The social media revolution created an environment where everyone is always talking. We tweet, post, share, and like where all of our thoughts and activities become public for the world to hear, but is anyone really paying attention? When it comes to social media and businesses, monitoring is the first step to listening and building strong customer relationships, but what does social media monitoring and listening even mean?
What is Social Media Monitoring?
Social media monitoring is the aggregation and analysis of social media data to determine what is being said about a particular brand, issue, person or product. However, successful businesses do not stop there.
What is Social Media Listening?
Social media listening begins when your business uses the data collected in monitoring to engage in valuable customer interactions on social media networks. By observing customer interaction and understanding customer feedback, businesses are able to leverage big data to appropriately respond to their audience. Done correctly, social media listening can result in new customers and solidify loyalty in existing customers.
Why Are They Important?
Acquiring customer feedback is vital for the success of any business. Social media monitoring provides this valuable data, and businesses who listen know exactly how to respond to their customers in a timely fashion. People want to buy from and work with businesses they feel they can trust. By actively engaging in conversations with your target audience and responding to their wants and needs, your brand is humanized and appears trustworthy.
Social media monitoring and listening are important on three different levels. First, your boss is interested in ROI. If you’re already spending the time and manpower being on social media, your interactions must hold value and meaning. Valuable data on what’s trending in your business may illuminate insights on where your business can grow or change to see greater ROI.
Second, listening is important for your social media team that spends hours churning out tweet after tweet. The task can sometimes seem tedious and robotic, but social media listening returns the human aspect to the job and allows for conversations that cannot be scheduled by a computer. Interaction with real-world customers will ignite inspiration in your team and lead to a stronger social media presence across all channels.
The third level is of course, your customers! These customers are flooded with pushes from businesses all day. Selective attention means customers are able to block out nearly all of the information that has no relevance to their life. Businesses who dare to break free from the clutter of robotic chaos and craft intelligent and helpful conversations appear more trustworthy, reliable and worthy of attention.
Capture the Buzz
With all the chatter on social media, it’s a daunting task to begin collecting and analyzing it. Social media monitoring is best practiced when smart goals are set. Be sure that your boss and your team understand why monitoring and listening are important, and even more so, why responsible responses are crucial. Create goals that define what you’re hoping to learn about your audience and their perception of your business. Who is your target audience? What keywords will you be tracking? Setting manageable goals and deadlines will ensure your team members stay on task and do not become overwhelmed by a piling stack of information.
Social media listening means you have gone above simply monitoring what your audience is saying, but that you understand the weight of their words. The golden ticket to social media is the freedom users have in expressing their every thought. Sometimes, this will lead you to overhear strongly negative reviews or comments about your business, but more importantly it will lead you to people with problems to which you hold the solutions. For example, if you work at a furniture business and you notice someone discussing redecorating, you can share blog posts from your site or links to the right furniture for the room mentioned.
It is important to always be thoughtful in your social media observations and respond appropriately and only when necessary. You do not want your customers to feel as if their privacy has been invaded. To avoid the annoyance factor, be sure all responses are directly relevant to the conversation.
There are five key areas to look for when deciphering audience conversations.
- Sentiment: Are conversations about your brand mostly positive or negative?
- Questions/Problems: How can you help?
- Unmet Needs: Are you able to expand your business to meet a new need?
- Target Audience Demographics: What do your customers value?
- Your Competition: How are audiences talking about them?
Deliver Real-Time Insights
What have you learned from your audience? Which areas of your business can you improve? Is there a want or need that you have yet to answer, but do have the ability? These are key questions to answer when it comes to learning from big data. There are always areas in which your company can improve or expand – it may just take a little digging.
One way to quickly learn these answers is to identify influencers in your given market. These individuals can be activists, trendsetters or have a large network of connections. Regardless, they do have sway over your audience’s behavior and purchasing decisions. Hearing positive feedback in regards to your company from these influencers holds merit in customer’s eyes.
Another way to deliver strong insights is paying close attention to your competition. It may be a huge cliche, but there is definite merit in “keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.” In the business world, this means monitoring your competitors as well. Take note of their business techniques and marketing practices and identify their success level and customer feedback. Social media listening of your competitors opens the door for your company to jump on any opportunity to take the positive spotlight when negative buzz surrounds your competitors. Learn from their mistakes and capitalize on them.
Finally, identify which tools and key practices have proven most successful for your company and repeat, repeat, repeat!
Actively employing social media monitoring and listening tactics is a worthwhile engagement for any business. You will collect valuable data for your social media team. You will get to know your customers better and grow a stronger cliental base. Opportunities for your business will be revealed in new and exciting ways and of course, always remember to show your appreciation for customer reviews and comments. Below we have compiled a list of 50 different tools that will aid your team in dominating social media monitoring and listening.
50 Social Media Monitoring & Listening Tools
Adobe Social – Manage social accounts and monitor millions of sites across the social web for trends, opportunities and potential business threats.
Argyle Social – Identify and engage with more prospects, qualify and quantify better leads and build and maintain stronger relationships by linking social media actions to the marketing platforms you’re already using.
