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How Social Media Monitoring Can Improve Your Sales

By now, most marketers understand that it’s a good idea to monitor what’s being said about you in social media, for self-protection at least. How can you know if your brand or company is being trashed online, so that you can take appropriate remedial action, if you’re not listening?

Now an article from Contently highlights some of the other ways in which Social Media Monitoring can directly help your business:

What happens when a minor TV character get major social attention? In the digital age, how do you take advantage of it and adjust? That was the challenge faced by BET [Television] Network’s Being Mary Jane.

The show’s Twitter analysis showed that an unexpected character was emerging as a fan favourite: Avery, the wife scorned by the affair between Mary Jane and her husband. It was too late to reshoot the series, but the fans’ love forced BET to rethink its social media strategy and the way it was promoting the show.

It all began around the time the series premiered in January 2013. JP Lespinasse, BET’s senior director of social media, got a shiny new toy: Adobe Social, a social media management and analytics tool that he began using to monitor the chatter around Being Mary Jane.

Two shows into the eight-episode series, an intriguing insight emerged. While of course the romantically challenged Mary Jane herself got the most attention, the Twitter analysis showed that Avery garnered the next highest number of mentions.

“The next step was, let’s see where we can begin to amp up our coverage of Avery from a content perspective,” Lespinasse recalls. BET recut some of its broadcast commercials to feature Avery more. They also gave her more visibility on the show’s website and digital promotions, and recruited the actress who plays Mary Jane, Robinne Lee, to live tweet the episodes that featured her character.

When the social media staff used their human brains to parse the social media chatter, they gleaned another useful insight into just why Avery appealed so much to the audience. “There were a lot of people quoting her,” Lespinasse says. “The stuff that made Avery resonate was the stuff that came out of her mouth. So, not only do we want to feature her generally, we want to feature what she’s saying.”

So how did the BET social media team glean these insights? They began their social listening program two weeks before the premiere. Then, every morning after the show aired, they’d peruse the analytics. They also produced weekly reports charting the total audience against social media mentions.

Most of us don’t have TV shows in our product portfolio, but any brand promoting its wares to a public audience (whether B2C or B2B) should have a social media monitoring strategy that reports on what’s being said about the brand online.

By actively listening, you can identify any problems and concerns, of course, but the monitoring process can also highlight:

  • product features that particularly appeal to your customers
  • unexpected uses for your product that might create future opportunities
  • category problems that consumers have but that your product could solve

In the latter case, social media monitoring provider Infoglutton gives an example of how monitoring can improve product design:

We ran InfoGlutton to monitor problems people are expressing about espresso machines. Here’s two mentions we found out today on Twitter:

espresso

Joe Hall, writing at SearchEngineLand, provides a useful protocol for turning social media monitoring into effective new product design:

funnel

Recommended Monitoring Tools

So how can you listen effectively without the process taking up too much time? At a minimum, you should:

  • Sign yourself up to Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives or brand terms so that you’re alerted by email whenever your name pops up online. To do so, enter your search terms and select to receive updates as they happen.

    alerts
    Choose “As-it-happens” and “All results”

  • Check Twitter for chatter about your company or brand. Use tools like TweetBeep or Twitter Search to monitor conversations about your company in real-time.
  • Get email notifications for specific search phrases on Facebook through Hyperalerts.
  • (B2B) Join a few LinkedIn groups to which your key customers and prospects belong. Search for questions or comments that you or members of your company can address.
  • Get yourself up to speed with RSS readers and use Feedly to check Flickr, Delicious, Digg and others