Is your social media monitoring flawed?

Once you have stepped through the gate of social media, you realize that social media monitoring is a must.  Having followed several discussions about social media monitoring, I am constantly amazed to hear what people seem to be using as their monitoring tool.

Overview

I think there is a need to explain what we mean when we speak about social media monitoring.  To illustrate what I consider to be the different levels of monitoring, I want to make a comparison to life on and around a golf club.

In the golf club Translates to social media
Your golf partner talks to you and you listen and engage in a conversation Messages are posted on your social media profiles and you must respond
Fellow golfers in the club house are talking about you People are mentioning your company name, product and or people in social media
Everyone is talking about new trends in golfing or great golf clubs to visit Trending topics, client & competitor mentions

I can hear some of you say that I am missing sentiment analysis.  Though this is important, the quality and quantity of messages are critical and come first.  Sentiment analysis comes second.

Practically

I have been running a number of social media monitoring tools on 3 types of information:  my name (mic adam), a small business (multiple companies including vanguard leadership) and a generic term.  Tools include software such as Google alerts, Socialmention, Tracebuzz, Backtype, Tweetdeck,  Engagor, and many more.

Listening to your own accounts is simple but a lot of time forgotten by companies as has been demonstrated by research by Wildfire PR and Vanguard Leadership in their social media monitoring research.

Monitoring social media for company or product mentions is a different animal all together.  Today, there are a lot of tools available from free to paid services, but…

The results are baffling and lack every sense of consistency.  I would like to demonstrate this using the generic term “social media policy”.  The daily results over a period of 5 days are summarized in the following table:

Tool Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
A 300 158 259 87 81
B 124 149 149 163 99
C 15 33 13 20 15
D 0 0 0 1 1

Where is the consistency in this?

Another thing I noticed is all the tools do not pick up the same messages.  Even worse, some tools pick up incorrect messages (even after tuning).  Social media is really a form of business intelligence and as a user you are dependent on the quality of the data warehouse your supplier delivers.

Conclusions

  • There are different tools available that accomplish different things.  Tweetdeck might be great to monitor your own accounts, but may be less appropriate to monitor keywords
  • There is not ONE  tool that will provide you all the information.  You need to implement and use several tools to have complete view.
  • When running different tools you need human intervention to review and aggregate the results as well as the sentiment analysis.

Do you have similar experiences? Know of a great tool that does everything and is affordable? Want to give feedback?  I love to hear from you.

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