Talkwalker White Paper No. 1


Published on

In this Talkwalker white paper you will learn how
to plan social media monitoring systematically
and target-orientated.
We will show you how to prepare your social
media monitoring tool from search definition, to
ongoing monitoring and up to selective
qualification of the search results in order to
prepare for meaningful analysis in just three

Published in: Technology, Business

Talkwalker White Paper No. 1

  1. 1. #1 How To Plan Social Media Monitoring
  2. 2. In this Talkwalker white paper you will learn how to plan social media monitoring systematically and target-orientated. We will show you how to prepare your social media monitoring tool from search definition, to ongoing monitoring and up to selective qualification of the search results in order to prepare for meaningful analysis in just three steps. A guide for beginners and those in a rush From Christophe Folschette with Tapio Liller
  3. 3. 4 What is this about? 5 Social media monitoring the need for knowledge, analysis and proof of success 6 Five key steps to implement a successful social media monitoring project 7 Steps 1-3 10 Outlook 11 Cheat Sheet #1 how to plan Social Media Monitoring 3
  4. 4. What is this about? You are reading a Talkwalker white paper. This is Part 1 in a series of documents for Social Media Managers and professionals for digital communications. It was written by Christophe Folschette from Talkwalker, a leading provider of social media monitoring and analysis, together with Tapio Liller, consultant for communications and co-author of the bestseller “PR on the social web” (published by O’Reilly). Regardless of whether you are working in the field of social media management, campaign management, online reputation management, PR, corporate communications, online marketing or have other functions that involve working online, this white paper is for you! You can find more about Talkwalker online at You can also contact the Talkwalker team through Twitter: @Talkwalker and Facebook: By the way, on the last page of this Talkwalker White Paper you will find a “Cheat Sheet” optimised for your desktop. That way, you can have the tips and methods from this paper always at hand. We want to help you to improve your social media initiatives by introducing you to methods and tips, which will make your (working) life easier. The productive and efficient use of social media monitoring and analysis is in the center of it. We hope that you find this paper interesting and helpful. If you do, please share your experience on Twitter using the hashtag #TalkwalkerWP. If you have comments or questions, please send us your feedback to We will listen to your feedback and take it into account for future editions. Thank you very much! Christophe Folschette & Tapio Liller WHITE PAPER #1
  5. 5. Social media monitoring the need for knowledge, analysis and proof of success Anyone who is active on the social web needs - generally speaking - three things: Let’s start where every communications project should start, the systematic planning of your project. 1. Knowledge: about the topics which are relevant to your target group(s) and where the discussions are taking place. 2. Analysis: raw data are of little use. You have to ask the right questions in order to get meaningful answers. 3. Proof of success: social web communications is not an end in itself. You have to prove the value of your work and show that you achieved the predefined goals. In the following pages we will guide you step-bystep through the design process of a social media monitoring project. On the last page you will find the working steps as a clearly displayed Cheat Sheet for your desktop. Social media monitoring and analysis tools can help you with all of the above. But to achieve your goals there is far greater need than a simple observation of the online-mentions of a company name or brand. You need a reliable system for your social media monitoring, which will use the potential of your tool and display the gained knowledge, the analysis, the results, and finally the accurate proof of success in a consistent way. This Talkwalker white paper moves within that context. We want to help you to optimize the capabilities of your social media monitoring and analysis tool and to use all of its potential. how to plan Social Media Monitoring 5
  6. 6. Five key steps to implement a successful social media monitoring project The process of a social media monitoring project can be divided into five key steps. Great care should be taken in planning each of these steps. Analysis The analysis of the results by previously defined criteria will provide the above mentioned insight. Search At the beginning stands the definition and refinement of a - at times complex - search. Names, terms, words and topics have to be listed and - if necessary - be restricted by search operators after a trial search. Reporting The process ends with the editing of all the results, whether they are about proving the success of a campaign or about evaluating the development of corporate reputation on the social web. Monitoring The ongoing monitoring can start with the tested search syntax. The next pages are dedicated to the above mentioned pre-planning and data processing in steps 1 to 3. Steps 4 and 5 will be the subject of further Talkwalker white papers. Qualification of results Even the best planned search with a high quality social media monitoring tool will produce false positive results. Those will be corrected by the hit qualification and the remaining relevant results will be prepared for the upcoming analysis. WHITE PAPER #1
