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Mastering Social Media Monitoring: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Viral Nation | 9 mins read |

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives and it has significantly changed how businesses interact with customers and the general public. Recent studies suggest that people spend nearly a third of their online activity on social media. 

As a result, social media monitoring has become essential for staying ahead of the competition and to continue engaging your customers effectively. But with so much emphasis on social media and how fast a mistake or blunder can spread online, this means managing and protecting your brand reputation is more important than ever. 

Using various social media monitoring tools and strategies allows social media marketers to manage their online presence more effectively while also giving peace of mind that they won’t go viral for the wrong reasons. By the end of this guide, whether you are using social media as a small business owner, a social media manager, or an aspiring content creator, you should have a solid understanding of the benefits and best practices of effective social media monitoring.

What is social media monitoring?

In today's digital age, social media has become an integral part of people's lives, with more than 4.8 billion users worldwide. Major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok have revolutionized how people interact and communicate, providing a global network for creators and businesses to connect with their audience.

Social media monitoring is the process of tracking and analyzing social media mentions and activities across multiple platforms for a brand or topic. It enables individuals and businesses to gain valuable insights into their audience, stay ahead of trends, and manage their reputations effectively.

The power of social media monitoring in today's digital landscape

One of the biggest benefits of social media monitoring is the ability to identify trends. By tracking relevant online conversations, keywords, and hashtags, your brand can stay current with the latest news and updates and adjust your social media strategy accordingly. This way, you can reach new audiences, increase engagement, and maintain an edge over the competition.

Effective social media monitoring can also help you address any negative feedback promptly and efficiently. By tracking comments and reviews online, you can identify any issues or concerns your customers may have and take action to resolve them proactively before it reaches your boss, or worse, starts to damage your brand. This responsiveness will help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty because it makes them feel seen and heard while also preventing their negative feedback from affecting your brand.

Proper social media monitoring will help your brand in many aspects, including: 

  • Crisis prevention and management 
  • Reporting and analyzing social media data for competitive insights 
  • Ensuring brand safety

Monitoring also plays an invaluable role in honing your public relations strategies, collaborating with influencers and content creators, and HR screening to find the best candidates to join your team.

Social media monitoring vs. social listening

Social media monitoring and social listening are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

Social media monitoring involves tracking social media activity on a smaller scale, while social media listening is more about the bigger picture and how people talk about your brand, offerings, and your overall industry — including your competitors.

Uncovering the core goals of social media monitoring

Social media monitoring is about keeping your customers happy and keeping an eye on what’s happening online to ensure you’re always up-to-date.

By knowing what's hot and what's not in your industry or among your audience, you can incorporate what they are talking about, what hashtags they're using, or who they're following into your own social media strategies. Things change and move so rapidly on social media that being able to tweak your content, campaigns, and messaging on the fly is a huge advantage as you constantly need to adapt to better accomplish your goals and connect with your audience.

Key components of social media monitoring

Effectively monitoring your brand's online presence

Plenty of social media monitoring tools are available online to help you monitor and track your social media presence. From tracking your personal page's stats and analytics to providing more comprehensive monitoring that can handle larger enterprises. 

Free tools like Google Trends and Google Alerts can also be used to see what keywords people use and track mentions of any topic across the web, including blogs, review sites, news sites, and forums.

But one important thing to remember is to never underestimate the value of conducting manual, exploratory searches. While it doesn’t fit all use cases due to a lack of scalability (and it can be very time-consuming), you can sometimes come across exciting, new things to talk about simply by scrolling through the current trends or latest news yourself.

At the end of the day, the engagement metrics can answer the 'what' question, but there's an art in finding out the 'why'.

Gauging emotions and opinions through sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is the process of determining the emotions or opinions behind online mentions, comments, and reviews. It can help businesses understand how their customers or potential customers feel about their products, services, or brand. Sentiment analysis can also help find out what people think about different topics, trends, or events. 

If you’re dealing with large amounts of data, sentiment analysis is often done with the help of a machine learning technique called natural language processing (NLP). 

Solutions such as Viral Nation_Secure™ can process massive amounts of human-written text and categorize posts as either positive, neutral, or negative to give you a better idea of what people are saying online with real-time and detailed reports about your brand’s performance.

Get an edge with competitor analysis

Competitor analysis is crucial for ensuring you stay ahead of the game because it helps you figure out what your rivals are up to and how you can do it better than them. 

To monitor your competitors' social media activity, look at their engagement metrics, keywords used, and content strategies. This means keeping tabs on how many people engage with their social media posts, what types of content they share, and how often they post to better understand what's working for them and what's not.

This analysis will provide you the knowledge to identify content gaps, unique selling points, and figure out what your competitors aren't doing or not doing well. Then, you can step in to fill those gaps and do those things even better. 

For example, if you notice your competitors aren't using Instagram Reels, you could take advantage of that and start creating more Reels to differentiate yourself.

