The social media landscape has undergone a huge transformation in the last couple of years. Brands have gradually increased awareness regarding the importance of monitoring what their target audience says about them in the online environment. The incapacity of controlling what is being said on social media platforms about their products, services, staff etc. leads to a single outcome: keeping an eye on these channels and making sure that all mentions are appropriately dealt with.
From a PR perspective, social media has always been perceived as an amazing tool of free publicity that allows direct communication with the target audiences without any external filters such as media, for example.
Due to the fact that PR practitioners often face the challenge of dealing with positive as well as negative publicity, monitoring social media is essential and therefore this article focuses on the main 5 PR benefits of tracking your company’s online activity:
To start with, as PR is about anticipation and interpretation of public opinion and attitudes that might impact the future of an organisation, social media monitoring can be used to avoid issues management that might, sooner or later, turn into a crisis.
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There are numerous examples of when companies neglected the negative feedback they were receiving from customers via social media sites and, consequently, individual posts got astounding numbers of shares, creating negative buzz and harming the company’s reputation.
Secondly, when planning PR campaigns, social media monitoring is crucial at several stages, including: market research and investigating the overall sentiment that the target audience has in respect to the company and its services; competitor analysis; and getting a sharpened insight into the target audience categories by finding out more about their location, preferences and online habits.
Thirdly, traditional PR used to rely on media scanning, so basically, one of the mundane activities of a PR practitioner used to be flipping through newspapers, aiming to find mentions of their clients.
By using a monitoring tool, this can be done now just with a simple click. This facilitates PR evaluation in terms of determining the success of journalistic engagement and mentions in the media.
Fourthly, social media monitoring tools, such as Brandwatch, can support the evaluation of PR campaigns by analysing key aspects (sentiment, location, topic) and also by facilitating the planning of strategy and tactics for future campaigns.
For example, a monitoring tool can provide information revealing on which social media channels there was the most and the least interaction, which topics drove conversations and which were the third parties that supported the campaign.
Lastly, social media monitoring is a great way of turning complaints and negative feedback into positive publicity. It is widely known that no one can control what is being said about a brand in the online environment and it is simply impossible to please everybody.
Therefore, smart companies have learnt that responding promptly to negative comments, providing feedback/support or offering information are the right tools for showing the proficiency of their customer service and their deep concern regarding customer satisfaction.
Click here to take a look at some of Brandwatch’s tips on dealing with customer service on social media and let us know what you think … Are there any other key benefits of social media monitoring for PR?