Within the scope of business, the applications of social media are seemingly endless. The advent of instantaneously connecting with customers across the world requires modern approaches that keep your customers at the top of your priority list.
But how do brands stay connected to customers? Enter social media monitoring.
In this article, we’re taking a look at what social media monitoring is and why your business needs a social media strategy to see the maximum ROI from your efforts.
What is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring features the actions you typically associate with social media, like replying to customer questions and messages to chiming in on comments and threads. Effective social media monitoring is the component of a social media strategy that builds community, connects you to customers, and resolves customer issues.
Take Instagram, for example, which has over 1 billion active users. 90% of those users follow a business account of some kind. With that much content pouring into users’ feeds, outstanding content will only take you so far. Establishing connections through customer engagement in a timely way is essential to any effective reputation management.
But social media monitoring goes beyond replying to direct mentions of your business. You need to look at what your customers are saying beyond the mention. This could be a mention of your product or service in a social post without tagging you, or it could be through a variation of your name.
Without a social media monitoring strategy in place, a post like this might slip through the cracks. Untagged content is just as valuable as tagged content because it contributes to the bigger picture of how your business is perceived online.
What are the benefits of social media monitoring?
Staying on top of your social media mentions, messages, and comments can feel overwhelming—especially when you’re monitoring several channels.
But the ROI of monitoring far surpasses the time spent monitoring your channels.
Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of social media monitoring.
Build relationships with your customers
When customers want to learn about a brand, they go directly to their favorite social media channels.
In 2019, social media users spent an average of 144 minutes per day on their favorite platforms. Because people spend so much time on these platforms, social media is one of the best ways to forge relationships with your customers.
If you’re present where your customers are and are actively engaging with them, you’ll spark a sense of community among your fans.
Take this customer exchange from Ulta Beauty, for example:
(Source: Ulta Beauty on Instagram)
Ulta’s social media monitoring enables them to promptly answer customer questions, which makes customers feel heard, but it could lead to a sale as well.
Stay in the loop on important customer conversations
In many ways, social media is a modern-day forum. People are always offering up their opinions and thoughts—whether solicited or not. Although this may occasionally induce hair pulling episodes, it creates access to your customers in real-time.
This Instagram post from rock gym, Planet Rock, is an excellent example of tuning into customer conversations:
(Source: Planet Rock on Instagram)
In this simple example, Planet Rock can chime into member conversations, answer questions, and get a general sense of how people feel about specific topics. Your social media channels are great for keeping a pulse on your customers’ conversations, whether they are about your business or not.
Learn about what your customers think about your business
Customer reviews and ratings are some of the most critical insights businesses can glean.
And a significant percentage of customers trust customer reviews and opinions just as much as they would close family and friends. A study from the Spiegel Research Center found that about 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.
However, collecting reviews without leveraging them doesn’t do much for your bottom line. Monitoring your reviews and replying where necessary enables you to solve customer issues and learn how your customers feel about your business.
The Facebook page of Maui Brewing Company is a great example of the power of responding to reviews on social media:
(Source: Maui Brewing Company on Facebook)
By replying to customer reviews fosters a sense of community, and makes customers feel seen and heard. It also can help you identify areas of improvement with your product or service.
How to create a social media monitoring strategy
A lot goes into a successful social media monitoring strategy.
But what exactly is it?
Simply put, a social media monitoring strategy is what you want to achieve with social media monitoring and how you plan to do so.
From determining high customer activity times to considering appropriate tones to take with upset customers, developing and sticking to your strategy is critical. Once you have your plan in place and stick to it, you’ll start to see results.
Let’s take a look at how you can do just that.
Complete your social media profiles
First thing’s first: Make sure you have claimed your social media profiles and that they’re complete.
You want to make sure customers are easily able to find your social channels. Verifying and completing your profiles is a great way to do so. If customers aren’t sure if a page belongs to you, it will be significantly challenging to encourage them to leave reviews, respond to posts, and more.
Note: It’s important to claim the location-level profiles as well on platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business.
For example, should a customer stumble upon a similarly named—but unverified page—and leave a bad review about their experience, you have no means to rectify the negative review. Like it or not, any poorly managed online interaction has real-world, bottom-line repercussions.
You can find step-by-step instructions on how to verify your social media channels below:
Create a universal response document
Does thinking of responses to customer messages and comments give you anxiety? Does that feeling prevent you from replying to customers in the first place?
Or perhaps you don’t have enough time in the first place to dedicate to social media monitoring.
However, there are ways around this feeling.
A universal response document that includes canned responses for any situation can save you the headache of thinking of a reply and takes the emotion out of your response. Additionally, this can help you work through a higher volume of messages, so you don’t overwhelm yourself. A document like this assures that your messaging is consistent and on-brand.
Be careful not to come across as disingenuous, though. To mitigate this, use your canned responses as a foundation when interacting with customers. Changing up your responses per customer situation and personalizing where appropriate can reduce your chance of a backfire.
Be consistent with your monitoring
Social media doesn’t sleep. Therefore, it’s essential to regularly keep a close eye on your social media channels for a few reasons:
- Avoid missing out on opportunities to interact with customers
- Be timely with your responses, especially with questions or negative reviews
- Monitor what customers are saying and how they interact with your content
Social media monitoring tools are a great way to do this. Instead of checking each channel individually, you can see all your messages in one place. Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer are great for this.
Consider hiring an online reputation management team
Monitoring your social media channels can feel overwhelming. But the good news is that you don’t have to go it alone.
More businesses are recognizing the importance of social media monitoring and are choosing to outsource to teams specializing in this component of marketing.
Hiring an online reputation management team takes the pressure off you and your team to respond to customers on social media. A dedicated team ensures you don’t miss a message or opportunity to connect with a customer while maintaining your brand’s consistency across all channels and pages in real-time.
Social media monitoring is essential to reputation management
No matter your product or service, you can safely assume that your customers are talking about their experience with your business on social media.
Social media monitoring helps you see what customers are saying, and it enables you to join the conversation.
Looking for assistance with your social media monitoring? Our team can help. Contact us today, and our team will help you find the right solution.