Social Media Monitoring
What is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring is the act of monitoring social media for information relevant to your business. For example, you might want to know about:
- Brand mentions (with or without direct tagging, aka @mention)
- Relevant hashtags
- Mentions of your competitors
- General trends that apply to your industry
Social media monitoring helps you track key social metrics like brand awareness and social share of voice. You can also use this information to test messaging and measure ROI.
Once you start collecting this valuable data, you can use it to look for trends and insights.
what is it and why is it important?
What was once a literal cut-and-paste job—where workers scoured newspapers and magazines for mentions, cut out the articles, and pasted them into physical clipbooks—is now a modern and technologically advanced practice. It uses machine learning, sophisticated algorithms, and powerful processors to track, gather, and organize mentions from across the media landscape. Sure, the premise remains the same—to track a topic through the media—but the process has become infinitely more refined.
We’ve traded in our scissors for software.
Media monitoring is listening to who’s saying what about your brand, your competitors, your industry, and any other topic that’s important to you and your operations.
Pretty important, right?
But different organizations have different wants and needs when it comes to media monitoring.
There are many types of media monitoring solutions available, and these fall into three broad categories:
- Free or cheap options
- Paid media monitoring tools
- Premium monitoring services.
Five reasons to media monitor
Media monitoring is crucial to PR success.
There! We said it.
But really, it is.
The reason being that, when it comes to public relations, you can’t be in the dark about anything. You absolutely need to know what’s going on, not only with how your own organization is being presented and perceived, but with everything else too. You need to know what your competition is doing and where your industry is going.
And media monitoring provides that knowledge.
Here are a few specific reasons to monitor:
1. Understanding your target audience
When you monitor your market, you come to understand your target audience.
And by understanding your target audience, you can better relate to them and better communicate with them… which is pretty much the whole point of this PR thing, right?
It’s about knowing how they speak and understanding the language they use when they talk about the things that matter to you. When you monitor your market, you learn what they do and don’t care about, what they think about your competition, and what they love or hate about your product.
All this is to say, when you monitor your market, you can more effectively develop your communications so that you’re speaking directly to the people that matter to you.
2. Brand reputation and perception
Your reputation is what you trade on. And it’s only as strong as how your brand is perceived.
Now, how do you learn how your brand is perceived? Gold star if you said, “media monitoring.”
Media monitoring can help you identify potential crises and mitigate damage through a quick and intelligent response. It is also essential in creating an effective reputation management plan, allowing you to be proactive rather than just reactive.
And don’t forget—a picture is worth a thousand words. Your monitoring needs to include more than just text mentions. Images dominate the media. So it only makes sense that you should monitor your brand for visual coverage too. Even if there’s no text mention in the article, our image monitoring uses machine learning to identify objects or logos in an image, which means you’ll be able to unearth otherwise hidden coverage.
When you know what people are saying about you, you can respond thoughtfully, thereby increasing your transparency, your authenticity, and your positive relationships. The result: a better reputation.
3. Risk mitigation
No organization is immune from risk; it’s a fact of doing business. But whereas understanding and mitigating potential risk is usually the responsibility of several internal departments, hiring a media monitoring provider can centralize the workload by:
- Identifying supplier-related risk by monitoring media mentions of new/existing suppliers
- Monitoring potential risk from changes to the legislative landscape you operate within
- Keeping an eye on what competitors are saying to the market, and, in turn, what market perception is of them
4. Evaluating your efforts
A coverage over time chart from the Agility media monitoring dashboard
There comes a time in every professional’s life when they need to take a good, hard look at the work they do and objectively assess their performance.
For a PR pro, that day just so happens to come at the end of every campaign, if not more frequently.
Because if what you’re doing isn’t working, your boss or clients—or both—are going to want to see a change.
Media monitoring lets you know if your efforts are turning into results. Only by tracking your coverage will you know if you’re even getting any. Only by monitoring the media will you know if you’re earning it.
Evaluating your efforts is crucial in any role, but PR and comms pros are nothing if not competitive and ambitious—we know you’d rather be learning and evolving than falling behind.
5. Identifying journalists and influencers for outreach
When you monitor, you learn which journalists and influencers you should target.
If you find one who writes extensively on your competitors, you can reach out and show them what you do differently. If you find one who is not fully on your side, you can reach out and change their mind; the idea is that, in turn, they’ll change the minds of their readers.
Monitoring can identify:
- Journalists who often write about your market or industry and whose opinions carry clout with your target audience
- Individuals with large social media followings whom you can leverage to gather product feedback, or influence to review or endorse your offering. Don’t forget to include microinfluencers in your calculations
- Detractors who could spread negative or misleading information about you
It’s imperative to know who’s saying what and who’s listening to them before reaching out with your own contribution to the conversation.