Filtering for influential brand mentions: an approach for busy communicators

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It’s sometimes brought up as a harsh truth for public relations and marketing professionals: social media “doesn’t scale.” If you monitor blogs and social sites for mentions of your brand, the more comments you notice, the more time and effort it takes to respond to them in a timely fashion.

Altimeter Group‘s Jeremiah Owyang last week told an audience at South by Southwest Interactive, “you can never hire enough community managers” to respond to mentions of your brand quickly enough.

For large consumer brands attracting thousands or even tens of thousands of mentions on blogs and social sites each day, this is true. For small and mid-size companies, perhaps less so. But regardless of the volume of coverage an individual product or topic attracts, an important aspect is often overlooked in this conversation: our ability to identify the most influential mentions, and respond to them quickly.  

Let’s assume you’re the lone community manager or media relations professional at a company whose products attract about 1,000 mentions on the social Web each day. Crafting 1,000 thoughtful, helpful responses per day is not feasible, and let’s assume that in today’s economic climate, recruiting a counterpart (or 10 counterparts) isn’t either. Your best approach is to use social metrics such as inbound links, comments and votes to determine which mentions are most likely to spread by word of mouth and attain the greatest mindshare. Premium social media monitoring solutions such as the Cision Social Media Dashboard can be indispensable in this regard. After you’ve identified the most visible mentions, you can focus your efforts on them, and you’re off to a great start.

We’ve often discussed the importance of measuring influence online in the context of proving return on investment for your blogger outreach and marketing efforts. But these measures can be equally valuable in helping allocate your time to the most influential posts.

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