Top 10 Tips for Social Media Monitoring

I was recently asked to provide my top ten tips for social media monitoring. It seemed a shame to write them down without sharing them more widely, so, here they are:

  1. Know why you’re monitoring – If you’re looking for insight, you need a tool that stores and cuts and slices large volumes of data. If you simply want to monitor and engage, you might just need a real-time dashboard. Take this decision early on.
  2. Choose a tool/service to suit your budget - There are free tools, low cost tools (under $100 per month), dashboard tools ($100-$800 per month) and full service tools ($800-$10,000 per month, including consultancy). Pick the right one for you.
  3. Make sure you’ve got the right skills – Most marketing/PR execs aren’t qualified to use the mid-to-high range monitoring tools. Either get the right staff, or provide training.
  4. Expect to get out what you put in – Spend the majority of your time creating the right searches (aka queries). If your queries are wrong, the data you get will be nonsense.
  5. Don’t look at the numbers – It’s easy to be blinded by screens of fascinating figures and breathtaking graphs. Look past these to the stories behind the figures. This is where the value of monitoring lies.
  6. Benchmark – Unless you’re just real-time monitoring, you need to benchmark the data you’re seeing either across time or against competitors. This will help you monitor your progress.
  7. Beware of free data – Free tools don’t provide reliable data. In a recent test Google Alerts only found 1 in 18 relevant results. This isn’t good enough for many businesses.
  8. Look beyond marketing/PR - Monitoring can dramatically assist product development, research, customer service and business strategy. Once you’re monitoring make sure you share the love within your organisation.
  9. Think laterally – Don’t just monitor your own brand and products. Think about your competitors and negative terms people might use that could provide opportunities for you to step in.
  10. Get connected – Lots of monitoring companies are now starting to plug in CRM databases and other management tools. If you use Salesforce or one of the leading CRM tools, chances are you can track some online mentions right into your CRM system. Very powerful.
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