12 Steps to Find the Perfect Social Media Monitoring Tool
Different social media monitoring tools do not give an equal importance or focus on the same features. In the past years, number of social media monitoring platforms increased rapidly. Now the boom is almost over, and the social media monitoring market is saturated. Not all social media monitoring tools are the same, and not all of them are helpful to you; so you must find the right one for your needs. This is a checklist for how a tool should be your perfect match in social media monitoring business.
If you can be sure that the questions below are fulfilled by the monitoring tool you want, you have your perfect match!
1. What are your goals?
Know yourself and set your objectives! What to expect from social media monitoring can be a very long list. Maybe you have very specific wishes, which won’t be covered in a standard package. For a perfect match, you have to define your needs according to your goals. Be sure why you want to get these data from the tool.
2. What do you want to know?
Your brand, company, sectors, competitors, campaigns, trends, crisis, audience, influencers, haters, employees… Select which ones you want to monitor and know more about!
- Which keywords do you want to monitor? Your brand’s name, your name or any variations of keywords?
- Are there any common misspellings or nick names associated with you and your brand?
- What are people saying about your brand and how can you use this information?
- Do you want to repair your reputation or you already have a really good reputation and you want to pump it up?
- Are there any reputable personalities in your company to monitor in social media and web?
- Do you want to find more opportunities?
- Do you need to know what people talk about your industry?
- What does the social media eco-system of your industry look like?
- Which keywords and phrases are related to your industry or what kinds of hashtags are used usually?
- Who are the influencers, brand advocates and haters? What are they and what are their interests?
- How should you participate in social media effectively?
Knowing what you want is the key to your perfect match.
3. Why do you want social media monitoring?
If the answers are “yes”, then your social media monitoring tool should be really fast, preferably in real time. You need to respond as quickly as possible to all customer service queries, and you should be able to set up a way to collaborate and exchange information seamlessly with your support team.
4. Which channels do you want to monitor?
How important is Twitter for you? How about Facebook, blogs, news sites or forums? Do you have plans for Instagram campaigns? How about monitoring Foursquare venues?
Internet is a deep space with vast connections and information. Knowing where to look and focus, and determining channels to monitor are important steps for your brand. It is important you act actively because social media is a dynamic space. You should always be ready to communicate and build new relationships. Therefore be openhearted and openminded. Find out where your existing customers are, and listen to their needs.
5. Are you familiar with the networks?
Yes, you know your goals. You know why you need social media monitoring. Yes, you know what channels to choose.
What are you going to do now? Every social media channel has it’s own dynamics. You can’t just jump into the conversation without learning the dynamics of the channels. You should learn how to listen these channels, and what to expect from monitoring.
- Twitter provides the highest number of results among all social media channels. Also, almost all of the Tweets are publicly available. Your tool must be able to retrieve all those results.
- Facebook may be the behemoth of social media, but provides only limited search results to third parties due to privacy concerns.
- Instagram provides search functionality over hashtags, so define your keywords carefully to not miss any results.
- Youtube offers a detailed search functionality. Be sure your tool can search both video titles, descriptions and tags.
- Google+ has similar privacy concerns as Facebook, so be careful.
- Foursquare is a venue-based geotagging network, so plan your queries with your venue in mind.
6. How should monitoring be filtered?
Do you need to filter by region, languages or demographics? Some monitoring tools are offering multi-language capability, but this doesn’t mean that they are really capable of listening and monitoring like a smaller but regional provider. Check what is meant by multi-language capability.
- Can the tool collect the data without problems?
- Is the data complete?
- Is there spam filtering? Filtering unrelated data can be hard work.
- Does the tool have geographic coverage and is it accurate? If the provider claims that it is accurate, it would be able to locate comments or conversations precisely. For example, languages like English or Spanish which have continental differentials. However, no social media monitoring tools has yet perfected monitoring by geographical coverage. Some of the tools are just locally better than the others.
