By now you should know that social media is absolutely vital for a modern business. While that might be common knowledge, few people actually know what it really means. Obviously, social media is important, but how does one use it effectively?
The answer to that is simple. The business provides relevant content that fits in with current trends and the interests of its audience. But while you might think you know what your audience wants and what they’re talking about regularly on these popular platforms, you won’t truly know for sure unless you’re keeping your finger on the pulse of the social media universe.
That’s where social media monitoring comes in. As the name suggests, it’s a process that uses advanced tech to monitor the social media buzz around both your business and your industry. This gives you an incredible look into the minds of your prospects and can inform your social media strategy going forward and improve your PR efforts exponentially.
But how does one actually use social media monitoring? What are the top tips, tricks, and best practices for getting the most out of this marketing tactic?
That’s what we’re going to be covering in this article.
What is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring, also known as social listening, is the process of learning about the interests and opinions of customers by pulling data from social media pages. This includes keyword searches related to your industry and specific brand, hashtag searches, comments, likes, dislikes, and more.
Social media monitoring is an effective way to gain insight into customers’ needs, opinions, and preferences. By monitoring social media channels, brands can understand their customers’ behaviors, interests, and pain points, allowing them to tailor marketing strategies and products to meet the customers’ needs.
Being active on social media accounts and engaging with customers is crucial for building a strong online presence. Social media platforms provide a direct line of communication between brands and their customers, allowing businesses to respond to feedback, share news and updates, and showcase their products and services.
LeatherCult is a great example of an active brand on social media. The company posts daily on its Facebook account, adding to its stories while regularly engaging with followers.
It does this by quickly responding to comments and messages. By being active on social media, LeatherCult has built a loyal following and created a strong online presence that reflects its brand values and aesthetic. By monitoring social media and learning more about its audience, LeatherCult has amassed more than 13,000 followers on Facebook.
Choose the right SMM tools
The first thing you need to do before starting on your social media marketing journey is gather the right tools. This will provide easy access to the data you need without having to sit in front of a computer for hours on end, compiling it yourself.
Your SMM tool should be able to gauge:
- Your social sentiment: The general mood of conversation around your brand.
- The social share of voice: This is the percentage of the conversation in your industry pertaining to you as opposed to your competitors.
- Trends: What the audience is actually talking about
- Relevant keywords and hashtags: What hashtags are Instagram users listing on stories about your industry? Which keywords are popping up the most?
Understanding your audience is key to running social media campaigns that target your ideal audience. A social media management tool will make this job easier, as you can integrate your social media pages for better organization, planning, and scheduling of publications.
Look for tools that can offer easy-to-understand data visualizations. Your tools should be able to track your mentions, sentiment, and keywords in multiple languages across every major social platform.
When searching for the right social media monitoring tools for your business, it must have access to the data source you need for your specific industry. International retailers might benefit from pulling data from multiple channels. But if you’re, for example, a local Norfolk florist, you might get more useful data from local sources or specific social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.
Monitor “spikes” for sentiment analysis
When monitoring your brand mentions on social media, you can learn a lot by looking for specific spikes. If you notice a certain spike in mentions or comments, you’ll want to understand what happened and whether the remarks were positive or negative.
The image above, taken from the Netbase Quid platform, shows a spike in positive mentions for a brand in early January. Once the company identifies this sudden rush of attention, it can determine what happened and try to duplicate those results. Perhaps a popular influencer mentioned your product or a post you made went viral.
By understanding this sentiment boost, you can then take action. In the examples above, this could mean contacting that influencer to see if they want to become a brand ambassador or creating more content that aligns with what the audience responded so positively to.
Monitor mentions and respond when appropriate
You need to monitor your mentions on social media closely, but it doesn’t end there. You also need to respond to mentions where appropriate.
Responding to positive mentions is easy. You can simply thank the user for their kind words and bask in their attention. But you still need to respond to negative reviews as well. Social monitoring will help you identify negative reviews and get ahead of them before they have a chance to snowball. The image below is a perfect example of how to respond to negative posts.
Responding publicly to the upset customer or prospect can sometimes smooth the situation over and save the sale. What’s more, other prospective customers can see your response, cementing in their minds your commitment to excellent service.
Keep an eye on brand-adjacent terms
Social media monitoring is about more than just looking for customers who are mentioning your brand by name.
With social media monitoring, you can track specific keywords related to your business. So, for example, if your company specializes in jewelry insurance, you can monitor keywords like “engagement ring insurance” and get important data and insights from it. This could include metrics of engagement, volume, and reach.
This gives you a window into how the audience discusses services like yours, identifying pain points and perspectives you hadn’t thought of before. You can also determine who the major players in the industry are on social media by performing a sentiment analysis. If you’re not getting mentioned in relation to these terms, who is?
Once you identify who the social media movers and shakers are in your industry, you can monitor their mentions and customer interactions using your SMM tool.
What are they doing right? Are they working with influencers? Posting more regularly? Boosting more posts? Interacting on a more consistent basis?
Your social media marketing strategy should note whatever they do that resonates with the audience. See if there’s a way that you can apply what they’re doing to your plans (without blatantly ripping them off).
To become king of the social media mountain, you must first discover how the current king took their throne.
Forge relationships with influencers
Social media presence is a must if you’re looking to build your brand recognition. One of the best ways to do this is by enlisting the aid of social media influencers.
Suppose you run a cleaning business that sells car cleaning products like steering wheel cleaner, interior cleaner, leather cleaner, and tire shine. In that case, one effective strategy would be to partner with young automotive influencers on Instagram. Get them to try your products and share their opinions with followers. This could bring you a lot of attention because the recommendation comes from a trusted source.
By monitoring social media conversations in your industry, you can identify the big influencers and reach out to them directly.
Use this information to create compelling content
Providing social media monitoring data and insights to your content creators is a collaborative effort that guarantees all your content hits the target.
The better the content, the more interaction it receives. If done correctly, your blogs and video content can present the information your prospective customers need in a way that’s easy to understand and access. But social media monitoring data can only tell you what you should be writing about. You still need to develop quality content that encompasses all relevant mediums. Consider using content tools like a grammar checker, video editing tools, and a text-to-speech generator to ensure your content is of the highest quality.
Listening to your prospects and customers in places where they can openly express themselves (such as social media, websites, blogs, and forums) will provide you with unique insights into what matters to them.
Any aches, pains, or frustrations we experience typically find their way onto social media. That’s why social listening is so important. It can be a great way to determine what people like, want, and need from a business like yours.
When it comes to PR, you need to understand the conversation that’s going on around your brand. Social media monitoring allows you to gauge the audience’s general mood and alert you to any potential PR issues that need immediate attention.