What is Social Monitoring and Why Should You Be Doing It?

what is social. motoring and why should you be using it? ybkbs magazine jess Amy dixon
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By Jess Dixon

Large companies are generally amazing at social monitoring. Have you ever tagged a company in a post on social media, either positive or negative, and received a response within minutes? Well, that’s due to their stellar social monitoring.

But it’s not just for big corporations! If anything, social monitoring is even more important for small businesses. Read on to learn what it is, why it matters, and how to do it.

What is social monitoring?

In a nutshell, social monitoring is the process of identifying, and responding to, mentions of your brand on social media. This might include mentions of your name, @ tags of your social media handles, or uses of any brand-specific hashtags.

It differs from social listening, which is all about spotting larger patterns in social media engagements with your business and using it to draw conclusions and make decisions (but social listening is another topic for another day.)

Why is social monitoring important?

Not sure that social monitoring matters? Here are some stats that might convince you otherwise:

59% of consumers will use social media to tell a brand when they had a great experience

47% of consumers use social media when they have a product or service question

40% of customers will use social media to complain about a bad experience

78% of consumers expect a response from a brand within 12 hours on social media

(All stats from Sproutsocial)

Most business owners now understand the power of the internet, and social media in particular, as part of a marketing strategy. You simply cannot afford to ignore it.

Social monitoring is one of the best and most reliable insights into how people feel about your brand. Positive feedback can give you and your team a boost, while negative feedback gives you information about things you could be doing better. Though it’s easy to feel defensive if you receive a negative comment, it’s much better to respond graciously and thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention.

Social monitoring is also an important element of your customer service provision and strategy. Many customers will now immediately turn to social media when they have a compliment, question, or complaint for your business. By responding promptly and thoughtfully, you can show your customers that you care about them and what they think. If you can be relied upon to respond positively to comments and mentions, customers will trust you more and have a more favourable opinion of your business. The result? Increased customer loyalty.

Now that you understand why social monitoring matters, you let’s look at some of the ways you can implement it for your business.

Three Ways to Do Social Monitoring

There are three main ways you can do social monitoring, and which method(s) you choose will depend on your budget, time constraints, and what makes sense for your business:

Do it manually

That’s what I do right now, and it works for a lot of freelancers, sole traders, and small business owners. If you’re only getting a handful of mentions each day or week, keeping on top of it can be easy enough to do by yourself.

To do social monitoring yourself, ensure your settings are configured correctly so that you receive notification every time someone mentions your brand. If you have branded hashtags, you should also make sure you’re following those. You can also run a search for your brand name on each of the social media channels you use, to pick up any posts you may have missed. From there, you can respond to each post or mention accordingly.

Pro tip: set aside time during your day specifically to do social media. If you check your channels every time your phone pings with a notification, you’ll never get any other work done!

Hire someone to do it for you

Social media is perhaps one of the easiest things to outsource, and doing so can save you significant time as well as help you grow your presence and following on your chosen channels.

There are several ways to do this. You might choose to hire a freelancer, such as a virtual assistant with social media experience. This is often the most affordable way to do it, and can be more than sufficient if you hire the right person. On the other hand, if your needs are more complex and you have the budget, you might choose to work with a social media specialist or even bring in an agency.

Use a tool

There are many different social monitoring tools on the market, each offering different features and catering to different price points. Hootsuite, a social media scheduling platform, offers a monitoring function as part of its package, as does Sprout Social. Other options include Zoho Social, Brand24, and Trackur.

While these tools will not completely eliminate the need for manual input, they will save you a significant amount of time, especially if you have several accounts to monitor.

What are you waiting for?

If you want social media marketing to work for you, then you’ll need to stay on top of social monitoring. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be tremendously expensive or time-consuming to do so. So get started today – you might be surprised what you learn!

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