By Brenda Caine, Content4Demand
With the advent of social media, everybody has access to a digital megaphone that allows them to blast their thoughts and opinions to millions of people. And some of that chatter is about our brands. With billions of messages swarming around the cybersphere, how can we nail down what people are saying about us? How can we listen in on those conversations to get deeper insights regarding how people are responding to our messages and our brand?
As content marketers, we want to create content that resonates with our audience. Traditional metrics such as number of email clicks, downloads and whether downloads turn into conversations with sales give us a high-level understanding of whether our messaging is effective. But these metrics don’t give us much insight into exactly how our messages are being received so that we can refine them.
There’s a wealth of insight out there, just floating in the social stratosphere. It’s just a matter of capturing it, analyzing it and turning it into actionable information.
A social monitoring tool can help you track the overall reach of your content and brand messaging, giving you insight into number of “likes,” retweets and other metrics. Yet the greater value lies in the more qualitative feedback these tools can uncover. We can see what people are doing with our messages. We can see how messages are amplified and the additional comments and feedback that’s being shared. We can also determine whether these comments are positive or negative.
With social monitoring, we can turn real-time qualitative data into opportunities to connect with our followers and, most importantly, adjust our messaging to align more closely with our target audience and their preferences.
Find the Right Tool for Your Business
There are lots of tools out there, so you’re sure to find one that fits your needs and your budget with a little research. Here’s a small sample:
- HootSuite: Good for small and medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises. HootSuite offers analytics tools that allow you to listen, identify influencers and engage. The only caveat from a PCMag review is that the add-ons could make this much more expensive than planned.
- Sprout Social: Allows you to easily monitor all common social media sites in one inbox. It provides visual reports and allows you to monitor by keywords.
- Brandwatch: Abhijeet Kotwal at Digital Monster calls this The Holy Grail of social media monitoring. Brandwatch helps benchmark sentiment, evaluate campaign efficiency and identify marketing opportunities.
- Sysomos: Offers access to all social conversations from one interface called Heartbeat. Provides lots of demographics and the ability to communicate with key influencers.
- Mention: This tool’s biggest advantage is that it gives you the ability to multi-task and create in-depth reports. You can monitor as well as respond to social mentions in real time. It also offers technology that learns from individual behavior to eliminate unwanted noise and reduce manual tasks.
How do you find the right tool for your needs? Is social a big part of your promotion and amplification strategy? What networks do your target personas turn to? What’s the most accurate way to measure and track feedback? What are your challenges when it comes to social: Tracking, sharing, responding?
If social is a major component of your content marketing strategy, look for tools that help you monitor in real time so you can track sentiment, identify influencers and actively engage in conversations as they happen.
If social is more of an amplification strategy for content marketing that revolves around lead gen and nurture campaigns, then you should look for a tool that allows you to easily monitor all the shares, follows and retweets from a single portal and report on what’s happening.
If analytics and reporting is essential, find a tool that offers in-depth reporting and easy-to-create dashboards and reports.
The bottom line is that we can’t monitor vast social networks manually. It’s time to take advantage of the tools out there that can monitor billions of messages at once and allow us to drill down on the information that’s relevant to our content marketing efforts. The result is the ability to get your arms around what people are saying and how to craft content that they want and need. And that will turn into better ROI on all our content marketing efforts.
People will talk. Are you listening?
Brenda Caine is a content strategist for Content4Demand. She enjoys the challenge of developing effective content marketing strategy for B2B clients as well as writing content. She fell into marketing for technology companies by accident when she landed a temporary job for a data backup company in San Diego at age 24, deciding to make it a full-time career when the opportunity arose. When she’s not immersed in technology, you can find her dancing in the ballet studio, lifting weights at the gym or strolling down the avenue in a 1930s dress with a smart hat to match.