potential reach) are generated.
- Hashtagify: This tool lets you gain insight into top influencers and competitors, and presents you with different links between various hashtags.
- RiteTag: With this tool, you can see if the hashtag you're using in your tweets is appropriate and improve your hashtag usage to optimize reach.
Location-based social media monitoring tools
Most marketers fail to leverage location-based social media listening tools. Location-based social data, obtained via solutions such as Geofeedia, can easily help marketers connect with their most important customers and understand what they're saying at specific events.
For example, if a New York-based company wants to listen in on trade shows, parties and events held exclusively in the city, Geofeedia may help the company gain the upper hand in garnering prospects and engaging with the community.
Using social media monitoring tools to improve customer service
When you respond promptly to mentions of your company on social media, you show both potential and existing customers that you have great customer service skills. People love to see brands engaging with customers on social media, whether on your own social media profile or in response to tweets. When customers have something good or bad to say about your brand, they often share those feelings on social media. A 2014 study found that 35% of the participants had asked a brand a question on a social network.
Using social media monitoring tools to find new employees via LinkedIn
Anyone can put up a job ad and receive responses. However, weeding through the applications and interviewing candidates can be pretty tedious. When listening in on LinkedIn, you may come across the ideal employees for your team, enabling you to reach out to them directly with your job offer. LinkedIn allows you to learn more about your future employees because you can look through their recommendations and see what past employers had to say. You can also see their skills and certifications laid out in front of you.
Participating in LinkedIn discussion can be tedious. To counter that, you may utilize tools such as Oktopost, which allows you to listen in on LinkedIn groups and discussions through an intuitive stream.
Social media influencers expand reach
Influencers are a great way to get your name out to your target audience. While listening in on social media, you can identify and connect with the influencers in your niche.
If these influencers like your company, they will have no problem telling their audience about you. Influencers will get you better conversion rates, because their followers are not only looking for your business but also trust that the influencer would only recommend reputable companies.
Tip: One of the easiest ways to find influencers is to take a peek at who your competitors are following on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
How social media monitoring can improve your content marketing strategy
While listening in on social media, you will end up engaging with customers. Many of these conversations will lead to the opportunity for content. As you engage on social networks, you will see what questions your customers have and then provide them with content that answers those questions.
For example, if you see the hashtag #AskaBlogger trending, you could provide your audience with content that came from a blogger and gain views outside of your audience.
Social media monitoring tools
It's easy to be overwhelmed by the vast array of social media monitoring tools. To help you wade through the options, we've compiled a guide of 14 social media monitoring tools and their targeted uses.
- Google Analytics: Through Google Analytics, you can set up a comprehensive social media dashboard and gather social information from all over the web.
- Hootsuite: You can use Hootsuite's dashboard to oversee all of your social media management and marketing while creating a one-stop shop for your brand's social media marketing needs.
- TweetDeck: Through the Twitter-owned social media monitoring and management tool TweetDeck, you can schedule tweets and track a wide variety of brand and hashtag mentions.
- Talkwalker: Talkwalker uses artificial intelligence to provide actionable social media analytics and monitoring.
- Hashtagify: Through Hashtagify, you can identify leading Twitter and Instagram hashtags and influencers.
- RiteTag: RiteTag bases its hashtag recommendations on real-time social media engagement.
- Geofeedia: Geofeedia incorporates location-based analytics into its social media management strategies.
- Snaptrends: Snaptrends is a geo-based social media management tool that turns location-based insights into suggestions for next steps and actions.
- Local Measure: Local Measure is a geo-based social media monitoring tool designed for the hospitality and tourism industries.
- Oktopost: Using this tool, designed for use solely on LinkedIn, you can track LinkedIn groups and discussions without the tedious tasks usually involved in this process.
- Google Alerts: Though not necessarily as obviously useful for social media monitoring as other tools listed here, setting up a Google Alert for your brand name or latest product can turn up an internet mention – social or otherwise – you might miss without the alert. And unlike many other tools, you pay no money to set up a Google Alert.
- Sprout Social: Sprout Social prides itself on closely connecting you with customers praising your brand on social media.
- Social Mention: With this tool, you can monitor social, video, blogs and more. Just enter the search term and the tool pulls up everything that is being said about it. You don’t even have to download anything to utilize this tool.
- Google Keyword Planner: This tool has everything you need, and it's great for both new and existing campaigns. To use Google Keyword Planner, you must have an AdWords account.
Additional reporting by Alesia Hsiao.