The Importance of Social Media Monitoring
This is a guest post – Elizabeth Victor is Brand Advisor for Isentia. She enjoys sharing tips on media intelligence, social media analysis and PR measurement, particularly for companies doing businesses in Asia Pacific, including Singapore, China and Hong Kong.
Build it. Drop in some content. Press play.
This is how the web used to work.
It was like any other one-way medium, including print, television and radio. A person would write something and others would read it.
Pretty simple right?
Then came Web 2.0. With it there wasn’t just a writer and reader, but now a writer and responder. That means two-way communication, and for a business this becomes a huge “game changer”!
With social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as niche forums and blogs, everyone now has a voice; and everyone is talking.
There also isn’t a dedicated body monitoring what is being said. This means anything goes – nice things as well as nasty, negative comments.
These comments aren’t just directed to politicians and celebrities. Businesses can take a huge hit both positively and negatively from social commentary, and monitoring this activity is therefore a key component of your social media plan.
Taking a hit from social commentary
When people are looking to make a purchase whether it be a TV, motorcycle or new home, they are no longer being persuaded by the bright, flashy ads in the newspaper that have a disclaimer the size of a novel.
People watch what they want, when they want. This means commercials and their messages don’t persuade anymore. Add in that nearly every car now comes with Sirius XM Satellite Radio or Internet radio, such as Pandora, that have the ability to provide commercial-free music. That means consumers aren’t persuaded from listening to commercials on the radio either.
People are making buying decisions based on what they read on the Internet. 90% in fact, according to a 2013 report.
Consumers, before they make a purchase whether it be offline at brick and mortars or online on sites like Amazon, are reading about what others are saying about the business. If someone, even a stranger, is bashing a company based on their product, service or even customer service there is a good chance they may stay away from your company and instead choose to do business with your competition.
These review and social media sites aren’t just places to vent about big businesses for big time purchases. All businesses, both product and service oriented, aren’t off limits and have the potential to be talked about in a negative way. That includes even the local dry cleaners and cafe.
So what can a business do? How can they defend themselves?
The answer is social media monitoring
Claiming your spot on review sites
Each one of these sites allows businesses to setup free business profiles. In most cases you will need to verify you are the actual business owner, and each could have specific requirements.
If you are in a specific niche there are also niche directories you will want to be a part of. In healthcare, sites like Vitals and Healthgrades should be claimed. If you’re in hospitality you will want to claim your location on TripAdvisor and if dining is your profession, you will most certainly want to have a response on Zomato, previously UrbanSpoon.
Once verified you are now able to reply to what others are saying, whether it is good or bad. Replying to a review shows other readers that you care about what others have to say and stand behind your business.
For a nice review, a simple “Thanks for coming in, we look forward to seeing you again soon” can be all you need to keep a customer happy and attract new customers.
A negative review may need some more personalization. Depending on the situation an apology may work but you always want to try to take the conversation offline by asking the original reviewer to call a phone number to discuss things further with a manager. The last thing you want is a virtual, long thread that could get nasty.
Social media monitoring tools
Keeping an eye on all of these review websites and social networks can be challenging and virtually impossible to do manually.
Luckily there are a variety of tools both free and paid that can alert you when someone comments on your business.
A free service within Google that is extremely easy to setup. You simply add keywords you want to follow such as your business name or slogan.
The site scours search results for recent mentions of your brand or business and then compiles them in an email. You can set it up so you get an email instantly after you are mentioned or a summary email at the end of the day.
A free monitoring site specific for Twitter. With it you are able to filter through all the rapid-fire noise and instantly pull up Tweets about your business from influencers on the network.
Not only will this help in monitoring what consumers are saying but will help in being able to identify big voices on the social web that can lead to potential partnerships.
A tool that lets your business stay informed with real-time news, views and issues across both traditional and social media that could impact your business.
The tool is able to scan all media coverage and provide a one-stop snapshot of everything your business is being talked about. You can then easily share this information with colleagues via shared folders, RSS feeds and even email alerts.
With Web 2.0, you are never off the clock and there are never days off.
The emergence of mobile smart devices, people have the ability to say what they want about you and your business at any hour of the day or night from just about anywhere. That means if you don’t stay on top of it all, mis-guided comments can do a tremendous amount of damage to your business.
Elizabeth Victor is Brand Advisor for Isentia. She enjoys sharing tips on media intelligence, social media analysis and PR measurement, particularly for companies doing businesses in Asia Pacific, including Singapore, China and Hong Kong.
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