7. Do you want to publish on social media using a monitoring tool?
Most of the social media monitoring tools provide means to manage your social media accounts and publish contents on your social media pages. For companies managing multiple accounts on various channels, publishing option would make your job more practical.
8. Do you need a strategy?
In the endless space of social media, developing a strategy is always essential. In various channels, all around the world, in different languages conversations are going on. That is why you should sort out and juxtapose all the topics you want to prioritize. It can be done regarding the brand’s perspective, marketing, CRM, reputation, campaign, a new launched product and so on. When you have a multi-departmental management, another strategy might be separating by product, brand and type of messages by categorizing from general to the specific.
According to many experts three steps of monitoring; prioritizing, planning and involving influencers or brand advocates are evaluated as slightly apart from each other. But they are all parts of a ttgger picture. Without prioritizing, building a strategy, creating alternative plans for long term routine marketing projects and scenarios for crises, you will be a very lame manager.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How would you respond to negative or positive feedbacks about your brand or product?
- Can you deal with frustrated customers complaining about you in social media sphere and how?
- Are there any continuous complaints and questions about your product or industry, which can be used by customer service to make a change and create a good opportunity?
- Do the related departments have the ability to respond with the right approach to these complaints?
- How are your competitors handling similar situations?
- Are you prepared for cases like influencers talking wildly about you?
- Can you turn these disadvantages into advantages?
Sometimes you may not keep everything under control by your own. It is always better to have someone on your side, supporting you. In social media spheres any information has the potential to spread contagiously faster than light on all channels. Involving others like fans can make your stand stronger than you think. Therefore, you need brand advocates.
So, how would you find them?
- First of all you need to have an overview of how data flow from the source to the end.
- Search and find the potential fans and influencers, then turn them into brand advocates.
- Build relationships with the influencers and your fans.
- Try to keep your relationship close and interesting with them.
- Share information with the interested parties and prove that your interest is not one-sided beneficial.
9. Do you want to involve users?
- How would you engage them when they are needed for their expertise?
- How often would they be informed if they are needed?
- Have you developed a common communication strategy?
- Does your company have social media expertise? Are you outsourcing for social media management?
- After any interaction is occurred, do you have any record system connected to your customer relations database and how should you relate it with CRM?
10. How does the tool measure sentiment?
This is another feature that none of the tools are perfect. But again, some tools have higher accuracy than the others. It is always better to know upfront how the tool measures the sentiment; especially when you want to compare your sentiment with your competitors.
Even humans have difficulties when deciding between sincere thoughts, trolling, sarcasm and humor. How can a machine interpret better than humans? This doesn’t mean that every human can make the sentiment analysis better than a tool with automated sentiment analysis option. Human vs. automated sentiment is an ongoing debate in the industry. Ask the provider persistently how it is done and who does the analysis if you need a precise sentiment analysis.
11. How compatible is the tool with your management system?
Compatibility defines here, with what kind of data formats are you can deal with. The social media monitoring tools are serving data in different kinds of forms.
- How are you creating your own reports?
- Do you use Microsoft Excel reports or prefer others?
- Can you manage your data on the dashboard of the tool?
- Does the dashboard of the tool fit to your needs? Is it customizable?
- Are there also any customization options for the reports or are you limited to a template report?
- How many people need access to the tool?
12. Do you want to be alerted in real time?
Online activity is not bound to time zones. Some users are always awake at any point, ready to create trouble for your brand. Can you sleep tight when there might be a crisis waiting to happen at 3 am? Just ask these questions to be sure:
- Would you want 24/7 alerts on unexpected activity?
- Would you like to get e-mails or text messages for unexpected peak in your results?
- Do you want to get alerts when important influencers talk about your brand?
Before you choose your social media monitoring tool, do not forget to look at BoomSonar Suite and ask for a demo.
Whatever tool you choose, choose wisely!
All photos courtesy of LucasFilms and Paramount Pictures.