Engaging audiences by leveraging social media trends

Trend identification helps you stay relevant and incorporating the current trends into your social media strategy will increase engagement and visibility. Here are some tips you can apply to your brand:

  • Identify the trends that are relevant to your brand and your audience by using hashtags, trending topics, and analytics tools
  • Create content and join in on conversations that relate to the trends and provide value, insight, or entertainment to your audience
  • Be mindful of the context and tone of the trend and make sure your content aligns with your brand voice and values
  • Track and measure your social media performance and identify emerging trends and opportunities

Social media monitoring for crisis prevention

Nothing is immune to Murphy’s law, which states everything that can go wrong will go wrong (and at the worst possible time). This is especially true in the era of social media, where news can be everywhere in a matter of seconds. A single mistake and everything can go sideways in an instant, where one bad tweet from an employee or customer could tarnish your brand’s image and reputation to the point of making news headlines, getting boycotted, or even being review-bombed into oblivion. 

With proper social media monitoring, you can prevent this from happening, or at the very least, be prepared to respond swiftly if it does happen. By monitoring social media conversations and mentions, you can identify potential crises early and take action to prevent escalation. Social media listening tools can also help you develop a crisis response plan, including assigning roles, establishing communication channels, and providing clear guidelines for handling different types of crises.

To effectively manage a crisis, you need to be proactive in monitoring social media activity. Look out for spikes in negative sentiment, unusual activity, or sudden increases in brand mentions. Identifying potential crises early allows you to swiftly mitigate their impact and prevent further damage.

Reporting and analyzing social media data

Reporting and analyzing social media data is essential for measuring success and optimizing your social media strategy. Social media analytics and reporting can provide insights into customer engagement, brand awareness, and other key metrics. 

There are several ways to visualize and present social media data effectively. Charts, graphs, and dashboards can help you quickly understand key trends and metrics while identifying areas for improvement. 

To visualize and present your social media data effectively, take note of some of the tips below:

  • Know your audience and tailor your presentation to their needs and expectations
  • Choose the right type of visualization for your data, whether it’s a bar chart, line chart, pie chart, or heat maps
  • Use colors, icons, images, and other visual aids to make your data more appealing and memorable
  • Focus on the relevant metrics that align with your social media goals and objectives, such as reach, engagement, sentiment, or conversions
  • Use dashboards to display multiple data visualizations in one place and provide a quick overview of your social media performance

Ensuring brand safety and reputation

Ensuring brand safety across the major social media channels is essential for maintaining a positive image online. Your company should implement content guidelines and monitor comments to ensure that your brand is represented positively.

Here are some tips for ensuring brand safety and improving reputation management:

  • Avoid invalid traffic, fake news, and low-quality content that could damage your brand image or waste your ad budget
  • Use keyword blocking, whitelisting, and blacklisting to control where your ads appear and avoid inappropriate or irrelevant contexts
  • Find suitable and relevant content for your ads that aligns with your brand voice and values
  • Monitor your brand mentions and sentiment on social media and other platforms and respond to customer feedback, complaints, and praises
  • Work with trusted partners and platforms that prioritize media security and quality scanning for native and programmatic ads

Additional applications of social media monitoring

Leveraging social media monitoring for PR success

Social media monitoring can inform public relations strategies by providing valuable insights into customer sentiment, identifying key influencers, and tracking media coverage. 

By monitoring social media conversations and sentiments related to a brand or industry, marketers can understand how their brand is perceived and adjust their messaging accordingly. 

They can also use social media monitoring to build relationships with influencers to promote their brand. In addition, social media monitoring can also help businesses identify opportunities to engage with journalists and reporters.

Building a strong personal brand through monitoring

Social media monitoring is crucial in building and maintaining a strong personal brand and establishing yourself as a thought leader. You can also monitor your social media profiles to ensure you are presenting a consistent and professional image, and compare what you’re doing against the competition.

Social media monitoring will also help further your personal brand because it will guide your overall content strategy. It will show you how people are responding to your content, and then you’ll be able to identify your most popular posts and the platforms where you get the most engagement so you can double down and concentrate on those channels and types of content for accelerated growth.

Enhancing HR processes with social media monitoring

Companies can also use social media monitoring as part of their hiring process to ensure a good cultural fit, as well as for ongoing employee assessments. 

Monitoring social media can also give you insights into the personalities, behavior, and interests of employees and job candidates, which can not only help your company attract and hire the right people but also retain the employees who align with your company culture and values. 

One of the best solutions for social media screening and monitoring is Viral Nation_Secure™, which can help prevent costly social media mistakes and ensure companies bring the right people on board for their organization and social media collaborations.

Optimize your social media monitoring strategy with Viral Nation_Secure™

By now, you should have a better understanding of the importance of social media monitoring for your brand, the effectiveness of using the right tools to monitor social media, as well as how critical the process is to succeed in the digital age.

Implementing a comprehensive social media monitoring solution is essential to gaining insights and driving success in the digital landscape. By monitoring social media channels and the web to gain a comprehensive understanding of what is being said about your brand online, you can then use this information to improve your marketing, customer service, and PR strategies.

To elevate your social media monitoring strategy, consider Viral Nation_Secure™, an all-in-one solution for brand safety, reputation management, and advanced AI-powered multi-platform monitoring. With detailed reporting and customizable risk tolerance settings, Viral Nation_Secure™ can cater to whatever your brand needs.
Visit the Viral Nation_Secure™ page for more information and start protecting your brand's reputation today!

_About the author
Viral Nation

Viral Nation is a new media innovation group that powers the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. As pioneers in the influencer space, Viral Nation is comprised of a full-service creative agency, a creator and athlete-influencer representation agency, and a technology division creating modern marketing solutions for the social media age.