“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
What your customers are saying and thinking about your brand provides key marketing information for future decisions. Historically this was difficult information for marketers to get hold of. However thanks to increasingly sophisticated social media monitoring tools this information is easier to obtain.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
This quote from Jeff Bezos highlights the importance of listening to what others say about your brand when they think you are not listening or don’t care. Thankfully this is no longer the case online as savvy marketers can hear everything that is said about their brand if they choose to listen. The abundance of social media monitoring tools means that brands can listen to what their customers are saying about them.
Planning A Social Media Monitoring System
There are three key questions a brand should ask before creating a plan for their social media monitoring.
Why am I going to monitor my social media Impact?
Most brands have an online presence whether they are aware of it or not. Typically customers are reviewing your product and services on review sites some of which you are aware of and some of which are completely unknown to you. Combine this with all the comments made on the myriad of social media platforms where individuals are sharing personal experiences relating to your products and services, and you suddenly see a vast ocean of brand related feedback.
Having spent a large amount of your time and resources marketing your brand you need to review this valuable customer feedback. It could hold the key to future success or failure.
If you think your social media monitoring will not impact on your bottom line then maybe you should invest your resources elsewhere. You might have already developed a sophisticated customer feedback offline that gives you a perfect tool for making sound, well-informed brand decisions. If this is the case maybe you should only invest in a high-level social media monitoring system that gives you feedback if online activity is changing your customer perceptions unknown to you.
How am I going to monitor my social media impact?
Social media marketing has the potential to be an unlimited drain on your resources and time, if left unchecked. That is why it is very important to plan how you are going to monitor your social media and what tools you will need.
If your resources are limited think about the social media information that will have most impact on your business. When you have more resources you can start monitoring larger amounts of feedback and find feedback from various other sources.
What am I going to do with the results?
Sounds obvious but I assure you the world is awash with customer data that some brands have no idea how to incorporate in their decision making process. Before creating a social media monitoring system, think about how you are going to incorporate the results in your decision-making process. Build your social media reporting around metrics that allow you to make decisions that help your brand move forward. If you find you are collecting data that does not influence future business plans you are probably collecting the wrong data.
Choosing A Social Media Monitoring Tool
The best advice I can give is not to use a “sledge hammer to open a peanut”. Pick a social media-monitoring tool that meets your predefined data requirements. If possible trial the tool before you pay for it and remember your requirements may be satisfied by the fee versions of some tools. As in all software choices talk to users and see what are the strengths and weaknesses with the tools selected.
A good starting place is to use the metrics that are built into some social media applications such as Twitter and YouTube. Tools such as Google Alerts can be very helpful in reporting news on particular search terms.
Because of the individual nature of the requirements of different brands I will not recommend individual software. The following common applications may provide a starting position for your individual searches.
- Google Alerts
- Social Mention
- Brand Watch
- Sprout Sociale
In all likelihood, no single software will meet all your software requirements. The best advice I can give you is to try some out and see if it meet your requirements.
The Power Of Listening
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
It is only by taking the time to listen that you will understand what works and what does not work for your customer. When you actively seek this feedback you are giving your brand a competitive advantage. Positive or negative feedback forms the basis for informed decisions for your brand going forward.