10 Rules for Successful Social Media Monitoring & What They Mean to You

Basic social media monitoring is giving way to more sophisticated analytics that may change the way your company does business. What can your brand do be get the most benefit from this shift?

In a previous post, we looked at some of the ways basic social media monitoring is giving way to more sophisticated analytics.

Taken from Listening 2.0: Leveraging Social Intelligence to Drive Business Results, a white paper from Converseon, these shifts – which it calls Listening 2.0 – may result in social intelligence becoming infused into your total operations. While some social media professionals may take exception to some of these observations, as a whole they offer insight into the rapid evolution of the science of our industry.

After examining the balance of the differences between existing and evolving social media monitoring (SMM), we’ll look at ten suggestions for harnessing these advanced monitoring capabilities.

5. Transition from isolated data to comprehensive data

Existing SMM: Inability to integrate enterprise internal data, such as web analytics, means companies have a lot of work to do if they want to understand how social media behaviors relate to behaviors on their e-commerce properties.

Evolving SMM: Listening 2.0 solutions help eliminate conversation blind spots by incorporating full datasets such as that from the Twitter Firehose.

6. Transition from functional silos to cross-functional infusion

Existing SMM: A few people see the data, but most people either never have access to it, or they are not sure how to use it to support business decisions.

Evolving SMM: Data and insights are infused across the organization to reach the constituencies that can best understand and act upon this intelligence. In this model, social intelligence is rapidly becoming the impetus for business process redesign because social intelligence is useless without the operational agility to rapidly synthesize, share and act upon the data.

7. Transitioning from lack of standards to performance framework

Existing SMM: Every tool reports metrics based on its own methodology, so if two business units buy different listening tools, the metrics almost never match. The fact that each tool uses its own spam suppression approach also contributes to this problem. For example, if you open two different listening tools, from two different vendors, and enter the same search terms into both tools, you will nearly always see different volume counts.

Evolving SMM: Organizations are embracing a single performance measurement framework for social media across the enterprise. Rather than letting each business unit, functional team or geographic team determine their own metrics for social media, a centralized or shared team determines a single performance measurement framework that ties social efforts to business KPIs across the organization. Metrics are consistent, and they work together from customer service to brand marketing to recruiting. Emerging enterprise entities – often organized as Centers of Excellence – ensure that companies create and enforce consistent measurement and reporting frameworks and follow established best practices.

8. Transforming from questionable ethics to ethical practices

Existing SMM: Recently, major media organizations have raised questions about the ways that some social listening vendors gathering social data. This includes monitoring within private communities, and harvesting data against a web site’s terms of service. Until ethical standards are defined for industry, brands must conduct their own diligence into the data practices of their listening providers, and Converseon is actively involved in working with leading industry organizations to help ensure the most ethical of practices.

Evolving SMM: Brands and listening vendors must adhere to the highest of ethical standards in how they harvest social data, process it and protect consumer privacy. This includes assurance that brands meet all terms of service provisions, do not unethically mine venues that are password-protected without approval, and protect privacy in private venues. Some organizations like CASRO are working to set standards to ensure protection of consumers and ethical approaches.

9. Transitioning from inadequate relevance to complete relevance

Existing SMM: Depending on the category, brands are typically mentioned in 5-30% of the total conversation within the category. As a result, monitoring efforts that focus on branded keywords (e.g., “Dell laptop”, instead of simply “laptop”) typically miss the majority of relevant conversations. While it is necessary and useful to monitor and get insights from what people are saying about brands, the most insightful and useful contributions are not necessarily brand-focused.

Evolving SMM: Advanced machine learning and other technologies are significantly increasing the relevance of the datasets. Influencer scores are evolving based on specific verticals and companies, as opposed to generic scoring.

10. Transitioning from standalone analytics to integrated analytics

Existing SMM: Listening solutions typically do not integrate social media activities and behaviors with web analytics and on-site behaviors. This is starting to change, but has a long way to go.

Evolving SMM: Social data cannot exist in a vacuum. Advanced approaches merge social media analytics with web analytics and customer data (unified analytics) to better inform business decisions.

Social Media Monitoring Success

Among the white paper’s recommendations, is a list of rules for successful social media monitoring:

  1. Listen with a purpose: Begin with business objectives and configure your listening accordingly.
  2. Ensure that your data coverage and intelligence capabilities are appropriate to support your intended use cases (e.g., customer service, crisis management).
  3. Beware of metrics proliferation and dashboard fixation. More metrics are not necessarily better. Ultimately, you should tie a handful of metrics to business KPIs.
  4. Determine the right mix of internal and external analysis resources.
  5. Think about and plan for use cases occurring today and in the future.
  6. Consider how you will cover all of the languages your business serves.
  7. Think enterprise – don’t just focus your efforts on one functional area. Think about efficiently supporting the needs of the broader enterprise.
  8. Don’t try to boil the ocean; start with a focus and a goal, then evolve and expand.
  9. Stand on the shoulders of giants. Don’t try to create everything yourself. Instead, determine, prioritize and create social media management capabilities via best practice frameworks from people who have already worked out the kinks.
  10. Embrace the change that listening will bring inside your organization, and set a consistent plan to address it.