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We continuously share the merits of Social Media Analytics because it’s an important function of business operations for any successful brand today. But just because we understand the complexities and benefits of Social Analytics, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Whether you were waiting for the dust to settle amidst rapid changes in the Social Analytics landscape, or are a newly-formed business exploring the potential of these tools for the first time, there’s a lot to learn. Several tactics have similar names, but different functions, for example. Explaining these distinctions is what our series on Social Media Analytics is all about. That, and making what may seem mysterious and out of reach accessible to anyone who wants to put Social Analytics to work. This is Part 2 of our Complete Analytics Guide series. This series forms a comprehensive Social Media Analytics Guide, with in-depth discussions about the following facets:

  1. What is Social Media Analytics and Why Is it Important?  
  2. What Is Social Media Monitoring?<Currently Viewing
  3. What Is Social Campaign Analysis?
  4. What Is Social Sentiment Analysis?
  5. What Is Social Listening & Why Is It Important?
  6. What Is Image Analytics?
  7. What Is Audience Analysis?

Each section explains and explores the many types of Social Media Analytics Tools available, and how to use them to achieve specific brand goals and maintain optimum brand health. Let’s dive right in to the most obvious question this part of our
series poses:

What Is Social Media Monitoring?

Social Media Monitoring is often confused with other terms like Social Media Listening or Social Media Intelligence, but actually each of these monikers has its own place in your social analytics toolbox.

Social Media Intelligence is an overarching term covering a few key areas of social analytics, including Social Media Monitoring and Social Media Listening, with a focus on Competitor Analysis.

Social Media Listening is about using Social Analytics Tools to uncover consumer insights you can apply to brand strategy. It’s an ongoing task that focuses on getting to know your audience and their emotions,
so you have a baseline understanding of the consumers you want your brand to reach. Social Media Monitoring is also an ongoing endeavor, but with a slightly different focus. In this case, you’re looking for anomalies in your familiar baseline – anything
that stands out from the norm. These anomalies span the emotional spectrum from positive to negative – and both extremes require awareness and attention. This is why Social Media Monitoring is done in real-time.

How Social Media Monitoring Works

Let’s look at the negative side of the equation first. There are three crucial things you’re looking for in your monitoring:

Negative conversations When consumers chat about your brand in a negative way on social media, they’re likely not the only customers who feel that way.

According to BLASTmedia, only 5% of unhappy shoppers will make a complaint of which the brand is aware. What about the other 95%? If they see you taking care of the others,
they may give you another chance. But you can’t take care of customer complaints unless you know about them. Using a tool like NetBase Pro you can do a search on your brand name at any time to see the attributes driving consumer sentiment. Clicking on
terms like “@Kohls crappy service” and “horrible customer service experience” will reveal sound bites of the posts behind these attributes.

You can see this Kohl’s customer has gone to great lengths to tell their story:

Clearly this is the type of post you wouldn’t want to ignore. But what’s even better is having alerts set up that tell you when negative sentiment suddenly spikes. That way you can addressissues quickly and stop angry posts from going viral. You set up these alerts using key terms most indicative of passionate negative sentiment. Then you’re never caught off guard. So your Social Media Monitoring tools must analyze sentiment accurately,
accounting for sarcasm, slang, and emojis – and it all has to happen in real-time. Be sure these features are on your checklist as you research tool options. We’ll talkmore about that below.

Nothing but love here

Negative images Because social media is becoming an increasingly visual medium, your tools also must monitor negative imagery. Consider this statistic:
“Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.” Now imagine the damage your brand could suffer if someone misappropriates your logo. Or how much visibility complaints with images – as we saw above – could
garner. Your Social Monitoring software must be able to monitor visual content or you’re letting a huge chunk of content slip beneath your radar. If Inc’s prediction is correct,
“84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018.”

 

Reputational threats Alerts are most paramount for protecting your brand from reputational threats, and both examples noted above count – because anything left unresolved can pick up social steam and become viral in the blink
of an eye. And that’s to say nothing of blatant attempts to do brand harm by any number of attackers. One global brand awoke to find themselves the center of a news cycle thanks to a viral video asking viewers to boycott the brand’s products.
Using NetBase they were able to quickly understand where the video was being engaged with most, which segment of users was most invested, and which key products were at risk. Because they acted quickly, and had the means to analyze what was driving social
users’ behavior, they were able to formulate a plan to limit the news cycle, reduce ad spend, and protect two valued products from a potential boycott. Cases like this make clear that the benefits of real-time insights can’t be overstated – especially
if you need to take action. Are there cases when you shouldn’t take action? Absolutely. Sometimes responding simply fans the flames and does more harm than good – drawing more attention to something that would’ve just gone away on its own.
But you need to know about these posts so you can make smart decisions, and act – quickly – when it’s appropriate.

