This guest post is by Ann Feeney, Information Retrieval Specialist, Cision.
Media analyst Zach Hofer-Shall calls listening to social media “Social Intelligence” and notes that “Social Intelligence is a relatively simple idea…with complex and broad applications.”
Monitoring for brand mentions through traditional media monitoring and social media monitoring is a major part of online brand management. After all, you have to know what people are saying about you! However, there are several other ways to enhance your brand monitoring by what we call strategic monitoring, that is, monitoring the topics and issues that are going to affect your organization’s strategy and how well that strategy works.
- Monitor for future issues in your sector: Depending on your organization’s typical time frames for planning, you might look for issues that are already well-emerged and are ongoing; short-term fads; issues that you’re facing in the longer-term future; or possibly even for signs of wildcard or “black swan” events. For example, a fashion company might want to know what people are saying about the Pantone Color of the Year, a recruiting organization might want to know first about emerging professional networking websites, and an international development organization might want to monitor early indicators of political change in the countries or regions that it serves.
- Monitor for issues and ideas outside your sector: Research consistently shows that to solve complicated problems, the best teams are ones where members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and that cross-department teams are better at solving organizational problems than single-department ones. You can tap into that by monitoring a sector that’s outside of but connected to your own. For example, if you own a locavore restaurant, you might want to monitor some of the agricultural publications from your state, or if you manage a graphic design firm, you might want to monitor a few architectural outlets to see what they’re saying about emerging building materials. There’s a special advantage to this approach: Your competitors are all monitoring your own sector’s media, so if you look outside your sector, you’re even more likely to be a trend-setter rather than a follower.
- Monitor for the audiences where you want to deepen engagement: For example, if you run a summer camp in a community where there’s a growing population of immigrant refugees, the word “camp” could have negative connotations because for part of your audience, the unconscious association is with refugee camps, rather than hiking and crafts and marshmallow roasts. You might monitor some of the publications by or directed to people from that particular region or ethnicity to see what kinds of children’s activities they mention, and look for ways to describe the experience with positive connotations.
- Monitor for new product development: You probably already monitor for your own brand and product lines on user websites, but there are very fruitful conversations that don’t mention your brand or even your competitors’ brands. You can monitor for terms such as “wish list,” “if only,” the ideal,” and so on, to find out what people are saying in those conversations, without overwhelming yourself by monitoring everything. For example, people might talk about how much they’d like to find a good restaurant that’s frequented by the locals in a city where they don’t speak the language, and you could develop an app that looks for restaurants that get more than 90 percent of their reviews in the local language and reference going with their family, date, friends, or business colleagues, depending on what kind of ambiance you’re looking for.
- Monitor for passion: Who are the people who talk in extremes about your product or organization and what do they say? For example, if you’re the market leader for a fairly utilitarian product, such as paper towels or plastic cutlery, most of your mentions are going to be just general references, such as putting your product on a shopping list. However, if you look for terms like “love,” “hate,” “aaargh,” “fail,” and “win,” along with your brand or competitors’ brands, that can give you clues about what really matters to your customers.
For more on media monitoring and to request a demo of Cision’s services, visit Cision Media Monitoring.