When you think about how large the social internet space has become, it’s downright mind numbing. Today more than ever, people are constantly communicating online and broadcasting their opinions about pretty much everything, including businesses. Having said that, building a thriving business doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning, consistency, and more importantly, regular monitoring.
Though monitoring your brand’s social media mentions may not be at the top of your to-do list, it’s an important step that can greatly impact your climb to the top. In this article, we’re going to talk about why social media monitoring is such a crucial part of keeping your brand’s reputation squeaky clean.
What is Social Media Monitoring?
Contrary to what the name suggests, social media monitoring goes far beyond the realm of social media platforms. If you have any online presence in your market at all, customers are more than likely talking about you on social media platforms, websites, blogs, review sites, and anywhere else they get together to share opinions and ideas.
If that comes as news to you, you’re not alone. In fact, you’d probably like to know who’s talking about you and what they’re saying, right? Enter social media monitoring.
Simply put, social media monitoring is the act of “listening” to what the internet is saying about your business so you can gain valuable insight and stamp out potential wildfires. While that may sound a little overwhelming, with the help of specialized tools, you can actually mainstream the process of collecting and responding to comments and feedback.
4 Benefits of Social Media Monitoring
1. Provide Better Customer Service
As the online space continues to get more competitive, customer service is the factor many shoppers use to help them make purchase decisions. Even though handling customer complaints in a timely manner is what people mainly think about when they hear the term “customer service”, it’s actually much more than that.
Thanks to the internet and modern technology, customers have the unprecedented ability to communicate directly with brands they like. Whether that be tagging them in a social media post, leaving an online review, live chatting on your website, or sending a direct message through Facebook, customers expect to be heard.
Social media monitoring helps by making sure you never miss messages from consumers so you can respond in a reasonable, respectful amount of time. When you have no way of tracking all of the different avenues your customers are trying to communicate through, you risk putting a bad taste in their mouth and losing their loyalty.
2. Learn What Your Customers Might Never Tell You
Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall when customers are talking about your product or service with friends and family? Even with the help of online reviews, many of the true feelings consumers have about your brand will never be voiced to you directly.
Social media monitoring can help change that by giving you an ear on the platforms in which your brand is mentioned. Not only will this help you easily identify when you’re doing something right (positive feedback), but it will also help you figure out what needs improvement (negative feedback).
Think of social media monitoring as a way to tap into the thoughts of your customers without actually having to ask how they feel. This can give you invaluable insight about your products and services as well as help you address a dissatisfied customer.
3. Put Out Fires Before They Become a Problem
As great as social media monitoring can be for responding to customers and learning about the unspoken opinions of your products, it’s also great for keeping an eye on bad press. When your brand starts to grow, there’s a higher probability that negative buzz will start circulating the web at some point.
Whether it’s on social media, a forum, or even another website’s blog, negative buzz can quickly turn into a reputation tarnishing wildfire if not properly handled. Unless you have an entire team (or, more realistically, a monitoring tool) regularly combing through different platforms for any whiff of negative press about your brand, there’s a good chance you won’t catch wind of the buzz until it’s gotten hard to contain.
[Did you know that we have a free reputation monitoring app? It’s called Perch. Download it for iOS here.[/idea]
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to small businesses, it even happens to the big guys from time to time when they’ve gotten a little too complacent. Using social media monitoring will help you catch the fire before it even has the chance to spread, limiting the effect it will have on your brand’s reputation.
4. Spy On Your Competitors
Once you’ve mastered the various ways you can use social media monitoring to benefit your business directly, you can start using it to spy on your competitors as well. Not only can you get a sneak peak into the way your competitors are interacting (or not interacting) with their followers, but you can also see what their customers are complaining about.
When customers openly voice their unresolved pain points, it can give you a strategic edge if you’re able to deliver on what your competitors are failing to do. For example, Xfinity may want to track online conversations about AT&T to see what customers like and dislike so they can better gear their marketing efforts to appeal to them.
By that same token, if you have competitors that seem to be beating you at every corner, social media monitoring can give you an inside look at what they’re doing to win so many customers.
Social Media Monitoring Tools
As we’ve touched on briefly, social media monitoring isn’t something you can necessarily do manually. Not only would it take a few full-time employees to comb the most popular social spots your customers frequent, but it’s also literally impossible to cover everything.
Thankfully, there are a number of social media monitoring tools out there like Google Analytics, Brandwatch, Hootsuite (and Perch of course!) to help you with this task. Regardless of how small your business is, you never know what’s being said about you until you try to listen.