Attensity Analyze – Perfect for larger businesses, this tool sets new standards for accuracy, scalability and ease of use, making it possible for large businesses to analyze high volumes of customer conversations.
BlitzMetrics – Benchmark against your competitors, learn which demographics are the most active and track content performance so you can improve your reach and engagement.
Bottlenose – Sonar trend visualization reveals topics, people and emotions affecting your business right now. Identify, anticipate and instigate trends that are driving perceptions of your brand and business.
Brandwatch – This service reads through and summarizes what’s being said on the Web about brands, people and products. Define keywords to track (brands, topics, people names, products) and get access to mentions, trend and campaign analysis and competitive info.
Buddy Media – With 50+ publishing tools for social media, you can run integrated campaigns while also understanding user engagement trends and demographics.
Buzz Capture – With your own dedicated social media analyst assigned, this tool shines through with innovative ideas and new reporting capabilities.
Buzz Equity – On demand social snapshot monitoring and results via dashboard with automated sentiment analysis and scoring.
Crimson Hexagon – Understand how the most engaged consumers think and feel about your brand, why consumers are choosing other brands over yours and how your ads/marketing are really perceived by your audience.
Curalate – This tool applies advanced image analytics to give you detailed insights for your initiatives on Instagram and Pinterest.
Custom Scoop – All-in-one news and social media monitoring.
Ebiquity Sonar – Real-time global online media and social media analysis and Earned Media Insight reports available for a fixed price.
Engagor – Monitor and engage your customers with powerful analytics and reporting in your pocket.
ExactTarget Marketing Cloud – Go beyond social and track real-time conversations about your brand on blogs, forums, wikis and microblogs.
Facebook Insights – Facebook’s built-in tool provides Facebook Page owners with metrics around their content helping you to understand and analyze trends within user growth and demographics.
Google Alerts – Get email updates of the latest relevant Google results (Web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
Gorkana – Real-time social media monitoring and analysis of the most relevant conversations about your brand.
HootSuite – Manage multiple social networks from one dashboard. Identify your audience and track brand mentions.
Klout – Target the influencers in your audience and empower them to become advocates for your brand.
MarketMeSuite – Organize and manage across social networks and use geo-targeting to locate customers in a specific area.
MediaMiser – Access and analyze content about your brand from social, traditional and digital media in one tool.
MediaVantage – Align your messaging and measure results with this database of traditional media coverage and social media activity.
Meltwater – Create targeted marketing campaigns and build brand relationships with a stronger social community.
Mention – An app that delivers real-time alerts for your company, keywords, brand and competitors.
NetBase – Monitor, understand, react and engage on both owned and earned channels with timely data.
Netvibes – Track clients, customers, competitors and your reputation across media sources.
Nuvi – Instantly see conversations taking place in your market that weight influence and sentiment.
Oracle Social Cloud – The most complete social relationship monitoring solution on the market.
Radian6 – For real business results, this tool identifies and analyzes conversations about your company, products and competitors allowing you to gain valuable insight into what your customers want the most.
SDL SM2 – With a fully customizable dashboard delivering analytics on brand reference, content tone and content emotion, SM2 allows you to easily capture and analyze data from social media channels to drive more informed business decisions.
Shoutlet – Measure success from brand awareness and customer care. Gather customer affinity data to optimize marketing in all channels.
Simplify360 – Never miss out on any conversations relevant to your brand. The most comprehensive dashboard displays keywords being tracked, audience demographics and trend snapshots.
SnapTrends – A location based social media listening tool, SnapTrends collects more social media data in a given area than all other social listening systems.
Social Mention – Real-time social media search tool aggregates user-generated content across platforms and delivers sentiment and reach analytics.
SoDash – Big data is only as powerful as your ability to manage and interpret it. Excel with this tool to achieve marketing and customer-service objectives in a more efficient and effective way.
Source Metrics – Measure your social media influence on 75 social media metrics.
Sprout Social – Monitor all sources where consumers are engaging with businesses and brands and gain competitive insight and lead generation.
Synthesio Inc. – Cutting-edge global listening technologies coupled with expertise to help brands deploy international projects with top quality data and insights.
Sysomos – Detailed metrics and intuitive graphics glean insight on real-time relevant conversations.
Tailwind – Measure your overall Pinterest influence in an emerging, untapped market.
TalkWalker – Monitor social media, analyze sentiment and influence ranking and engage with top influencers that impact brand reputation.
TweetDeck – Tweet, track mentions, people and keywords.
Topsy – Content and trends are analyzed, indexed and ranked across social networks, websites and blogs.
Trackur – Quickly monitor your online reputation and analyze social media trends and mentions.
Twitalyzer – Everything Twitter! Access metrics to analyze followers, mentions, retweets, influencers and locations. Also compare your Twitter to your competitors.
UberVU – Instant brand insights allow instant opportunities for audience engagement.
Visible – Drive value with social engagement and act on real-time insights for big brand impact.
Vocus – Cloud marketing and analytics looks at social, search, email and PR to deliver real-time marketing opportunities on leads, prospects, social media conversations and inbound media.
If you want to learn more about social media or if you have other social media monitoring and listening tools that we might have missed, feel free leave them in the comments below.