In the advertising world, it is a well-known fact that consumer’s value opinions expressed directly to them from a trusted source above all others. Marketers spend billions on elaborate advertising campaigns every year, but as consumers become overwhelmed with product choices tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, word of mouth cuts through the noise quickly and effectively. The rise in social media in the last few years has added to digital footprint growth and contributed to the creation of a vast amount of digital data available to companies. Word of mouth is now voiced through social media as it acts as a marketing channel to solve business issues, such as receiving product feedback and providing social customer service. When this feedback is used in the right way it can positively affect brand reputation but without social performance measurements, brands are lacking the data analysis to create effective social media campaigns.
It is simply not enough anymore for companies to occasionally monitor their individual social media accounts, but they must go beyond that. If a company or brand is not directly mentioned, it is becoming a requirement for them to hear what the consumer is saying and engage, regardless of the forum. As online communities continually grow in size, number and character, all of the social web must be monitored to ensure contact with consumers is responded to and engaged with. Modern social media technologies offer communication paths that enable an individual to consume, produce, and redistribute content. As such, social media offer two important options. First, they greatly enrich traditional customer and firm interaction. Secondly, they enable the firm and customers to monitor what other customers are saying about a brand.
Social media monitoring (SMM) is a term coined to describe the systematic observation and analysis of content online, found through social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The aim of SMM is to gain a quick overview or insight into topics and opinions in the social web which are brand related. It differs to single social media analyses, or those that are conducted at regular intervals, as social media monitoring is carried out continuously. SMM is used in brand management, as it ensures the company is part of the conversation all of the time.
An Econsultancy report recently revealed that 38% of companies will be increasing their investment into SMM services in 2013. This statistic highlights the strength of the industry and the potential growth that it has. There are many different vendors available on today’s market, specialising in social CRM and social customer service respectively. The commonality characteristics between each these companies is that they all aim to make social media marketing easier to manage for brands. By enabling activities such as monitoring, conversation management and data collection across multiple social channels through one platform, they can do just that.
It will be interesting to see in the coming months which companies will begin to take part in monitoring as it begins to become a wider social media activity.