We’re often asked about social media monitoring. In this post, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions and address some of the biggest misconceptions.
What exactly is social media monitoring?
Social media monitoring (also known as social listening) is a tool companies use to monitor mentions of their products, services or brand on the Internet. Done effectively, it provides valuable insight about your customers and their likes and dislikes, your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses, your competitors, and key influencers driving the social conversation.
How does it work?
Most monitoring tools crawl sites continuously. You provide queries or search strings to identify the keywords and phrases you’d like to monitor. Mentions are then read, sliced and diced to provide insights on your hotel or brand (more on this below).
What does social media monitoring cover?
Good monitoring tools crawl forums, blogs, news and review websites and more as well as the major social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and others.
Isn’t that an invasion of privacy?
Monitoring tools can only search publicly available information. For example, they don’t access Facebook pages with private settings, protected tweets, Facebook messages, private messages on forums and so on.
How do I find the relevant conversations?
With most tools, you write a query to find the mentions you want. Your query could cover mentions of your hotel, brand and company, as well as more general topics, such as boutique hotels, resort spas, hotel bars, hospitality design, etc. You can write complex search strings to find exactly what you’re interested in, while separating out irrelevant content. In addition to searching for terms and words, you can search for mentions on specific sites; in key geographic regions; on different days, weeks or months; with positive, negative or neutral sentiment. The possibilities are endless.
Why can’t I just do a Google search?
Google doesn’t filter out spam, duplicates and date ranges. Most social listening tools have systems to help ensure the content they find is pertinent. With social media monitoring, you can search for much more specific terms and eliminate others to produce much more precise results than a general Google search.
Why search what’s on the Internet? Isn’t a lot of what’s out there just spam?
There is a lot of spam on the Internet. That’s why the better monitoring platforms have sophisticated spam detectors in place. They rely on complex pattern-matching algorithms, keyword-density checks and other state-of-the-art tools. Also keep in mind you can search for more specific terms and exclude others to help keep spam out your results.
What kind of information can I expect to receive from social listening?
While all tools differ, common features include:
- Information about sites (most/least active sites, volume of mentions)
- Insights about authors (industry influencers, advocates, prospects, competitors)
- Sentiment analysis (to determine the emotional tone – positive, negative, neutral – behind words and phrases)
- Charting (for visual displays of data, such as top sites, most active regions and times of year, positive versus negative mentions)
- Topic analyses (to show recurring customer issues, favorite and most talked-about services and amenities)
- Comparing queries (for insights into the competitive landscape)
What do I do with all the data once it’s collected?
Data can be used for reporting, research, lead generation and business strategy. It tells you, for example, what current and prospective customers have to say about your hotel, what services and amenities they like – or don’t. It helps you engage with current and prospective guests and manage your relationships for better guest service. Social media monitoring helps you detect new consumer interests, emerging trends and underserved groups. It also lets you know what your competitors are up to and how it’s working for them.
In short, social media monitoring is a valuable tool for making informed decisions in real time. Used correctly, it can help guide your business strategy for better relationships with customers, a stronger brand and greater profitability.