How to Monitor Brands and Conversations for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign - dummies

How to Monitor Brands and Conversations for Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

By Shiv Singh, Stephanie Diamond

It’s no use running a social media marketing campaign if you can’t measure it. You should always measure your SMM campaigns. Depending on the SMM campaign, different measurements may matter more than others. The brand and conversation monitoring tools help you measure the success of your SMM campaign and your ROI (return on investment). But they do a lot more than that.

These tools help you plan and design your SMM campaigns. They give you a peek into actual user behavior on social platforms, telling you what people are discussing, whether those conversations are positive or negative, and where they’re taking place.

Any time you’re planning to launch an SMM campaign, you must begin by knowing what your target audiences are doing across the social web. These tools help you do that. They can be classified into three groups:

  • High-end tools and services that use linguistic analysis and deep data mining to provide insights into the conversations, who is having them, and where. These tools can cost anywhere from $5,000 a month to $50,000 a month, based mostly on the number of topics mined and the frequency. Included in this category are Bottlenose, Sysomis, NetBase, and Crimson Hexagon.

  • Low-end tools that primarily focus on the volume of the conversation over a period of time and cover only positive and negative sentiment. Many of these tools are free or dirt cheap. Included here are HootSuite and Social Mention.

  • Middle-of-the-road tools that do some analysis but don’t always have the breadth of sources or the depth of analysis that the high-end tools have. Tools in this category are Salesforce Radian6 and Sysomos. ViralHeat is another player that straddles the high and low ends with different service levels and capabilities.

When choosing which tool to use, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Your audience: If you don’t know your audience and aren’t sure what their motivations are, where they are participating, and how, you want one of the high-end tools.

  • The length of your SMM campaign: If you’re running a short campaign targeting a small population of users, you probably don’t need to use one of the high-end tools. It won’t be worth the money.

  • The size of the campaign: If your campaign touches lots of people, you need a higher-end tool that can help you track the activity as well as manage responses.

  • Influencer identification: If you’re planning to focus on influencers rather than the mass population, choose a tool that’s strongest at influencer identification (the ability to assist you in identifying people who influence customers about your brand). Not all tools do this equally well.

  • Regulatory considerations: If you work in a highly regulated industry, you want a tool that lets you view commentary and glean insights anonymously. Higher- and mid-level tools have this capability.

  • Dashboard functionality: Some marketers require interactive dashboards through which they can view the conversation in real time. If you’re one of them, be sure to look for a tool that allows for that.

Lots of free tools for brand and conversation monitoring are out there. Regardless of the complexity of your SMM campaign, there’s never any harm in beginning with the free tools. It’ll cost you only the time in setting up the domain names. Keep in mind that these tools are valuable to departments like public relations and customer research, too. They may be willing to share the costs with you.