Social media monitoring is the process of identifying and analyzing mentions of a certain brand or product through different social media platforms, forums and other websites.

Let’s find out why businesses implement social media monitoring in their marketing strategies.

Why is social media monitoring important?

When brands use social media monitoring, they can do the following things.

  • Analyze direct mentions of a brand. You can collect direct @mentions across social media to easily react to customer behavior and deliver value at the right time.
  • Analyze indirect mentions. You can see public messages and comments from all around the web that only include a variation of your brand’s name, with no hashtags whatsoever. This allows you to understand the context.
  • Spend less time on manual data collection. If you analyze brand mentions across all social media where your business is present, you will probably have to switch between many apps and manually search for mentions to stay on top of it. Social media monitoring tools (which we will discuss later in the article) allow companies to automate this time-consuming process.
  • Improve customer care strategies. It can lead to faster response times, prevent public relations issues and identify brand advocates. Improving your customer care strategy increases customer loyalty and brand awareness.
  • Improve overall marketing strategy. Insights gained from social media monitoring help brands improve relationships with potential customers and quickly respond to their behavior, reactions, needs, pain points, and desires. This data can be used later for strengthening your communication, improving content quality and selling strategies.

Let’s find out the benefits of using social media monitoring.

Benefits of Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring helps companies get the idea of their company's public perception, which allows them to:

  • react to consumers’ behavior on social platforms in real time;
  • determine how certain demographics feel about your brand;
  • use positive feedback as a social proof in your strategy;
  • use negative feedback to solve issues at any buyer’s journey stage;
  • build brand credibility and authenticity;
  • eliminate channels with the lowest engagement levels to save money and effort;
  • analyze performance of different social media marketing campaigns;
  • calculate return on investment through advanced reporting capabilities.

Let’s discover the principles according to which social media monitoring works.

How does social media monitoring work?

Social media monitoring works similar to search engines like Google and Bing. The robot crawls social media platforms in search of predefined keywords. This activity is completely legal and compliant with GDPR laws.

No matter what tool you choose, there are three key processes in social media monitoring:

  1. Setting-up. First of all, you need to set up a project where you list the keywords you want to track across the internet and social media. It can be your brand’s name, product names and combinations of both. An advanced setup may require excluded keywords to make an even more specific inquiry.
  2. Collecting. The tool collects mentions into a dashboard report. It usually offers plenty of filters to clean up, group, mark and delete collected mentions. Social media monitoring tool also allows you to receive mentions directly to your inbox in a format of real-time, daily, and weekly reports.
  3. Analyzing. Data analysis varies between different tools. Some tools focus on volume, engagement and reach metrics, the others — on sentiment and influence of social media mentions.

These three processes are the core of social media monitoring. Once you have your keywords in place, the service collects mentions and comments across the internet and provides metrics that will help you better understand the context and come up with correct reactions at the right time.

A process that follows is creating a strategy based on social media monitoring insights, which is called “listening.” Let’s find out the difference between social media monitoring and listening.

Social Media Monitoring vs. Listening

These processes are equally important parts of collecting feedback from the audience. The main difference between them is that social media monitoring is just a process of collecting and sorting mentions while listening is the actual analysis of those insights with intention to build a better marketing strategy based on this data.

Besides, monitoring can be automated, while social media listening requires a lot of manual work and thoughtful analysis, creativity, and ability to deeply understand user intentions and emotions behind their behavior on social media.

Social media listening is an important research tool that is meant for analyzing user interactions with your brand across the internet and finding the ways to put what you learn into action. That can be something as small as responding to a happy customer, or something as big as shifting your entire brand positioning. Marketers often use this tool to analyze their competitors, discover new sales leads, and identify influencers and brand advocates.

Just like social media monitoring, there are services that provide tools for listening. These services usually provide tools for both processes, that’s why it’s best to regard them as an integrated whole, because none of them makes sense without another.

Let’s review some tools that will help you succeed at social media monitoring.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

We’ve collected three popular social media monitoring services.

Hootsuite

Monitoring tool is one of many social media management tools available at Hootsuite. With Hootsuite, you can set up automated crawls of social media content based on your mentions, selected keywords, hashtags, and locations. It also provides real-time audience insights to help you identify what the audience feels about your brand, detect thought leaders, and get immediate alerts if there are suspicious numbers of mentions. Furthermore, Hootsuite integrates with more than a hundred apps to add more functions to its dashboard.

