Intelligent social media – Using the social web to monitor, measure and learn

social media

We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it”. – Erik Qualman.

Yesterday I listened to a BrightTALK webinar hosted by experienced Digital Marketing Consultant Gemma Went. The discussion was based on how companies can use social media to add value to their brand, business, marketing campaigns and most importantly their customers or clients.

Social media is not all about engagement. Social ‘listening’ is essential to your business in order to understand your audience. It is all about data; how it can be pulled together and how it can be filtered. For example collating data is like being a detective and looking for clues and evidence in order to solve a case. Data is really important to help drive your business and see what your audience and competitors are doing. It also gives you a real insight into how well your business is doing online. Using online data can help you find your audience, develop relevant strategies, measure your own customers and see how they feel about your products or services. That is key to any kind of business.

The experienced Digital Marketing Consultant then went onto to discuss the 6 key listening drivers to look for online:

  1. Strategy Development

Research always comes first. Monitoring clients (if your B2B), seeing what they are doing, listening to competitors and clients and seeing how they behave online. It is important to look where your audiences/clients are online and understand what customers are saying and where they are saying it. All this helps with strategic thinking and shows what resonates with your audience. By listening to the data online this helps with the development of content strategy.

  1. Creative Inspiration

Online provides the chance to listen to conversations. We can listen to the products/services people love and hate, monitor campaigns (not just our own ones) and competitors. By being online we can also look at creative campaigns that are successful and get inspiration on how we can emulate this for our business.

  1. Market Research

This is paramount. In social media we can monitor competitors and communities to see what works. We can really dig deep by looking at more than a company’s Facebook page and Twitter page. For example, on Facebook we can search the interest of the people who like a brand page using their search graph. On Twitter, we can analyse audiences by using keys words or specific hashtags to give us an understanding on what they really like and how we can utilize this in our creative development.

Gemma Went also mentioned a free monitoring tool specifically for Twitter that would be useful for businesses called Riffle. Riffle gives you an overview of your profile and other people’s profile and useful statistics, popular hashtags, most shared link and much more.

  1. Influencer Identification

Monitoring and listening tools help us understand who the key influencers in our desired field are. By looking for keywords on Twitter, we can find them, follow them, work on building a relationship and learn from the key influencers which would benefit business.

  1. Customer Service

This is a huge area and online monitoring is key to this. Social media provides businesses a real time opportunity to deal with customer complaints and provide excellent customer service On Twitter, some companies have Twitter streams that deal with customer service specifically. Social listen for mentions of a brand name and see what platforms they are coming from and respond promptly to turn a potential negative into a positive for your business. By doing so, this can also provide ideas for marketing strategies to be developed and further satisfy your customers need.

  1. Measurement

This is vital and interlinks with the other listening drivers. When putting a campaign together we sometimes think we have a killer campaign that will increase awareness, engagement, sales, etc. However, that is not always the case and sometimes a campaign we thought wouldn’t work as good sometimes does. By measuring every content by time (a month for example), we know what is working and what isn’t. This helps with feedback and the creative process as we can build more robust campaigns and content which hits the mark with our desired audience.

The experienced Digital Marketing Consultant also discussed how there are different ways to listen and monitor online for each of the 6 listening drivers. However, you have to be clear about what you are listening for. For example is it for market research, strategy, etc. It is also important to be clear on what key words, topics or brand names you need to listen out for. Create a big list of these and then break them down so you can be really targeted in what you are looking out for. Another thing to do is create a list of social channels where you think people are going to talk about these topics, keywords or brand names. Be clear why you are doing this and what you are listening out for as this can help you identify what tools will be right t to use.

When you are listening online it is also important to ask yourself questions about your business. Questions such as “What am I doing well?” “What content is getting the best result?”

The things to measure online are brand mentions, content reach, engagement and shares. Look at audience growth rate and respond rate. Depending on your organization’s budget, you have to think if you are able to invest in a monitoring platform or use the free ones available .A lot of small companies cannot afford a paid platform but there are some free ones which are just as effective to use. Here is a list of some free and paid monitoring platforms.

Free Monitoring Platform Paid Monitoring Platform
Buffer (also paid)


Google Analytics

Google Alerts


Hootsuite (also paid)

How Sociable



Crowd booster



It is important that know that all these monitoring tools have different specifications, are used for gathering different forms of data and some are used for specific social media platforms. This is why it is important as mentioned before, to ask yourself questions about what you are listening out for online and what it is you and your business want to gain.

I found the webinar very useful and gave me a real insight on how social media in general can be such an influential tool to indeed monitor, measure and learn about customers/clients and how to satisfy their and our business needs.

I started this post with a quote from Erik Qualman about social media because the question really is how well we DO it.

Emmanuel #EKsMarketingViews


7 thoughts on “Intelligent social media – Using the social web to monitor, measure and learn

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