In a general sense, social media monitoring is easy to wrap your head around. Most people have a basic grasp of how social media works, and how to search for conversations relating to things they’re interested in. Social media monitoring, at least on the surface, is just looking for conversations that relate to your company or brand. If you want great results, however, those surface-level skills aren’t going to be enough. To monitor social media sites at a professional level, you need to look at social media itself in a new way.
In this simple guide, we’ll explain the essential concepts you’ll need to effectively monitor social media sites for your brand, company, and products.
Master the Marketing Jargon
What exactly is “brand sentiment,” and what’s really happening when the numbers next to it go up or down? Why is “audience engagement” important? What’s the relationship between “media mentions” and “unique authors”? Like any industry, social media marketing has a ton of trade-specific jargon to learn, but it’s worth the time investment if you really want to get the best results from your efforts. It also makes it much easier to search help sites and user forums for answers.
Use a Social Media Monitoring Tool
While it’s technically possible to do basic social listening using tools like search engines and the built-in analytics options of the platforms themselves, the results are pretty anemic. Do yourself a favor and skip over the slow and tedious work of collecting this data manually. It you’re going to monitor social media sites, and invest in a proper social media monitoring tool. Not only are these often surprisingly affordable, but they also enable you to do things like real-time brand sentiment tracking, competitor activity research, and marketing keyword analysis without driving yourself crazy in the process.
Learn How Your Social Monitoring Tools Work
If you’ve only experienced social media platforms as a user, expect to be a little overwhelmed when you finally take a look at what’s going on under the hood. The software that powers most social media sites is incredibly complex, tracking and sorting millions of data points every second. Learning how these various details interact, and how those changes impact your brand’s success on social media, takes a little time. Your social monitoring tools should be able to crunch these numbers for you, turning them into charts, graphs, and other forms that tell the story visually.
Know What’s Possible, and What Isn’t
Not all social media platforms allow brands to monitor user discussions in the same way. For instance, Twitter doesn’t put any restrictions on the ways tweets can be monitored. It’s essentially a public forum, and the only conversations a brand can’t track are those happening in DMs. By comparison, it’s much more difficult to even find these same kinds of discussions on Facebook. Those conversations are private by default, and if you want to use Facebook to track things like brand sentiment, you need to actively encourage those discussions to happen on pages that you control.
It Takes Time to See Results
While real-time monitoring is a fantastic feature of social media monitoring tools, the truly deep insights take time. Big trends don’t happen over the course of a few days or weeks, and they often take months — or even years — to become visible. Newer brands and products may not generate a ton of user discussion, and some niche products may have slow-burning forum threads that barely change from day to day. It’s OK to be patient in these situations, even as you do the daily work of building and marketing your brand.
As you can see from this overview, the most important thing you need to monitor social media sites for your brand is a willingness to learn. Your goal shouldn’t be to master any given social media platform, or even a specific monitoring solution. Platforms and technology evolve over time, but the fundamental concepts behind social media monitoring aren’t likely to change anytime soon.
Find out how social listening can help you track the conversations that are important to your business. Get a demonstration today.