  7. 7. Steps 1-3 Step 1 - What are you searching for on the social web? Many users of social media monitoring tools start by typing the name of a company or a product in a search profile and leave it there. By doing this, they are essentially wasting almost all of the tool’s potential. For that kind of simple name search, a search engine would be sufficient most of the times. Take the time to write down your search terms and to fully test the accompanying search input with your social media monitoring tool. You will get many irrelevant results in your first run, especially in topic searches. The search syntax of your monitoring tool should allow for relevant restrictions based on Boolean query. As a first step, the choice of names of companies, products and also the names of certain important people, such as company spokesperson or other stakeholders are the anchor of social media monitoring. Those search terms are the basis for an ongoing observation and evaluation. In parallel it is important to benchmark against the competition. For example, a share-of-voice analysis is only possible if you observe and evaluate both your own and your competitors at the same time in the same source panel. EXAMPLE SEARCH SYNTAX When it finally comes to planning a compatible communication strategy, you will not be able to avoid a topic search. That means to define search terms, which best describe the relevant topics of your target group and customers. With the help of social media monitoring you will be able to find the places on the web where these topics are being discussed and after more detailed evaluation, also the relevant influencers. Last but not least, the topic search is suitable for identifying suggestions in editorially-driven social media programs. Community Managers, e.g. of Facebook fan pages, can benefit from references appearing quickly on widely discussed topics. how to plan Social Media Monitoring 7
  8. 8. Step 2 - Monitoring Step 3 - Qualification of results In our five step sequence we understand monitoring as a search over time. The design and refinement of the search was part of Step 1, and, after that, the monitoring displays the search results continuously on a time axis. Even the most accurate search with tested keywords and restrictions will generate irrelevant results. Only a clean, completely relevant to the monitoring purpose, stock of search results can make the further analysis useful and successful. Monitoring exceeds the search for the detection of a “snapshot” in a specific moment in time. The most obvious results of all professional social media monitoring tools are the well-known trend charts of the frequency of social media mentions. With them, you can identify and document trends over a long period of time. Outliers, in an otherwise consistent flow, are indicators of special events. In order to ensure a quick and consistent qualification of results, it is important to determine the evaluation criteria beforehand. 3.1. LANGUAGE It is rarely necessary to search the whole social web. You should therefore only select the language(s) that are relevant to your project. 3.2. Sources & source panels Not every website or source will be relevant. It is therefore advisable to exclude sources that are not relevant or of poor quality. TREND CURVE WITH OUTLIER There can be many reasons to observe an outlier over a long-term trend. If there was a particular highlight of a communications campaign that day (e.g. product introduction, a press conference on financial statements, a new TV spot, appearance of a corporate representative at a conference etc.), the social media monitoring tool could display the response to that event. On the other hand, a sudden drop in the social media mentions trend is very rare and could be of technical nature, for instance if a crawled site with a high number of mentions is not accessible any more. BLOCKING SOURCES However, such an anomaly in the trend could also be a warning sign, as a result of a developing crisis, which leads to more social media mentions. In most cases, it is worth it to have a closer look at individual results while observing the trend in mentions. With a look at an automatically generated tag-cloud, one can also identify terms, which are associated with the search terms. WHITE PAPER #1
  9. 9. Conversely, certain sources will definitely have to be included. The use of pre-defined source panels can be very useful in describing and setting goals of certain communication campaigns. 3.4. detecting false positive results Before proceeding with your analysis, you should check for false positive results and exclude them from your results list. For example, you are looking for mentions of a bookstore named „Bookworm“ and this will inevitably generate results that include this word not as a name, but also as the description for people who enjoy reading. SOURCE PANEL SETUP 3.5. sentiment For example: “In the time period X the client’s product shall be discussed by 80% of the blogs that their target group has defined as the relevant Top 30 blogs”. The Top 30 blogs can be classified in a separate source panel, thereby filtering the reporting results of this media type by one click of a button. 