Musings on the challenges of social media monitoring and analysis

Recently I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people about their social media monitoring pain points and challenges. Everyone knows and has been told many times about the opportunities offered by scanning the social media space for golden nuggets of information about your brand or company. And yes, it’s true – it can be a real eye opener. It sometimes reveals insight that results in actionable changes and improvements to a product or service. And yes – it does give you the chance to turn disgruntled customers into brand advocates. The list goes on…

All the above points are true but sometimes I think we fail to recognise or admit the challenges presented by social media monitoring and analysis. I’m sure there are many social media managers out there tearing their hair out thinking “do they have any idea how tricky it can be”?

Below I outline some social media monitoring hurdles and offer a few hints and tips to help ease the pain:

1. Pick the right tool and make it work for you

There’s a multitude of tools out of there and you need to make sure that you select one that will work best for you. Take a step back and think about what your objectives are and what you want to get out of your monitoring tool. It’s easy to be impressed by widgets and gadgets that you might end up never using. The user experience is key here, so it’s well worth asking for a free trial first.

2. Deploy staff with an eye for research and an aptitude for working with data

Remember – there is a reason why they are called social media ‘analysts’. You need to be comfortable working with data. Sharing the load between employees is a good tip. Social media never sleeps, so you need to set clear boundaries for people working in this area.

3. It takes time – configuration and analysis can’t be done in a rush 

Most social media monitoring tools are based on Boolean keyword configurations. This is not fool proof and in most cases requires further refining of data, which takes time. I’m a firm believer that detailed monitoring tool analysis needs to be manual. I’m yet to be wowed by the sentiment analysis capabilities on the market. It’s ever improving but it’s not yet something that can be relied on.

4. Get stuck in

Don’t get set up for the sake of it and then never get round to actually using the tool. Love your social media monitoring tool and don’t underestimate the value it might offer. Setting out workflow and reporting structures will help.

5. Have fun! 

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