Good or bad, online or off, there is nothing worse than someone talking about you publicly and you not getting an opportunity to respond. Before the Internet and Web 2.0, the print and broadcast media were the only ones who could really speak to the masses about a business. Now, with the help of social media and review sites, everyone and anyone can have a say, anytime.
While this new medium can create a ton of new opportunity and positive influence for a business, it can also do a tremendous amount of damage and even cause a public relations nightmare! This being said, it is essential to be able to address both positive and negative sentiment as soon as possible to show others that you not only care about your business, but also the people that are talking about it.
Since it is almost impossible to monitor every website manually, having a social media monitoring tool (or tools) is an absolute must in today’s digital world.
Besides the reputation management angle, social media monitoring tools have a tremendous amount of additional benefits and value for a business. Here are a few to be aware of:
- Listening and Learning: Hearing what consumers are saying about your products and services can help your forecasters with future ideas and projections. For example, luxury fashion company Burberry has utilized social media monitoring software to help pre-test many aspects of its marketing and communication content as well as to support in design decisions of future products. This instant insight into consumer habits can tremendously benefit your bottom line.
- Monitor your Competition: By utilizing social media monitoring tools you can learn and analyze what consumers like (and dislike) about your competition. This data can become very valuable in making tweaks and adjustments to your own online and offline marketing strategies, including both customer relations and product development. Southwest Airlines took to social media touting how they are now the only U.S. airline to not charge bag fees after competitor JetBlue took a lot of heat across the social web when they announced that they would start charging for bags.
- Discovering Influencers: Is someone with a big following touting your business? Is a big influencer bashing your company? Social media monitoring tools can help you discover influencers, and it may not be whom you expect. If you are in the travel or leisure industry, you may not have been aware of a woman by the name of Ann Tran. By utilizing social monitoring software you could find out the huge amount of influence this woman has over the travel industry (over 430,000 Twitter followers and a robust blog) and better yet ways to connect with her.
As you can see, social media monitoring tools have a slew of benefits that no business today should be without. By ignoring it, you can put your business in a lot of danger and risk. While there are many free tools out there, as with anything else “you get what you pay for.” Do your research and find the best tool that will help you and your business get the results you are striving for.