Often, brands will have the proper tools for social media monitoring and still miss out on the wealth of information that consumer conversation is supposed to offer. They say, “We have all the right tools and we’ve set them up to stream in data from all sources, but now what?”
They get the data but they don’t know how to use it. What does a million mentions mean to your brand if it can’t tell you what people are saying and how the conversation affects your brand?
It’s difficult to put the data into use if you don’t know what is worth monitoring in the first place. Or if you dwell on the surface with vanity metrics without digging deeper for real insights.
Clearly, social media monitoring isn’t enough. And it’s time we had the conversation: What is social media monitoring for?
Going Beyond Social Media
There’s no question about the central role of social media marketing in business today. Nearly 60% of the world population is active on social media. If you factor in how the intelligence gathered informs other marketing activities, you can argue that all consumers are influenced in some way by social media.
It’s no wonder that social media platforms are flourishing in 2022. TikTok, a little-known app just three years ago, is the poster child for the (second?) social media revolution with upwards of one billion monthly users from all over the world.
Research shows that users spend an average of about two and a half hours on social media every day. TikTok users spend over half of that time on the platform, making it seem like it’s TikTok against the rest.
In fact, over at Rival IQ we have questioned whether it should be categorized as a social media app or an entertainment platform, like Netflix.
That’s not to throw shade at the classics. Facebook still boasts the largest usage with close to 3 billion monthly active users and the number of active tweeps has been rising even as Twitter is poised to get a new owner.
The advertising reach also remains high for Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger, Reddit, and YouTube. Other notables include Discord, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
Social media monitoring on one or some of the platforms opens your brand up to opportunities as you begin to understand your target consumers – using insights derived from one platform to jumpstart activity on others.
However, monitoring shouldn’t be limited to these social media networks. Consumers are sharing data across a variety of online platforms. It is estimated that about half of all internet users post reviews every month and 93% of users say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
Similarly, discussion forums like Quora and Reddit are home to hundreds of millions of users every month. And having access to search subreddits for insight is incredibly value to companies in every industry, as we can see in the financial services example below:
Still, the scope of social media monitoring isn’t exhausted: Business websites offer consumers a channel to express their views and the mainstream media has a strong presence on social media. Not to mention other consumer data, such as survey and suggestion box feedback, which can be uploaded and collated with social media data for a more comprehensive analysis.
So, you see social media monitoring isn’t limited to social media. All these data sources should be combined, analyzed, and monitored. This is the start of a sound social media monitoring strategy.
Why Sentiment Matters
Sentiment is the foundation of all social action. Emotion is what moves consumers to interact, and it’s what brands must analyze to inform their actions as well.
For example, it’s not enough to know your audience likes your snarky Twitter posts. You’ve got to know what about your brand makes such posts appealing – and how to use this knowledge for maximum impact.
The most interesting brands on social media have developed a voice that projects a unique personality that the audience can understand and even relate to. By devoting some of their time and money to audience engagement, brands such as Taco Bell, Starbucks, and McDonald’s have been able to accomplish that.
The key is to know your audience – entirely and separately from your brand. Whatever they care about should matter to you – so you can talk to them about it. And it’s not just scratching the surface. You must go deep and that is where you find other stuff they care about beyond your business.
Today, customers want to know where you stand on environmental sustainability, the fight against a deadly virus, or the aggressions of a domineering state.
Analyzing consumer sentiment shows you how people are feeling about a particular subject so you can act from a position of knowledge and understanding.
Your focus as a brand should be on the passionate sentiments as opposed to neutral ones. Positive passion – love, obsession, need, desire, craving, can’t live without, etc. – helps you bond with your audience.
But negative passion – hate, awful, the worst, never again, etc. – offers opportunities as well. Opportunities to solve customer problems and renew the bond, build new relationships, and protect your reputation from being abused by trolls and detractors.
When you use sentiment to segment your audience by interests and passions, you can go even further to meet their expectations and guarantee satisfaction.
The Power of Personalization
Personalization is about solving the problem for an individual rather than the market. If a customer asks for clarification privately, you don’t give a broadcast but rather answer them directly. Public engagement – in the comment section, for example – should be just as personal.
Segmentation lets you engage your audience in ways that feel as personal as a one-on-one conversation. The modern consumer expects the brand to speak directly to them and address their personal needs.
By segmenting your audience into groups of similar attributes, you can use your resources more effectively in engaging, serving, and creating new products for your customers.
Coca-Cola is a great example of how segmentation can help accomplish personalization no matter the number of customers served. With multiple products and presence in almost every country in the world, Coca-Cola uses its vast resources to make sure every individual customer is happy with their purchase.
From packaging to pricing to the contents and even seasons(!), Coca-Cola has considered all angles. A few years ago, the brand used NetBase Quid® to run one of its most successful campaigns to date.
Of course, you don’t need a billion-dollar marketing budget to segment your audience and deliver a personalized experience to every customer, but it doesn’t require that kind of spend regardless!
The data is out there; you just need social media monitoring. More importantly, use the insights to offer great customer experience – and that starts from the moment you connect on social media.
Even consumers who’ve never shopped your brand see how you treat customers on your social channels. Be sure you’re controlling that story.
Monitoring to Improve Customer Service
For many consumers, social media is their main point of contact with brands. Their research during the purchasing process inevitably leads them to social media where they make enquiries and ultimately buy – the infrastructure is already set to support the whole journey, payments included.
One crucial aspect of social media-based customer care is handling customer complaints. More and more consumers are using social media to complain about brands.
This presents a considerable challenge to many brands because of its multifaceted nature: Customers can complain to brands directly and privately, directly and publicly, or indirectly and publicly.
On one hand, public customer complaints give other brands a chance to understand customer needs and expectations. On the other hand, the loser loses big.
The longer a complaint goes unanswered on social media, the more time other consumers have to catch wind of it and chime in with their own horror stories. This is a recipe for a crisis.
Alternatively, you can make social media customer care your brand’s “show” – a way to present your brand as superior to the rest.
Social Media Competitive Intelligence
Social media monitoring is not enough if it doesn’t include competitor tracking. Keeping tabs on your competitors allows you to come up with an objective measure of your share of voice, gauge the strengths and weaknesses, and even discover hidden opportunities.
A decade ago, doing a competitor audit every other year might have been enough but today it is a lazy approach. Social media monitoring keeps a constant watch so you know everything your competition is up to in real time. Otherwise, there will be no time to act on the intel.
With social media monitoring you can have a permanent tracker placed on your competitors so you can see all their moves across the platforms.
Social media monitoring on Rival IQ, a NetBase Quid company. Source
Leading consumer and market intelligence tools are designed to offer you best-in-class social media monitoring. But that’s not enough, so don’t stop there.
Aside from a powerful dashboard, you need to upload data from external and legacy systems, integrate multiple research tools into the dashboard, and conduct high-level analysis using a suite of AI-based tools. And if you reach out for a demo today, we can show you exactly how these capabilities transform your perspective on what’s possible with social media monitoring!