As Geoffrey Moore said, “Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway." Keeping tabs on data has cropped up as one of the most efficient ways of monitoring conversations around a brand image. In this context, let’s review the benefits of social media monitoring and why it’s necessary in today's PR environment.
The power of a hashtag can change the entire course of an event, a person, or a brand. Consider the worst PR disasters in recent years and how some brands never recover.
As a solution-oriented tactic, social media monitoring involves assessing discussions about a brand, individual, or product across various social and online platforms to optimize reach.
Another significant aspect of social media monitoring is increasing the share of voice (SOV). This can improve the effectiveness of your communication, help you stay ahead of competitors, and estimate industry trends. It requires collecting raw data, such as likes, shares, clicks and mentions to overturn poor-quality press coverage. Social media monitoring extracts and structures all the data related to a brand into one report so you can create strategies that reflect positive results.
First and foremost, it is crucial to differentiate between social media monitoring and listening to understand its impacts. Social media monitoring refers to brands observing the conversations surrounding their image and interacting with customers accordingly. This can be a question someone asks in a tweet or a customer thanking a brand in an Instagram story. Monitoring helps track mentions even when the brand isn’t directly linked, so you can use this positive feedback as a way to generate more credibility.
In contrast, social media listening refers to collecting all the data surrounding a brand and analyzing it. This includes sentiment analysis, competitor analysis, and finding brand influencers. It is a proactive approach that can be used to find patterns and create long-term PR strategies dependent on data.
The main difference between the two lies in their approach: social media monitoring is reactive, responding to an online community that is already there, while social media listening takes a motivated approach, utilizing data to find ways to increase exposure.
With the rise of cancel culture and internet boycotts, the social media space for brands can go one in two ways: it becomes a central hub where brands can share their stories and expand visibility, or it becomes a space for missteps to permanently take their place in a brand’s legacy.
With social media’s vast user base, negative press is notorious for turning into a worldwide phenomenon. Promotional campaigns intended to boost a company's image, can sometimes backfire and become PR nightmares. Without social media monitoring, PR experts can’t foresee a crisis and minimize the duration of the negative reaction.
Take, for instance, Domino’s 2009 rogue employees who posted a YouTube video showcasing contaminating ingredients suggesting it would go out to customers. The company's delayed response resulted in negative branding, and despite an apology from Domino's management, it proved ineffective in fixing the fallout.
Mathematician Clive Humby declared in 2006, “Data is the new oil.” This proves true with social media data from platforms like Facebook, X, Instagram, and TikTok dictating your brand’s visibility and reach. Social media metrics have proven reliable for increasing brand awareness and measuring the correlation between campaign success and brand objectives.
While you may think that certain social media are not valuable for your brand. Let’s say you’re tackling Instagram metrics but disregarding X. This means you’re not utilizing all the data that will give you a complete picture of your PR efforts. It’s important to remember the more data you have of your brand, the better it can be consolidated.
Fusing these metrics will help create a better persona and segmentation of your audience, ultimately leading to better awareness and scope.
As of January 2023, marketers worldwide still predominantly use Facebook as their primary social media platform. The social media penetration rate has also been consistently rising in recent years and is anticipated to reach a new peak by 2028. Social media monitoring is still very relevant, not just on newer platforms like TikTok and Threads, but on all sides of the spectrum.
While collecting your social media data is important, the key is to realize that it's not functional in its raw state. To utilize its full effectiveness, raw data needs to be integrated to determine benchmarks.
This is usually done with the help of automated media monitoring tools that cut down time. Depending on the tool, these softwares can organize the data, analyze customer feedback, and measure KPIs.
It’s also important to note that some of these tools don’t track print media like magazines and newspapers, which are still relevant.
Achieving symmetry across platforms is also possible. Depending on the target audience, you can use the same content with different strategies for each platform. Monitoring social media in this way can help you categorize audiences, including niche segments, so the right message reaches the right audience.
Throughout each PR campaign, you can monitor reach and visibility and discover positive and negative trends to create a media coverage analysis report. This proves beneficial for changing tactics mid-campaign if something isn’t working.
With over 4 billion users, around 60 percent of the world's population is on social media. You can utilize this perception by strengthening associations with campaigns and posts that trigger emotions.
