10 Pitfalls in Social Media Monitoring
These days, even smaller companies are considered behind the curve if they aren’t using some form of social media monitoring solution. From the free tools available, such as Google Alerts, to premium tools such as our Social Insights platform, there is an extensive selection of choices available.
However, the choice of tool isn’t everything. Perhaps more important than the choice of tool are the people using it – as they are the ones that set up brand profiles, harness insight and often engage with the influencers. These are several pitfalls to avoid when using social media monitoring tools:
- Understand your tool and its limits. Every tool out there has a set of features, as well as a set of limitations. Choose one that best fits your organization’s needs, goals and budget before using it.
- Understand your audience. Not just the demographics that the tool spits out. How does this confirm with your traditional research through polls and surveys? Do you understand what your specific online audience wants – since this is almost certainly a subset of your company’s target market and needs to be treated uniquely.
- Cross-correlate data. Some tools are better at helping you with this than others, but its important to be able to extract human insights that no tool currently in existence can give. Do the influencers talking about you on Thursday afternoons correlate with the 2 for 1 special you launched earlier, while correlating with your business’s finances? If you don’t do this, you aren’t getting the most out of your tool.
- Return on engagement. Although traditional ROI is difficult to judge when it comes to social media, its important to understand the kind of engagement you are getting within your online communities by listening and interacting. Don’t focus on ROI, focus on ROE.
- Analyze the trends. If you don’t see what your daily, weekly and monthly changes in brand mentions are like, you don’t know if your efforts are succeeding or failing. Keep a tight track of the overall trends of your brand and competitors over all of these time periods.
- Don’t ignore the negative mentions. Negative mentions need to be dealt with swiftly and tactfully. Don’t assign a newbie member of staff to dealing with these – but a competent team member that understands the market and the environment in which the business operates. Whatever you do, don’t keep your head in the sand.
- Keep track of your key contacts. It is important to keep track of all contacts you are engaging with, and how you have engaged with them in the past. This is important in order to track your key influencers, and export them into dedicated traditional CRM packages that your business may use.
- Understand the real cost of your tool. Many tools may be free, but the human effort involved in using them makes it very costly to use. The real cost of using your tool also includes the human resources dedicated to being trained, using, understanding and grabbing insights from it. More expensive tools do most of the difficult work for you, freeing up your staff to focus on other things. If you are already paying somebody a non-trivial hourly rate to monitor your brand, make sure they are using the best tool they possibly can for the job, despite what its price may be.
- Monitoring must be part of a larger social media effort. Monitoring is but one piece of the social media puzzle, which includes social media campaigns and profile management, engagement and CRM as well as analytics and reporting. If you aren’t using social media correctly in the first place, a monitoring tool isn’t going to help your efforts too much. Your company blog, social media accounts and profiles must all be branded, easily accessible and constantly engaged in order for your community to take you seriously.
- If you want truly unique insights, an automated tool may not do the trick. This is why we offer our social media research and analysis services to companies. A social media monitoring tool can only take you so far – but sometimes very unique data needs to be extracted from your online audience, combining channels, influencers, conversations and demographics in completely unique ways.