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Monitoring Social Media Conversations for Your Brand

March 13, 2011

How many times have you heard that the biggest value of social media participation for your company comes from listening? Great, but what does this really mean to effectively listen to social media conversations? What should we concentrate on analyzing while the fire hose of social media conversations continues to drown us in data?

A few weeks back I was fortunate to listen to a panel discussion at the Connecticut Social Media Breakfast meeting with three queens of social media measurements: Katie Paine from KDPaine & Partners, Jenifer Zeszut of Lithium Technologies (former CEO of Scout Labs) and Genevieve Coates from Radian6. (Trust me, the air of the auditorium at the Quinnipiac University was so saturated with insights that it was literaly hard to breathe.) All of these women spend significant amount of time every day coaching their clients how to gain insights from social media monitoring and subsequently how to measure the effect of clients’ engagement to respond to these insights.

Social Media Engagement Journey

During the panel, Jenifer Zeszut talked about five stages of social media engagement that she calls the Social Engagement Journey. The farther you are on the engagement journey the more advanced your social media monitoring and measurement needs are.

It usually starts with the PR department concerned with brand reputation management who ends up to be the first in line to monitor social media to find and fight PR fires. Following the PR department there is the marketing group who quickly (or in some instance not so quickly) realizes that in order to gain maximum value out of social media engagement they need to monitor social media to build relationships and grow social media fans – the essence of Word of Mouth marketing. The customer support department is not far behind wanting to access social media monitoring tools in order to support customers who demand multi-channel customer service 24/7. But what truly separates the leaders from the rest of the corporate social media adopters is phase 4 and 5 where in phase 4 social media is viewed as a revenue driver and social media monitoring is needed to support this quest with metrics that prove social media generates revenue. And finally phase 5, where social media is there to prove true customer centricity through customer crowd-sourcing for innovation and  product co-creation.

What to monitor in Social Media?

Not every piece of data is actionable to every group that needs to listen to social media conversations. While we tend to start setting up our monitoring dashboards by concentrating on our company’s branded keywords, there is more insights to be gained by expanding the keywords and data streams to include competitive intelligence, industry-relevant keywords and more. Here is the basic template I follow when setting up dashboards for individual corporate functions.

PR: detecting influencers & engaging with them, monitoring for brand reputation issues & quickly assessing crises

Marketing: detecting super fans & engaging with them, monitoring health of individual social media campaigns

Customer Support: detecting unhappy customers talking about having issues with individual products & services

Commerce/Sales: gathering competitive intelligence, real-time detection of prospects looking for solutions, prospect nurturing

Product Development: listening for new product ideas, product “wishes,” customer pain-points

Business Development: competitive intelligence, industry insights

Does your corporate social media engagement journey follows Jenifer’s schema?

What insights do you watch for in your social media monitoring programs?

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