Five Steps For Getting Started With Social Media Monitoring (for Alterian)
Five Steps for Getting Started with Social Media Monitoring Learn more about Alterian SM2 Social Media Monitoring at www.alterian.com/sm2
Introduction The social web has created many opportunities for brands to engage with their consumers online. People are talking about products and companies on blogs, social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, forums and message boards, and also on wikis. Listening to online conversation around your brand and competitors is very important. This document will outline the five steps for getting started.
Step 1: Identify Your Needs - What tools(s) are needed to accomplish your objectives and goals?. <ul><li>The first step is to identify your goals for monitoring online conversations. Initially it's important to get a baseline of what people are saying online about your company and product. Once this is set up you should also listen to conversations around your competitors and industry topics. There are many free tools that can be used to gather conversations. This is limiting because they generally only monitor one source such as blogs or Twitter. So a number of tools are required but it is difficult to aggregate, analyze and report on the information. </li></ul><ul><li>There are also many tools at various price points and the services that are </li></ul><ul><li>offered vary greatly. When trialing these products there are a number of things to consider: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>number of channels that information is being gathered from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ability to sort and analyze the data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>scalability of the tool (as your brand grows and you broaden the scope of your search) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>real time alerts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>options for reporting (high level down to actionable results) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>workflow </li></ul></ul>
Step 2: Setting-up the Searches This is the most challenging part of social media monitoring. Identifying keywords can be tricky. In an ideal world your company name and brand are unique, but that generally is not the case. So using "and" can greatly help to focus your search. It is also very helpful if the brand is well known. For example if your company name is “Method” it would be important to set up searches that include specific products. For example: “Method” and “aroma pill”. Exclude words that are not related to your search. For example you would want to exclude 'planet' when doing a keyword search for 'Saturn'. Stop words are another challenge when setting up searches. Words such as "a", "an", "the", "us", etc and numbers are not generally indexed. Searches ignore these words because they are not indexed. So it is important to use phrases when these words are involved. Boolean searches are generally offered for creating advanced keyword searches. These can be used with parentheses in an infinite number of ways to create complex searches. Here are the most common options: 'or', 'and not', wildcard put at the end of a word *(bath* = bath, bathroom, bathing, bathtub, etc)
Step 3: Refine the Search – Reduce, Noise and Spam After the search results are returned they need to be reviewed. It is important to optimize the searches so that the tool efficiently gathers only the conversations that you are interested in. The goal is to identify unrelated results and spam. This will also help you to focus your keyword searches to target. The strategy for reducing unwanted results will depend on the number of search results. If it's a few hundred then they can be scanned fairly quickly. Some quicker ways to do it when working with larger amounts of data is to use the tag cloud and look at results that are totally unrelated to your needs. Delete them and note the terms so that you can exclude it in your keyword searches. Spam primarily originates from specific URL addresses. The quickest way to identify that is reviewing the domains and counts specific to each. Spam really varies depending on the industry topic. It's best to ignore the URLs at the top level domain. In some cases you also may not be interested in information from certain sources such as wikis. Those can also be ignored.
Step 4: Review Results, Identify Trends and Subcategorize the Results include spam and unrelated information then you are able to start analyzing them. The tool should provide you with ways to view the conversations in a number of ways. It should provide you with the information to accomplish your goals at both a high level down to granular reports that are actionable. As you are reviewing the information you may see trends that cause you to want to subdivide the conversations for further analysis. Maybe you would like to see a list of the influencers from the a particular region or city because your product is very popular there? Or maybe a new term has been coined and you need to look at the search results related to only that term to see how main stream it has become. Or maybe you have identified a new use of your product and would like to take a look at the conversations for a potential new market?
Step 5: Reporting and Responding <ul><li>The tool should provide reports that offer something for all business levels. It's important to be able to create high level reports for management and the executive level. There needs to be a broad range of reporting options so that the conversations can be analyzed and trends considered. Finally there should be reports that the user receives on a regular basis. These reports should be actionable. It's also important to have real time alerts for brand building and crisis management situations. </li></ul><ul><li>Once you get the tool set up, then you can create a workflow that will enable you and your staff to utilize the information on a regular basis. After listening and analyzing the conversations for a period of time you will be able to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a strategy for engaging with those talking about your brand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benchmark the online conversations and establish metrics for measuring your engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Social media monitoring is becoming just as insightful and imperative as web analytics are. As with any endeavor it is important to use the right tool to accomplish your work in an effective and efficient manner. Start listening to the conversations happening over social media using an Alterian SM2 Freemium account (http://sm2.techrigy.com). SM2 gives you complete monitoring and analysis of social media for an unlimited period of time. </li></ul>
Five Steps for Getting Started with Social Media Monitoring For further information about about Alterian SM2 Social Media Monitoring at www.alterian.com/sm2 Follow us on Twitter #Alterian