Below there is a Hootsuite dashboard which includes brand mentions on Twitter.

Platforms supported: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, blogs, forums, etc.

Pricing: The Professional plan offers a 30-day free trial and $19 per month after expiration. It allows you to connect one user and up to 10 social media accounts. Unlimited post scheduling and aggregated inbox for messaging are the features available on any plan.

The Team plan costs $99 per month with up to three users and 20 social media accounts, as well as management tools for the team, such as assignment of specific comments to different team members.

The Business plan costs $599 per month with over 5 users, 35 social media accounts, 24/7 priority support, integrations with Zendesk, Slack, Basecamp, etc.

The Enterprise plan offers custom solutions and more additional features such as quarterly business reviews and reports on the team's performance.You can find more details on Hootsuite pricing page.

Sprout Social

Similar to Hootsuite, Sprout Social’s monitoring and engagement tools are part of its social media management software. Sprout Social provides two separate features for social monitoring and engagement.

In the Smart Inbox, you’ll get all your social media mentions and messages. The discovery feature allows you to search for particular keywords on Twitter or Instagram, including mentions without tagging your social media profile.

Below there is a social media monitoring report in the form of a calendar. You can see comments and mentions across social media platforms as well as the number of daily interactions with a brand.

Platforms supported: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Prices: All plans have a 30-day free trial. The Standard plan costs $99 per month with 5 social media profiles to connect, all-in-one social inbox, crafting and publishing posts, profiles, keywords, and location monitoring and more.

The Professional plan costs $149 per month with 10 social media profiles to connect, includes all features from the Standard plan plus competitive reports for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, incoming and outcoming message content tagging, custom workflows for multiple approvers and steps, and more.

The Advanced plan costs $249 per month with 10 social media profiles to connect, all features from the Professional plan, Message Spike Alerts for increased message activity, digital asset and content library, chatbots with automation tools, saved and suggested replies, Automated Link Tracking and more. You can find more information on Sprout Social pricing page.

Agora Pulse

Agora Pulse is an all-in-one social media management tool, which has scheduling, monitoring, engagement, and analytics features. All your social media mentions are collected in the inbox, while its listening feature allows you to search for keywords, URL, and handle on Twitter. Agora Pulse also allows you to monitor comments on your Facebook and Instagram ads.

Below you can see the dashboard, where you can quickly respond to customer comments across various social media platforms.

Platforms supported: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Pricing: The service offers a 30-day free trial. The Pro plan costs $79 per month with 2 users and up to 10 social media accounts to connect.

The Premium plan costs $159 per month with 4 users and up to 25 social media profiles to connect.

The Enterprise plan has custom pricing options with 8+ users and 40+ social media accounts to connect. You can find more information on Agora Pulse pricing page.

Let’s find out how to begin monitoring user activities across your social media channels.

How to get started with social media monitoring?

Here are steps to begin and succeed at social media monitoring.

  1. Choose a social media monitoring platform. Consider pricing and functionality that is crucial for your business. Make sure that a social media monitoring service of your choice specializes on platforms where your business works. You can use free trials and request demos to better understand how certain services work to make the right choice.
  2. List the relevant keywords for crawling. Make up a list of keywords based on your brand name, including possible misspellings. You can also include product names that are connected with your brand and add keywords related to your competitors in case you want to analyze their responses to customers across social media platforms.
  3. Prioritize the processes. Since social media monitoring includes many different processes you should correctly prioritize them. The most important thing is to solve negative issues as soon as they appear. It’s especially harmful when it goes viral, so it’s best to take control over such situations right away. The next key aspect of monitoring social media is to communicate with people who mention your brand in a positive context. This will help you collect more leads, establish a good reputation, and build rapport with your audience.
  4. Use the service's functionality to the maximum extent. Try to utilize available features to get the most out of social media monitoring. Once you feel that results are not satisfying or available functionality does not meet your needs, consider changing a plan or switch to another service, which offers the right tools for you.
  5. Create an effective strategy. You need to find ways to deal with all mentions across social media and provide as much value to the audience as possible. A great strategy must be a combination of social media marketing, monitoring, and listening. It all starts when you create relevant and engaging content. Then people react to it and you collect and analyze those reactions. Lastly, you need to respond to both positive and negative feedback because it will improve your chances to make a good public impression and create more buzz around your brand and products.

Congratulations, you’ve learned what social media monitoring is, got acquainted with it’s benefits and working process.

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