Can you hear me now?
If you’re a social media marketer, the answer should be a resounding “yes.” Social media monitoring—listening to what users are saying about your business and the issues that affect it on social media—is an important marketing practice that provides invaluable insights for your organization. Through monitoring both your business and topics relevant to your industry, you gain access to information that can help you not only reflect on past decisions, but determine the future course of your strategy.
However, trying to establish a streamlined social media listening approach can sometimes feel like a game of I spy where you haven’t been told the rules. You could spend countless hours searching for any and all relevant terms online trying to gather some sort of information, only to realize that you weren’t on the right track at all.
If you don’t know where to start with your social media monitoring strategy, we’ve compiled the following list of terms, keywords, and topics that will help you gain valuable insights and avoid wasting time.
Why should you engage in social media monitoring?
Before getting into the search terms, it’s important that you know why it’s valuable to practice social media listening. There are three main purposes of social media listening, as follows:
- Acquiring Customer Knowledge
- Gaining A Competitive Advantage
- Monitoring Business Influencers
As with most things in life, it helps to have an arsenal of tools to streamline the process. To help you listen better, we’ve outlined nine effective social media monitoring tools. With these main purposes and the tools to make social media monitoring easier in mind, the following are top areas to concentrate on.
1. Company name
An obvious place to start with your social media monitoring practice is to regularly keep track of where your company’s name is being mentioned online. Remember that not everybody knows your company as well as you, so include misspellings of your company name in your monitoring efforts.
Pay attention to the positive sentiments to see what people love about your brand, but pay even closer attention to the negative sentiments being shared. These give you a huge opportunity to fix what’s potentially broken, and show that you are a brand who is listening to what your customers and audience members want.
2. Product brands
If your company is one that includes many sub-brands in its family of products or services, it’s a good idea to also monitor all of these. For example, Doritos are a brand under Frito-Lay, which is a subsidiary of PepsiCo. PepsiCo likely monitors what people on social are saying about Doritos as well as Frito-Lay. Are there certain brands within your organization that your customers like more? Why? Usually some social media listening will provide you with much of this information.
After monitoring your own brand, this should be the next area you concentrate on. Nothing will give you more insight into how your company is stacking up within the industry than by seeing what your competition is up to. One way to do this is to create a private Twitter list of any brands you consider competitors. It’s smart to listen to “official accounts of competitor businesses, key people in other companies, and industry watchdogs. These may be people you’re already following—putting them in a private list makes it easier to separate their messages from the rest of your network.”
4. Customer service
Customer service should undoubtedly be a part of your social monitoring efforts. When you are searching for and listening to social media conversations surrounding your brand, make sure you’re paying attention to customer requests, questions, and concerns. Set up alerts on your chosen social media monitoring tool, and respond to any inquiries as soon as possible. Tools like Hootsuite, Twitter’s Advanced Search, and Google Alerts will make this process as easy and organized as possible.
Whether your business is just starting out or is a well-established international organization, there are always others to look up to. Find top influencers who are relevant to your business, or even your geographic location, and pay attention to the conversations they are having. What topics are they mentioning? Who are they Retweeting or mentioning in their comments? Listen to what the top influencers in your industry are talking about, and you will find opportunities to engage in conversation with them and, possibly, their audiences.
As one of the most public faces of your brand, it’s recommended that you monitor sentiment surrounding your company’s CEO. If anyone on social media is talking about this person, it’s probably a good idea to keep track of this. This is especially important if your CEO is often mentioned in the news or interviewed at public events. As a big piece of your brand’s public perception, it’s important to use social media monitoring to gather information surrounding your CEO.
7. Media spokesperson
As another key contributor to your brand’s public perception, keep tabs on social media conversations surrounding your designated media spokesperson. This could be the CEO of your company or a PR spokesperson, but it is essential to monitor sentiment around whoever is the face of your brand. Are their appearances and statements generally well-received? What do people find irritating or alienating about them? Information gathered through social listening will provide you with this insight.
By keeping an eye on what is going on in your industry, you are able to keep track of past trends as well as use this information to predict future ones. While paying attention to relevant influencers is important, listening to what customers in your market are talking about and what their pain points are is also highly important. You can then track what users of not only your own product, but others in the industry, are looking for in a product or service. This will also allow you to see what topics or themes get the most engagement, which gives you the opportunity to tailor your content accordingly.
Through monitoring social media for these terms and topics, you will gain incredibly valuable insights that will help you grow not only your strategy, but your brand and business overall.