Social media monitoring tools

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June 25, 2015

Posted in:
Small Businesses

Reputations are made and ruined on social media. Dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15% increase in churn rate for existing customers, according to an analyst at market research firm Gartner.

Of course bad news travels half way around the world before good news has put his boots on. Zendesk’s survey of 1046 individuals who have had experiences with the customer service of a mid-sized company found that 45% of customers share bad customer service experiences while only 30% share good customer service experiences via social media.

Businesses know they need to monitor social media for mentions of the business and its products and services and also to respond to social media engagement opportunities. But setting aside half an hour every morning to see what Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc are saying about you is no longer enough. Here are some tools you might like to try:

Keep an eye on competitors provides a free Google-style real-time social media search and analysis looking for mentions of any named business or products, while Icerocket concentrates on searching blogs.

Track what’s being said about you and respond

Hootsuite Free searches 35 social networks, while its business version supplies more analytics and lets you search on competitors and key words, as well as allowing you to schedule 350 messages to publish to your social networks.

Focus on Twitter

With 236m active users, it’s no surprise most people pay particular attention to Twitter. Twazzup and Tweetdeck are two utilities that focus on monitoring Twitter, providing alerts and publishing tweets. If you are looking to analyse sentiment about your business on Twitter, Topsy can help as well as enabling sophisticated monitoring of tweets by time and place.

Social media monitoring tools can be very handy to support your business online for low or no cost but there are some pitfalls to look out for:

  • Many social media monitoring tools only search for mentions of your business or brand on social media platforms that you have defined such as your Facebook page. They won’t track mentions on social media networks that you have not asked them to check and may not cover some of the newer networks.
  • Social media at its best is a conversation so where you find people talking about you, the key is to respond to them in a timely way and talk to them one to one. Social media monitoring tools can’t do that for you.
  • Some social media monitoring tools offer publishing tools enabling you to blitz your social networks with messages. Use these with care. Social media is a dialogue not a broadcasting medium so if you are going to try to start 200 conversations, can you afford the resource to respond to 200 people?
  • Social media is increasingly visual and social media monitoring tools may be less effective at helping you monitor mentions and sentiment on major channels such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine. Some of the newer video apps that stream video in real time to Twitter such as Meerkat or Periscope offer great marketing opportunities but their ephemeral nature makes them a real challenge to monitor for sentiment.
  • Social media monitoring should be part of a social media strategy with defined objectives that should be reviewed regularly to make sure it is adding value to the business and not just swallowing up time.