Social media monitoring is a process of using social media channels to track, gather and mine the information and data of certain individuals or groups, usually companies or organizations, to assess their reputation and discern how they are perceived online.

Social media monitoring is also known as social media listening and social media measurement.

Organizations use social media monitoring to reach out to customers and prospects for information gathering and front-end customer support. It is used to collect and mine data, especially by organizations seeking customer intelligence to determine current industry trends. The process has become easier - yet more tedious - due to free and readily available outlets, like blogs, wikis, news sites, social networking sites, forums, video/photo sharing sites and message boards.

  • There are a variety of social media monitoring tools, but most are customized data mining software and Web Large enterprises use these tools to search for specific keywords on various websites and blogs.
  • The monitoring software transfers the desired words and phrases from unstructured to structured database data for analysis with traditional data mining techniques.
  • Social media monitoring software provides functionality for listening, tracking, and gathering relevant content across wide ranges of social media.
  • Social media monitoring products are used by social media, marketing, and communications teams to identify trends, track competitors, and understand customer sentiment.
  • The products can also be used by researchers to gain information on social trends or by media outlets to identify breaking news. Social media monitoring tools allow marketers to personalize content to specific users or demographics, identify thought leaders or influencers, and respond to positive or negative mentions.
  • Many social media products monitor posts in a variety of different languages and countries, allowing businesses to localize advertisements. These products are intended to provide demographic data, understand social media presence, identify negative mentions, engage users, and improve a brand’s reputation.
  • Social media monitoring products often provide information that benefits social media analytics software. Monitoring functionality can also be found within social media management software as a feature or social media suites as either a feature or standalone product. Many media monitoring products also monitor social media as well.

To qualify for inclusion in the Social Media Monitoring category, a product must:

  • Listen for specific mentions across social media
  • Identify trending topics or phrases
  • Detail customer sentiment
  • Organize customer information
  • Identify thought leaders and influencers

1. Better Understanding of Listening & Monitoring

Another way social media monitoring can benefit your business is by learning the difference between monitoring and social listening. Far too often, the terms social media monitoring and social media listening are considered one in the same.

While it’s easy to see why they’re mixed together, monitoring and listening are both unique methods to view, measure and analyze your audience. Here’s how we break down the difference between monitoring and listening:

  • Social media monitoring is more so the process of collecting social messages into a single stream and to take a specific action in response to each message (via a like, comment or tasked message).
  • Social media listening queries large volumes of social messages from specific keywords or topics that then requires your brand to reflect and draw analysis from the these actions.

Understanding the difference between social media monitoring and social media listening is critical to any social strategy. It’s also important to know one is not more important than the other.

2. Become More Approachable to Your Customers

Providing excellent customer service is at the forefront of most brand’s initiatives. Being an approachable organization means you have to consider every avenue of communication. And this most certainly includes social media.

Social media monitoring tools allow brands to become more approachable by finding customer inquiries and interactions faster.

Positive brand experiences can truly have an effect on customers in your sales funnel. It’s always best to think of building strong communication with your customers as a long-term relationship. And what’s the best way to open that line of communication? It starts with monitoring your social messages and providing the best customer experience.

3. Never Miss a Brand-Relevant Message

One of the best benefits to social media monitoring is discovering more opportunities to engage with customers. For organizations on social, this means you need to focus on incoming brand- relevant messages, whether you’re directly mentioned or not.

And for a lot of brands, there are so many messages, it’s easy to miss important questions because they didn’t tag, @mention or use your hashtag. However, identifying your brand keywords in a social media monitoring platform, like Sprout Social, makes it simple.

You’ll never miss an incoming message, hashtag, mention or even common misspellings by monitoring brand keywords and hashtags. Not only does this help you put all your incoming brand messages in one place, you can also analyze hashtag performance and see how users interact with your brand materials on social.

By identifying relevant keywords on social, you open yourself up to new discussions, blog and social media post ideas and see what topics your audience truly engages with the most.

4. Stay Organized With Marketing Campaigns Tags

An essential benefit of social media monitoring tools is the ability to organize campaigns. When incoming messages related to an important campaign come in, you need to be able to respond or engage in a timely manner. Start by setting up a brand keyword in Sprout that’s associated with a specific campaign.

With the brand keyword saved, you’ll be able to filter all incoming Tweets or Instagram hashtags with that specific phrase. For brands that receive a large volume of incoming messages for customer support, people sharing your content and everything in between, the ability to filter conversations based on your brand keywords is a huge time saver.

Not only that, but it also guarantees that important messages don’t get overlooked.

5. Interact With Your Top Brand Advocates & Key Customers

Brand advocates are essential to promoting your product and driving more engagement in smaller pockets of the market.

With the help of social media monitoring tools, you easily interact with influencers and brand advocates to truly move the engagement needle. On top of that, monitoring interactions and conversations from key customers can provide valuable instances of ways to include them in your marketing efforts.

Finding places to interact with key customers can make the difference between a small sale and a major win for your business. With monitoring tools, you can find and reply to those customers on the edge to make a purchase from you.

6. Understand What’s Working (and Not Working) For Competitors

Social media monitoring isn’t strictly limited to your brand. It also pays to understand what your competitors are doing and how they engage with their own fans.

Consider monitoring conversations that contain the names of your top competitors on social. For instance, T-Mobile might want to track conversations about Verizon. It could help them understand some of the pain points of Verizon customers. Then T-Mobile could use these Verizon customer issues in its own marketing messaging to speak more directly to the audience.

7. Win Back Lost Customers

As we mentioned earlier, quickly replying to customers can mean all the difference on social media. When an upset customers Tweets a complaint about your brand, you need to jump on it quickly to resolve the issue. Even if you can’t fix their current situation, you could restore your chances of doing business with them in the future.

Don’t let negative customer experiences go unnoticed on social media. While some bigger brands receive hundreds or thousands of messages a day, the right monitoring tool helps you dig through the noise and find the biggest issues to address.