Social media monitoring, social media listening, and brand tracking are three terms that many people use interchangeably.
However, there are some differences between them. What do they mean?
Social media monitoring involves monitoring your social media for posts or messages that are directly related to your brand and responding accordingly to each of them.
Social media listening means paying attention to all the conversations on social media relevant to your industry and your brand and capitalizing on them to enhance your campaign strategy.
Brand Tracking focuses on analyzing the public perception of your brand AFTER you have launched a campaign designed to influence this perception.
Basically, social media monitoring tells you WHAT people are talking about, social media listening tells you WHY, and brand tracking helps you understand HOW your specific campaigns are influencing the discourse.
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It is common knowledge that social media is the top channel for brands looking to connect with their audience better. With social media monitoring, brands can find conversations they can join, kicking off these connections.
Some of the benefits of social media monitoring include:
If you ignore social media mentions, you are leaving behind important business information that could have an impact on your decision-making.
You need to ensure your social media managers or customer care agents are always on top of all social media mentions, controlling the conversation around your brand name.
The first step to quality social media monitoring is to consolidate your brand’s social accounts into one platform to simplify the monitoring process.
The second step is to set up all the necessary alerts that will notify the right personnel once your brand is mentioned. Don’t forget to set alerts for mentions that don’t tag the username.
This is important because only 9% of customers will directly tag your brand in messages or posts.
Also, you need to set alerts for misspellings, and mentions of your top products. By tracking these alerts, your social media team will stay on top of all mentions—solving problems on the spot where possible and forwarding other important messages up the chain to the right departments in your organization.
In social media listening, the conversation goes beyond your brand to the industry at large. It ensures you understand the motivations behind your social media mentions and helps you to optimize your marketing strategies.
Are the customers in your niche quitting a competitor because of high prices? Are there people looking for specific products in your niche that they can’t find elsewhere?
These are some of the underlying reasons why your brand will receive mentions. By listening closely, you will make more sense of interactions and take full advantage.
Excellent social media listening will not only improve your marketing; it can help you improve your content strategy, find influencers in your niche, and unlock new in-roads to beating your competition.
Proper social media listening can be difficult and will often require the use of elaborate third-party solutions. So what should you do?
In brand tracking, the focus is on measuring changes in a brand’s perception over a defined period.
It shows the success or failure of investments into brand strategies and helps to fine-tune future decisions.
With brand tracking, marketers monitor the health of the brand and gain insights into the overall effectiveness of the company’s marketing programs.
Unlike social media listening and monitoring, brand tracking goes beyond social media and pays attention to other forms of media, especially in the press.
The goal of each brand tracking campaign will differ, but some of the general goals are covered below:
When users are discussing brands in your industry, does your brand come up? How frequently?
Brand awareness measures if your business is top-of-mind during conversations in your niche. Such businesses have more clientele than those that are only merely recognized.
The goal here is to monitor your audience’s shopping behavior and preferences and also find out your share of the consumer’s spending.
If you run a telecom brand, for example, and a user only ever talks about using your service, it shows you hold a large share of their telecom spending.
How is your brand perceived by your target audience? Do they think your products are unnecessarily expensive? Do they think you offer high-quality customer service? Are there any bad perceptions of doing the rounds? That you need to nip in the bud?
A good example of how brand perception is important is how the allegations of harassment and hostility damaged Uber’s reputation between 2015 and 2016.
The situation helped some of their competitors like Lyft to gain a foothold in the industry at Uber’s expense. Some experts believe this is one of the reasons why Uber has been unable to make a profit to date.
Brand perception is important because it is powerful enough to make some of your customers shut off your brand message even before they have received them.
This measures the likelihood of prospects in your niche switching to your brand. It is another good way of measuring brand health.
Brand tracking requires more expertise to initiate and complete, so it is usually not the job of your social media desk and may require the input of B2B brands designed for this purpose alone.
Although these three approaches are different in some ways, they hold many similar advantages. Some of these are covered below:
These approaches to staying in touch with your audience allow you to generate honest feedback about your business. Some of the things you can expect to find out include:
The feedback may not always be positive. Engage with your happy customers and try to solve the complaints of unhappy ones. Digest the comments and see if it can help you to reevaluate your business processes.
To provide effective customer support, you need to jump in front of your audience’s problems. By the time they are at the stage of sending support emails, the damage has been done already.
If you have set-up real-time alerts, you will find angry customers quicker and relieve their frustration in the best way possible. Such active customer service doesn’t just help retain their patronage; it could also be excellent social proof that attracts other users.
Social listening, social monitoring, and brand tracking can help to position your business in front of your target audience. By staying in direct contact with them, you can generate high-quality organic leads in the future.
Like we mentioned above, your interactions with your customers on social media are excellent social proof.
It gives other users who are yet to interact with your brand a glimpse into what your business is all about, and what your existing customers think about your products and services.
This is why it is important for you to use social listening, monitoring, and brand tracking to stay in control of the narratives around your business.
Social listening especially is a great way to stay in touch with industry trends and insights into your competition.
If you have set up all the necessary brand names and industry-related keywords, you will stay in touch with discussions around all your competing brands.
This will give you a peek into their newest strategies and could form the basis of your next campaigns. You can also use this approach to attract new leads.
For example, if many people are complaining about the shipping fees for a competing eCommerce business, you can create snap marketing campaigns offering free shipping to customers in the niche and joining the conversation using hashtags, blog posts, and more.
Social media listening and monitoring can help you to identify users that are always talking about your brand in a positive light, as well as those that gain the most traction with their conversations around your business.
You can reach out to this group of people with campaigns, encouraging them to continue spreading the word about your brand.
You can also poach advocates of other brands in your niche. Provide them with your products or services and show them how you are better than the competition.
Social listening, social monitoring, and brand tracking are important if you want to keep the pulse on what your audience thinks about your brand. It is not enough that you are delivering excellent services. Do your customers agree?
Are your products and services solving the problems you intended to deal with? Are there aspects of your business processes hurting your brand that you don’t know about?
These are just some of the insights you can glean from these three approaches. However, it is important to avoid overextending. If you can only afford social monitoring right now, focus on it fully. You can gradually expand to social listening and brand tracking as your business grows.
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