Listening to what is said about your brand on the Internet is a fundamental step in any social media strategy. If you want to know your audience and get the most out of social networks you should start monitoring them.
Online marketing is based on actions and reactions. Listening to the audience and responding to their needs is the key to success. With proper and well-planned monitoring you'll be able to obtain data that will help you create relevant content, monitor trends in the industry, analyze whether the actions you take are effective, and finally improve the strategy.
However, finding information that interests you in the social media universe can be a big challenge. Here are the steps you should take to avoid getting lost in the process.
1: Set the goals.
Before you start monitoring the networks you need to ask yourself what you really need to know. Define specific objectives: what data you want to find, what platforms you want to study, why you are interested in them and what value will they have for your business.
You can focus on analyzing conversations about your brand or opinions that appear online, observe the actions of competitors, identify new trends in the industry, analyze the performance of campaigns or detect a potential crisis. You are not going to measure everything the same way, you have to establish a personalized search strategy for each objective. To find data about your business you can guide the monitoring in searches by brand name, its possible variations and errors, or with hashtags and campaign slogans. To observe the competition and identify trends you should focus on the keywords or hashtags frequently used in the industry. The key is to test and improve, as there is no universal formula.
2: Choose the tools
When you know what data you want to find, it's time to choose how to measure it. Choose a monitoring tool to make the task easier. There is a great variety of programs on the market, from the free and simple ones to the more complex and expensive. Establish how much you are willing to spend, analyze the options available and choose the one that best fits your budget and can meet your needs.
If you don't know where to start, here are three tools that can fit different budgets and goals:
Brandwatch: is a rather expensive tool and one of the most complex options on the market. Brandwatch offers products not only to monitor millions of conversations across the web. With HelioSight, its program for rapid analysis of social networks, you can get personalized insights in real time on your sector, brand, campaigns, competition, and so on. All data can be exported as visual reports.
Hootsuite: one of the most popular social media monitoring tools. Allows you to oversee conversations about a brand easily and in an organized way: you can create custom columns that monitor the data chosen, filter them by keywords or geographical locations. If you work with a team, Hootsuite also offers a system for response approval and assignment of tasks to different members.
Alto Data Analytics: this real-time big data payment analysis tool features a human factor. It puts at the customer's service a team of data analysts and linguists who manually study the conversations that appear on different social networks around a brand. Their objective is to reduce the gap between users and the information they are looking for, which is why they facilitate the understanding of each piece of data by offering insights personalized by experts.
3: Find the insights.
The data found in the networks will have no relevance if you do not interpret it in the context of your business. You must analyze them in detail and look for opportunities for the future. To begin with, you can focus on some of these results:
- Feedbacks and opinions: users are the best source of information about any business and the products and services you offer. With monitoring you can see if they speak well or badly of your brand, as insights are part of real conversations of customers. Being aware of your reputation helps you find the elements you need to improve.
- Questions: Pay attention to recurring questions you receive about specific topics related to your business or industry. Join the conversation, react in real time, and interact with the audience to build trust. Take advantage of opportunities to get inspired and create valuable content that clarifies doubts.
- Pain points: conversations generated on the Internet are not under your control but are very important to online reputation. Thanks to monitoring you can identify moments of crisis before they explode. If you perceive that many customers have similar problems or complaints about the same issue, you can resolve the issue before it is too late.
- Trends: monitoring popular topics gives you the opportunity to create marketing actions in real time before your competition takes advantage. Being aware of market trends can inspire you and help you deliver useful and relevant content to your audience.
- Influencers and brand advocates: listen to conversations to find the most important voices and know who to contact to carry out different marketing actions. With monitoring you can discover the brand advocates that support you through word of mouth and the influencers that fit your business.
As you can see, there are multiple tools and different approaches that can be applied when creating a social network monitoring strategy. Having clear objectives, metrics and tools is the basis, but you should not forget to spend time optimizing the plan and analyzing the data. Only with a good analysis will you know what to do, what not to do and how to improve to get the most out of online marketing.