- Posted by sanjay
- On January 1, 2010
- 2 Comments
- social media, social media monitoring, social media what next
There are still many out there who do not understand or appreciate the concept of Social Media Monitoring. For their benefit, just a quick introduction to the idea first.
Conversations are happening on Social Media.
A blog that talks about say, telecom issues.
Comments on that blog, from various people, about the blog, but more pertinently, about their preferences or prejudices, amongst brands, for example.
Or a discussion on a message board, about hosting service providers.
And several posts to the thread, indicating active participation, besides the much larger number, who just look and go away.
Or consider a Twitter stream about Digital Cameras:
Any such discussion can significantly impact your brand, your sales. Say, by driving away customers, on account of some negative conversations, or pushing business to your competitors on account of some flattering postings in their favor, etc.
In order that these events do not catch you by surprise, you are better off to do what is referred to as “Social Media Monitoring”. That process where you keep track of the social media conversations, related to your business. Typically done with a mix of software tools and some manual data clean up, this activity is emerging as an acknowledged and regular business process for many companies now.
And now that many companies are getting into such Social Media Monitoring efforts, we see behavior and response from people, based on their stage of evolution with Social Media monitoring. And what are some of these stages, then?
- 1. The discovery stage: typically from a company (or person) that has just started doing Social Media Monitoring. There is huge fascination usually, in discovering a host of mentions of their brand in Social Media. It’s almost incredible to them. Most of them did not imagine that people could be so animatedly talking about their brand. Here, the brands do not particularly go about investigating the details of what context the conversations are happening in. The discovery itself is the reward, at this point. That they are in the conversation horizon of people is a reason to feel satisfied.
- 2. The first stage of investigation: this is when the company goes beyond the fascination of discovery and probes a little deeper into the nature of conversation. And this is usually followed by a few rude shocks. When it is found that many of the conversations are critical about the brand. Yes, people share good experiences with fewer people, but bad customer experiences are broadcast to many. Also that, most people who “write” into the social media space have a kind of ‘activist’ profile. And they pick up the smallest of your mistakes and amplify the same via Social Media channels. This is when companies often get upset, ask for opinions about how to “shut these guys up”, or “is there a legal recourse to stop such postings”, etc.
- 3. The stage of understanding: here is where now, the company really gets serious about looking at the data that is coming out, and converting it into actionable pieces. Conversations can be about a variety of things related to a company’s brand. From quality issues, to customer service, to price, to product details, to wish-list for new services, to competitor comparison etc. Each of these needs a different handling, perhaps from different people in an organization. So now is the stage when a company starts tagging the conversations and distributing these to the right teams and people, and also starts figuring out a response mechanism, which is consistent across the organization, because finally, to the outside world, it is that “one company” only.
- 4. The final stage (as of now – this space is changing!): this is when the company has now got a real good picture of the social media conversations and their impact. That many a times, the mention of their brand is inconsequential and needs to be ignored. Sometimes there is a negative mention, but it is on account of some personal reasons and can be settled offline. Or that there is conversation that they are quite familiar with, and in fact, stems out of their own press releases, for example. But then to pick those few, which are from the real ‘influencers in the space’ and which give them new and very relevant information, and which they need to act upon, is the ultimate objective. This is the “smart” way of monitoring social media, and putting it to use. It takes a lot of effort to separate the wheat from the chaff, but this is indeed, the real thing.
I am sure, there will be even more sophistication that is evolving, but the above stages largely capture the experiences of most companies, currently dabbling into the space of Social Media Monitoring.
Questions, other thoughts, experiences? Please feel free to share below.