Social media monitoring is the practice of gathering and overseeing public activity on social media. Monitoring tools are designed to aggregate publicly available data from multiple networks, and display it in a format that is digestible by the end user.
Social media monitoring tools pull information from a range of social networks as well as some traditional media outlets. These tools do not have access to private data.
Managing, monitoring, and listening – what’s the difference?
Social media managing tends to refer to the upkeep of your own social media accounts through outreach and response to various events. Social media monitoring refers to the process of finding and aggregating individual mentions on social media, whereas listening is collecting broader data and analyzing it to interpret trends and extract insights to drive decisions. Many platforms monitor, listen to, and manage social media at varying degrees of efficacy.
Companies use social media monitoring to respond to questions and comments from their audience and community. If you’ve ever complained to a company in a Tweet and received a response, it is likely they used a monitoring tool to find it. Some smaller organizations still use the native platforms to do this, but most companies have multiple social accounts which makes managing each channel individually a tedious task. What’s more, different social platforms detect different types of content; some have the capability to unravel shortened urls and detect content that Twitter or other native platforms do not.
Social listening expands from specific interactions and takes a broader look at the behaviour of users on social media to better understand trends, regional preferences, and consumer patterns. Listening tools compile data from a range of networks to form a birds eye view of events, regions, demographics, or other criteria. While very different, social monitoring and listening are both integral parts of a complete social media data gathering process.
What kind of technology do these tools use?
Some social media monitoring and listening tools are owned or partially owned by the social media providers themselves, which is how they are able to access, aggregate, and display the data. Other tools have agreements with the social networks in order to access the data through a public API.
Who’s using social media monitoring? How are they using it?
Medium to large companies, retailers, international brands, corporate security companies, journalists, news outlets, hotel chains, and financial analysts – you name it. Understanding the chatter from social media is a core part of understanding the business landscape.
Today’s brands use social media monitoring in a number of ways. From finding and leveraging user generated content, discovering hyperlocal trends and influencers, and primarily for managing brand reputation online.
Social media monitoring tools are critical for security teams and public safety. From handling event security, executive protection, asset management, and retail loss prevention. When organizations are operating globally, they can use social media to provide an instant window onto what is happening in a particular place, and whether or not their people or their organization will be impacted.
Social media is the fastest way to find out what’s actually happening surrounding an event and who is involved. News leaders depend on public sharing it to determine the scope and severity of breaking news events to build their story.
From financial analysts to insurance companies, social media analysis is essential for staying on top of market-altering events, understanding current market trends, and monitoring investments and assets.