Listening Beyond Keywords


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This white paper discusses the art and science of listening of social media monitoring.

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Listening Beyond Keywords

  2. 2. About PostRankPostRank Inc. monitors and collects social engagement events with online content in real-timeacross the web. PostRank gathers where and when stories generates comments, bookmarks,tweets, and other forms of interaction from a host of social hubs. Publishers and peopleinterested in their content can then use PostRank analysis to gauge influence and reach withaudiences.PostRank is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and has clients in over 150 countries worldwide.PostRank MethodologyPostRank indexes and analyzes millions of new articles and stories on a daily basis and monitorsover 25 popular social hubs and each day tracks more than 15 million user engagementactivities in real-time.PAGE 1 © POSTRANK™ INC. 2011 WWW.POSTRANK.COM | DATA.POSTRANK.COM
  3. 3. Big ears hear lots of noise.There’s a lot of chatter in social media. Online consumer activity and communities continue togrow, and, by extension, so does the volume and variety of their conversations.These conversations can get loud, but loud doesn’t mean there’s always depth or relevance tothem. Actively listening to the conversations and commentary relevant to you isn’t going to getany easier, unless you approach it intelligently.People are talking about your brand, your clients, your competitors, and your industry. Youknow that you need to listen, analyze, and respond. You know that you can’t give equalattention to all of these mentions. You need to monitor in a way that is at the same time preciseand truly comprehensive.It is possible. You can find the important and relevant online conversations to glean theintelligence you need. Presented here are a few ideas to consider when exploring social mediamonitoring and modes of listening.You don’t know what you don’t know.Using monitoring tools to capture the right conversations online has been an art, and a verymanual one at that. Monitoring has also traditionally been very expensive in terms of money,time, and human resources. However, many hope to master this art because there is so muchbusiness value in the intelligence available from social media.Keyword searches – sometimes multitudes of them – have been perhaps the most obvious andcertainly most common way of listening. Mentions of your company’s and competitors’ brands,products, and services; campaigns; industry events... There is no end to the compilations ofkeywords on which you can spend time and money.Building a truly exhaustive keyword search is, clearly, an unattainable goal. Many of usendeavor to do this, but we can’t be sure we have discovered all of the conversations thatmatter. New products, new brands, new events – for which we do not yet know the names –can be left out of a keyword search. Additionally, many companies search for terms that theyuse in describing their business, which aren’t necessarily the same as the terms that consumersare using.PAGE 2 © POSTRANK™ INC. 2011 WWW.POSTRANK.COM | DATA.POSTRANK.COM
  4. 4. We need to supplement keyword-based monitoring in order to effectively discover newinformation about brands, competitors, and industries, as well as the “consumer speak”conversations. We also need to use traditional media and website monitoring to gleanintelligence from online conversations beyond the constraints of keywords.One of the biggest challenges of keyword-based listening is that it is a battle between an ever-proliferating volume of social media information and the processing power of the human brain.A battle the brain predictably loses. We are simply not wired to acknowledge, sort, judge, anddetermine action on that voluminous a fire hose of data.As a result, we make choices and educated guesses. Listening here, responding there, and oftenspreading our attention too thin and applying it to the wrong conversations. We remain unsureof the quality and breadth of our listening and whether we have heard and captured all thevital online conversations.How can we break the cycle of partial listening to what we already know and respond to whatwe think is important, to win the battle over this magnitude of social media information?Alternatives to keyword-based listening are a worthwhile consideration. The clue to thesealternatives may be found in content.If a URL could speak, what would it tell you?Content is king and the realm of social media is no exception. Content – especially the contentyou produce – sparks conversations about your brand and defines their topics and directionContent coalesces and shapes online communities, assembling millions of people on millionsof sites into groups focused on shared interests. Content bridges websites and social media,bringing your potential customers from Twitter and Facebook to your website. Remove contentfrom social media and the business value disappears. Content rules the realm of social media,and it is wise to follow the king.Extending the metaphor, your king needs an intelligent advisor, which is where listening andmonitoring tools come in. Tools that analyze content across the social web, not just where youthink conversations are taking place. Tools that enable clear insights into the conversationsaffecting your brand and measurement of the health of your content.PAGE 3 © POSTRANK™ INC. 2011 WWW.POSTRANK.COM | DATA.POSTRANK.COM
  5. 5. With URL-based content monitoring you will achieve precision unattainable by keyword-basedmonitoring. Any piece of content published online is intrinsically connected to a unique URL.By following URLs in your monitoring you will always be following the exact piece of contentyou should be monitoring and listening only to the conversations happening around it. Noneed to add additional filtering to pinpoint relevant conversations.Add some hard data to the art of social media monitoring and listen to what your URLs aretelling you. Feel confident that you have captured all the conversations that matter on yourwebsites, competitors’ websites, and sites with important industry news. Discover unmetcustomer needs or disconnects between your brand alignment and target audience.Every navigator needs a map.When you build your social media monitoring strategy on listening to these domains, youwill learn more about not only what you already knew, but discover new information, newterminology, and what consumers truly think and talk about. You will also be able to trackcontent from point of origin to points of proliferation across the social web. The result will bea map of the roads on which your content is being transported and key influencers helping tomove it along.This mapping will provide two essential points of insight. First, the secret life of your owncontent will be revealed. You will be able to distinguish which content is successful, where, andwith what audiences, and which content fails to engage audiences on the social web. You willknow what topics and styles of content to ramp up on, which could use tweaking, and which toweed out.Second, you will also be able to map and effectively tell the story of the lifecycle of yourcompetitors’ content. You will be able to identify their communities and influencers, theircontent strongholds, and points of proliferation. This will enable you to more intelligentlyposition your content.PAGE 4 © POSTRANK™ INC. 2011 WWW.POSTRANK.COM | DATA.POSTRANK.COM
  6. 6. The URL is a digital lynchpin.Social media monitoring can be done with much greater efficiency, and without anoverwhelming need for resources. URL-based monitoring enables you to learn who youraudience is, where they congregate on the social web, what content of yours resonates withthem, and how they engage with it. More broadly, you learn who the influencers are, stayinformed about your competitors and the latest industry news, and find where the greatestopportunities for growth are on the social web.Turning your social media monitoring into the science of precision listening is now anattainable goal. Follow the content with URL-based techniques and learn how your contentengages audiences on the social web. Find your influencers, your opportunities for socialgrowth online, and stay informed about your competitors and about the latest news. Listen towhat matters. Hear what consumers have to say. Do what your customers want.PAGE 5 © POSTRANK™ INC. 2011 WWW.POSTRANK.COM | DATA.POSTRANK.COM
  7. 7. PostRank Inc. monitors and collects social engagement events withonline content in real-time across the web. PostRank gathers where andwhen stories generate comments, bookmarks, tweets, and other forms ofinteraction from a host of social hubs. Publishers and people interested intheir content can then use PostRank analysis to gauge influence and reachwith audiences.Based in Waterloo, Ontario, PostRank offers a collection of Industry Reportsfor customers who are interested in monthly content and engagementdata for specific industry verticals. These reports are important to thosewho understand the value of social engagement and want to enable moreeffective engagement with their customers and audiences. PostRank alsooffers Custom Reporting solutions and Data Services APIs to further exploreand understand how and where audiences are engaging with relevantstories across a variety of social hubs.For more information visit:http://data.postrank.comContact Us:Peter Frisella, Business DevelopmentE: peter@postrank.comP: (519) 514-0064 x223A: 505-180 King Street South Waterloo, ON N2J 1P8INTELLIGENCE FROM THE SOCIAL WEB