Social Media Monitoring Tools
Social media monitoring is an increasingly important approach used by different businesses to understand what is being said about their products, brand, or business online. For this reason, many businesses are searching for the right tool that allows them to monitor what is being said about them on social media. But what are the essential features that the best social media monitoring tools would have, and how do you know which one is right for your business?
In this article, we will go through what you need to be on the lookout for when looking for social media monitoring solutions. Unfortunately, there seems to be some misunderstandings out there about what social media monitoring really is and how it should be done. There are many different tools that claim to do social media monitoring while not making clear what this really means.
But don’t worry, we will explain what you should look for so you can get the social media monitoring tool that fits your needs.
What is Social Media Monitoring?
Before getting into what you should look for in a social media monitoring tool, we should define what social media monitoring actually is, since some may confuse it with other aspects of social media management. Social media monitoring is the process of tracking and recording mentions of your brand across different social media channels. In other words, social media monitoring allows you to know what people are saying about your brand, product(s), or business.
Importantly, a tool for monitoring social media would track comments or mentions of your brand or business, even when someone doesn’t tag your business or reply directly to one of your posts. When monitoring social media accounts where your brand may be mentioned, it is essential to ensure that you know what your audience thinks about your business.
Is there a Difference Between Social Media Listening and Monitoring Tools?
Social media listening and monitoring tools are often talked about together but are, in reality, two different things. Social media monitoring, as we have seen above, is geared toward knowing what people are saying about your brand, product(s), or business.
Social media listening tools are designed to help you to understand, or listen to, the various topics or issues being talked about in a particular industry or among a specific audience. It does not concern your brand or business directly, but it can give you an idea about what the trending topics for an industry are and detect pain points and questions that your target audience has.
For some businesses, there will be a need for both a social media listening tool and a social monitoring tool. However, if you are looking just for a tool that alerts you when someone mentions your company or brand on social media, a social media monitoring tool is what you should be looking for.
A Word of Warning: Make Sure You Are Actually Buying a Social Media Monitoring Tool!
There may be some social media tools out there that claim to include social media monitoring features. As a rule, you should always take a hard look into what these monitoring tools for social media are actually offering.
Let’s talk about a concrete example. There are some social media tools that claim to offer social media monitoring, since they notify you when someone replies or reacts to one of your posts. However, this has more to do with community management than social media monitoring. In fact, many social media platforms themselves tell you when someone responds to a post or tags you, and the value of a social media tool in this case is simply to help you manage all social media channels in one place. However, this does not help you actively monitor your brand or business across other profiles or when you are not tagged in posts. This is a much more extensive task that takes a tool with more capabilities.
As the above example shows, some tools might claim to offer social media monitoring when, in reality, it is simply a community management function. For this reason, we want to go over what you should look for so you don’t make the mistake of buying a tool that is not offering you the functions you need.
Features of the Best Social Media Monitoring Tools
When you are looking for effective social media monitoring solutions for your business, you should investigate what the tool actually offers. Below, we will highlight the 4 key features of social media monitoring software that you should look for when you are shopping for your tool.
Keyword Tracking for the Social Media Channels you Need
When looking through different tools, you need to ensure that you can effectively track your chosen keywords throughout the platform. Remember, you don’t want a tool that notifies you when someone comments on your own posts or tags your brand or business in a post or a comment. Rather, your social media monitoring tool should help you find mentions of your business or brand in other people’s posts even when your business or brand is not tagged.
What might surprise you is that most social media monitoring tools probably won’t provide you with true monitoring capabilities for every single social media channel. Therefore, when reviewing social media monitoring tools, you should confirm that, at a minimum, they allow you to track specific social media channels. For instance, if you absolutely need a social media monitoring tool for a platform such as Facebook, then make sure the tool you are looking at explicitly says Facebook monitoring is included.
You might be thinking that tracking comments or mentions of your brand outside social media doesn’t have to be part of a social media monitoring tool. After all, we are talking about monitoring on social media channels. However, not all of your mentions or discussion about your business or brand will be conducted on social media.
The ability to combine mentions and comments from sources outside of social media channels is crucial for effective brand monitoring. For this reason, the best social media monitoring tools should allow you to track various keywords on different web pages in addition to the social media platforms that you need. This way, you can be sure that you are getting a comprehensive overview of where and when your brand or business is being mentioned online.
Social Media Metrics Dashboard and Analytics Features
Compiling data is one challenge when it comes to social media monitoring. However, once data is collected, it is helpful to effectively analyze it. With social media monitoring, you will probably be working with a large data set of various mentions of your brand or business across social media and web pages. On the most basic level, this means having a clear and functional social media metrics dashboard that gives you an overview of everything you need to know.
Good dashboards will also enable real-time social media monitoring, which is essential to make sure you see where your company is being mentioned and whether or not you need to react to it. Social media monitoring and analysis tools can also give you a leg up on understanding various metrics such as how often people are mentioning your brand, what is being said, and what countries these mentions are coming from. These types of insights can give you a much more targeted analysis of different markets and audiences.
Sentiment Analysis Capability
When discussing monitoring features in conjunction with social media tools, you may hear about sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis can take your monitoring to the next level since it focuses not just on if, or how often, people are mentioning your business or brand, but whether the mention is positive, negative, or neutral.
Sentiment analysis can be extremely helpful when dealing with a high number of mentions of your company since it can give you a broad understanding of how people speak about your brand. While you shouldn’t rely exclusively on sentiment analysis to determine how people feel about your business or brand, it can be a helpful approach to capture the satisfaction with and overall mood towards your brand. As you can see below in the sample screenshot, a sentimental analysis presented in a simple graph can give you instant insight into how people are talking about your brand or business.
Finding the Right Social Media Monitoring Tool
Remember, it is essential to make sure that your social media tool actually does social media monitoring rather than community management or other simply tasks you can do with a simple social media management tool. Social media monitoring requires a tool that is designed specifically to find mentions and comments that are not happening on your social media profiles.
If you are looking for a social media tool that provides advanced social media monitoring capabilities, you can try Fanpage Karma’s free 14-day trial.
You can also sign up for the free weekly webinar to find out how social media management tools can improve your social media performance.