3.3. influence & Relevance Social media communication can’t quite get by without influence indicators - even if it is optimized to a very precise target group. In order to calculate the influence of online media, the number of page views per month is usually used. Naturally, not all sources can be evaluated by tracking the website itself, therefore social media monitoring tools use the data from external providers such as Alexa, as is the case for Talkwalker. Social media monitoring will be clearly more informative, if it takes into account both quantitative and qualitative factors for the evaluation. The most commonly used qualitative factor, which is also integrated as a feature in most social media monitoring tools, is the sentiment or “mood” of an article. The sentiment is derived by analyising the tone and attitude contained within the text of an article or mention. A classification of positive/neutral/negative will usually do the job. Many social media monitoring tools use use their own techniques and semantic analysis in order to classify sentiment results. However, you should not only rely on this, as no algorithm can ‚read between the lines‘ like a human being. Irony, sarcasm, ambiguity - often key ingredients of the social web - should not be excluded. Together with other factors, such as the frequency of interaction with the content of a source, a relevancy scoring can be proposed by the social media monitoring tool. For example, Talkwalker does does this by displaying a score ranging from 0 to 3 stars. This relevancy scoring can be updated at any time in order to prioritise the sources according to the goals of the communications campaign. It also facilitates a consistent ranking which can be used to analyse targeted results (e.g. „only show 3-star sources“). sentiment setting update relevancy scoring how to plan Social Media Monitoring 9
  10. 10. Therefore, there is no way around a consistent reexamination of the sentiment when qualifying the results. Outlook Do not underestimate the efforts this step can entail. Possibly hundreds, even thousands of sources previously classified as relevant, may have to be re-read and re-classified. A good social media monitoring tool should offer features that help with this task. Once you have planned and prepared the various steps outlined in this white paper and you continue to follow the process as part of your ongoing social media monitoring, you will be in a position to tackle the next steps, analysis and reporting, with good quality data. 3.6. Topics/categories We will cover analysis and reporting in future White Papers. There you will learn how to interpret trend charts, use tag clouds as trend indicators and identify your influencers. To further qualify the results and prepare for a deeper analysis, keyword topics or a categorisation are the next step. Topics could be different products of a company, but also their usage context. For example, a shampoo manufacturer might want to know which of their products are mentioned where, and how often. At the same time it could be useful to know whether shampoo “A“ is mentioned in context with “hair salon“ or “at home“. Until then, we recommend that you visit the Talkwalker blog: The blog features regular updates, tips and articles on topics related to social media monitoring. Also, to keep up to date on the latest developments, just follow us on Twitter: @Talkwalker Depending on the company, its products, its marketing/ communications strategy, these types of questions can be answered with the help of a hierarchical categorisation system. The detailed methodology for that is beyond the scope of this first white paper, but will be addressed in a future publication of this series. Below are a few suggestions on how to set up a basic categorisation system. In the Talkwalker tool, you can use the „tagging“ function to facilitate this. • Category “Author”: journalist, blogger, analyst, Facebook fan, Twitter follower, blog commentator etc. • Category “Topic”: product names, usage contexts, campaign themes, depending on the objectives • Category “Messages”: here you can describe the core messages, which are relevant to your communications objectives, with keywords • Category “Reference”: original article, guest article, comment, share, tweet / retweet etc. • Category “Influencer”: fan, advocate, observer, skeptic, critic, troll etc. WHITE PAPER #1
  11. 11. Cheat Sheet #1 How to plan social media monitoring This sheet summarises all important aspects of planning a successful social media monitoring project. SEARCH What am I looking for on the social web? Company or brand name Product name(s) Certain people Competitors (company, product) Topics QUALIFYING RESULTS What identifies a relevant search result? What languages are relevant? What sources should be scanned? (e.g. blogs, forums, social networks, benchmark portals, online magazines, news sites etc.) How should the sources be prioritized with regards to influence, relevance, engagement? In what context should the searched topics be related? PREPARING THE EVALUATION What are the criteria by which the results should be evaluated? Trends - Mentions over time (also in comparison with competitors, share of voice) Issues - Increase in number of keywords related to search terms Sentiment - Change in mood on the social web Type of media - Comparison of results after appearance (e.g. on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums etc.) Relevance/priority - Comparison of results after appearance, based on prioritised media (tier 1, tier 2, etc.) Categories - Evaluation according to campaign-specific classification such as topics, products, messages, article types, countries, etc. Persons - Identification of influencers, opinion-leaders, critics, fans, etc. Engagement - Evaluation of results based on number of shares, likes, comments, retweets, etc. © 2013 by Talkwalker – Created with Tapio Liller, Oseon. More about Talkwalker at, Twitter: @Talkwalker and Facebook:
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