Think about the McDonald's logo. It's recognizable no matter which part of the world you’re in because they’ve built associations through media campaigns and maintained a static brand reputation.
Social media is an omnipresent force that has shaped our communication and trends. These metrics will increase the audience's ability to make and reinforce that choice with exposure and attention. Conscious, high-impact, and disruptive campaigns can make brands feel authentic and guide audiences to have positive conversations around them.
Consider the rise of short-form videos. TikTok has been known as the “new launchpad for small business” because there’s a ton of engagement within these posts. Social media monitoring predicts these trends and exposes brands to relevant audiences.
Sentiment analysis can reveal perceptions and build engagement depending on the feedback being received. Identifying the sentiment behind a mention is significant because it lets brands address negative feedback and mitigate potential reputational harm.
Also referred to as opinion mining, audience sentiment data can help identify the emotion expressed in a text, such as social media posts, client reviews, or news articles. Social media listening tools can monitor your brand name and related hashtags and categorize negative, positive, or neutral sentiments connected to the mention.
Audience sentiment can be one of the biggest benefits of social media listening because it's valuable feedback that comes directly from your target demographics. Most of the time, when audiences mention brands online, they tend to give genuine feedback.
Media mentions are the number of times your brand is individually mentioned by an online user with a direct tag or a hashtag. Think of it as a promotional tool that brings in more visibility within the social media space. Social media monitoring helps filter through the clutter, allowing only the important messages to emerge.
If your brand is being addressed online, it's beneficial to interact with the mention, learn about its sentiment, and reap the benefits. It's also a great way to maintain a brand’s reputation and address bad press before things get out of hand. Getting into an online conversation with audiences in a positive way increases relatability with the general public. You can maintain an uplifting and ethical attitude towards your brand's identity.
For example, Wendy’s, a global fast food chain, is known for interacting with their X followers. They have created a distinctive social media persona with their humorous and timely responses to tweets which reach new audiences.
Traditional PR methods like press, events, and journalists are still used to boost awareness but with the increase of influencer entrepreneurship, digital PR methods work better. These include tracking people who appreciate your brand and finding influencers. This ties back into the importance of tracking mentions because micro-influencers authentically advocate for your brand, which can be amplified.
Using industry influencers also paves a path for better engagement. Unlike traditional methods, digital methods are exceptionally interactive. They give opportunities for creative content to be produced, which builds credibility and trust. Consider the last time you watched an influencer recommend a product or a service.
The personal touch of brand advocates makes such interactions more intimate than conventional methods of relying on press releases and events.
Bloggers can also produce content across diverse niches, with some who have small but strong committed fans and social media influence. You can monitor these influencers to spread your messages across the corners of the internet and nudge audiences to converge on your brand.
Monitoring social media can help you understand the latest developments in your industry and identify your competitors' strategies. If you use social media metrics to track trend projections, you can strategize ahead of time, increasing the likelihood of a successful venture.
Using this analysis, you gain valuable information into what’s working and what isn't, which you can use to make your brand stand out.
It helps pinpoint areas for improvement and new ways to be successful in a competitive market. It can also allow you to identify existing gaps and potential opportunities in the market.
Similarly, keyword searches are also important for competition. These include words related to a brand, whether it is a product, name, or service. Keeping track of keywords can help you stay ahead of competitors and see what’s trending. You can use this analysis to generate content and reinforce social media messages according to what resonates with audiences.
Tracking audience engagement, including likes, shares, and comments, provides a look into the effectiveness of your message.
In simpler terms, increased engagement indicates that your content has grabbed attention and elicited a response. It signifies that there is a meaningful connection with your target audience.
You can apply these successful strategies to other channels to replicate similar positive engagement.
For example, tools like PRHive can reveal your website visitors' locations and interests. This data enables you to anticipate the audience most attracted to your brand. This information shows you the diverse demographics your website visitors come from and the aspects that capture their attention.
Keeping an eye on what people say about your brand on social media is a big deal. It amplifies your voice in the crowd, improves your communication, and lets you stay ahead of the competition.
The practice of social media monitoring also holds the key to improving reach and recovering from potential PR disasters which can reveal what strategies can be created to increase awareness and maintain a positive image. This setup helps you develop smart strategies that work in today's fast-paced PR world.