What About Positive Sentiment?

Social Media Monitoring isn’t all about gloom and doom. You also want to be alerted to positive swells in sentiment – because these are the users you can put to work as brand advocates and influencers. But don’t stop at mentions of your own brand. Monitoring
the posts of your competition, their audience, and your industry overall, is the best way to spot opportunities your brand can take advantage of – like new trends, consumer problems in need of solving, and more. This kind of intel is especially useful
when applied during active campaigns – something Universal Music Group Nashville experienced first-hand. And it’s
easy to do in NetBase Pro. Just enter the names and/or handles of the brands you wish to compare, as well as your own. Here’s a look at sentiment attributes from a comparison search of the terms “McDonald’s/@McDonalds,” “Wendy’s/@Wendys,” “Arby’s/@Arbys,”
and “Burger King, @BurgerKing”:

McDonald’s has quite a few mentions – on both the positive and negative fronts – but what people
are most mentioning is their breakfast. Other quick service brands can use that information to consider whether breakfast makes sense for them. Or if they already serve breakfast, maybe there are improvements they can make. Additionally, the term “@McDonalds
customer service,” while negative for McDonald’s, is a potential positive for their competitors. Click the term to see the specifics of the post(s), and be sure your brand isn’t making the same mistakes.

How Do I Use What I Learn Through Social Monitoring?

Brand health is a big reason Social Media Monitoring should be part of your daily operations – but it’s hardly the only one. Social Analytics uncovered through Social Monitoring are also not limited to the marketing department. When you uncover data about
customer service issues, it’s not just about putting out that fire. It lets you identify if there’s a specific area where you’re not making par in your category, or where you’re not living up to the expectations consumers have of your brand or products.
It’s also how you know you’re doing better than expected, or than competitors, and why. Imagine the money you can save by following the product launch of a competitor, and discovering consumers hate it? If you had a similar idea, you can avoid that loss
– or offer a better version and claim that audience for yourself. Social Monitoring benefits all areas of brand operations from customer service, to marketing, to sales, to research and development. So when you spend on Social Monitoring Tools, you’re
making an investment that brings far-reaching returns.

How Do I Choose a Social Media Monitoring Tool?

A question often asked – especially by smaller brands – is whether you really need to pay for Social Media Monitoring Tools. After all, there are a lot of free tools out there. That’s true – and when you’re just getting started, they’re better than nothing.
But you have to remember, you get what you pay for. At a certain level, making do with free or subpar tools is like trying to hit a homerun for the Red Sox using a child’s toy bat. It simply won’t get the job done. But we understand that it’s overwhelming
to sift through the numerous solutions out there. Here’s what matters:

Accuracy: Social data is useless if it’s inaccurate. The ability to speak multiple languages – including slang and emoji – are critical to this point. So is ability to analyze the sentiment behind posts. And it all has to happen
in real-time.

Integration:  Social Media Monitoring, as we stated at the beginning of this post, is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s the ongoing effort to track your established baseline. It only works well when combined with other
modalities, like Social Media Listening. Additionally, you may want the ease of engaging back through social scheduling software, or combining CRM and other data. You want a Social Monitoring Tool that can interface with the tools you already use.

No 3rd Party Add-ons: They might seem cool, but they won’t be under the control of your vendor. It’s better to go with
a vendor dedicated to innovating on their own. Otherwise you may fall in love with a feature that suddenly goes away.

Industry/Peer-recognized: The one thing the internet offers is transparency. If you’re unsure of a tool’s merit, the reviews will surely reveal all you need to know. Just as consumers rely on Consumer Reports when purchasing
things like cars and appliances, there are places to look when you want reliable information about Social Media Analytics Tools. TrustRadius,
Forrester and G2 Crowd are just a few where you can compare top solutions. We’ve been listed at all three and more.

How Can I Learn More?

When Social Media Monitoring is used with other Social Analytics components your brand can keep thriving. The rest of our Social Analytics Guide discusses each of these components in-depth, but we also have several other posts illustrating how to use
varying facets of our tools smartly, along with success stories from global brands that use NetBase to stay on top every day. Here are a few to check out:

Blog posts:

Success Stories:

Industry Guides:

And if you want even more tailored information, reach out for a one-on-one, customized demo of our suite of products! RELATED ARTICLES

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How to Analyze Social Media Analytics – Social Media Analytics Guide (Part 3)