🐚 The Salty Shell: Listening vs. Monitoring on Social Media

Published about 1 month ago • 4 min read

Marketing terms get intertwined and are misunderstood, especially when it comes to social media. Social listening is the most confused between social media monitoring, listening, and reporting. All three are equally important, and I also think all 3 are underused, especially when it comes to tracking consumer behavior and making business decisions.

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🧂 Salty Insights: Social Media Managers Are Lazy

Don’t get offended, what I’m going to say I know from experience: social media managers/community managers (they mean something different at every company) get lazy, overwhelmed, and too damn busy for social media monitoring.

Social media managers are guilty of being lazy with community management because, just like going to the gym, once you stop for a while, it's hard to get back into it even though you should've never stopped. Or maybe the community and content are so boring (that's a fight for another day).

Even with tools like Sprout Social, social professionals’ days can become inundated with content creation, meetings, deadlines, client calls and so many other things that even when it seems like it should be easy, it’s not, because we run out of time.

The person/people community managing should never run out of time – that should be their primary and in some cases, only job! I won’t continue my rant, you can read about community management in an April issue, here.

If you want your brand to be responsive, in the know, building a thriving community, spotting trends, and have the answers to anything customer service or product development may ask at any time – prioritize having at least one full-time community manager.

Social Media Monitoring is what your community manager should always be doing – it's the low-hanging fruit. Using native platforms and third-party tools to track mentions, comments, hashtags, and keywords related to your brand enables you to respond reactively to tags, mentions, DMs, comments, concerns, reviews and customer service inquiries.

Monitoring is a micro look at what’s going on when it comes to talking about your brand. It’s a reactive, short-term solution. But why focus on picking up sea shells when you can explore the whole ocean?

⚓️ Anchor Your Success: Social Media Listening

Social Media Listening is the long-term and proactive way to anticipate and join conversations, find relevant trends and actionable insights – the macro view. It’s more than mentions, if done consistently, it can help you make business decisions because you know what your audience, potential audience and industry’s preferences.

Don’t wait for the mentions, venture into the digital ocean to uncover hidden gems and emerging trends

Your brand likely doesn’t have a presence everywhere on the internet, and it shouldn’t, so what could be more helpful than using tools to listen everywhere you’re not? At any time, you have a large set of data and trends, trending topics, sub-communities and a great way to identify advocates, influencers and potential brand partnerships.

I logged into Infegy Atlas and pulled up a query I used 3 or 4 years ago on guacamole listening. There is so much more to Infegy (not sponsored) that is gold, especially when pitching new business and creating strategies. I’m not going to dissect and translate each screenshot for you, but a true strategist would know what to do 😉 I usually don't share images, so this is a little painful for me, but think it's necessary for this one!

Don’t just go with “there’s 14% negativity around guacamole,” you have to dig deeper – err..dip deeper?

Not shocked by most of these other than Bowling for Soup…the band…See? You can really find some things out you wouldn’t otherwise.

With these associated keywords, years ago, I uncovered a huge and impactful Weight Watchers audience for a specific guacamole brand and it changed our approach to everything! They loved the brand, but they weren’t tagging it or talking about it where we c

These are words used in bios of people who talk about guacamole often – don’t you love how much of the work Infegy does for you? (Infegy, sponsor me, we could do great things).

These are accounts that mention guacamole the most. Chipotle and Avocados from Mexico aren’t surprising here and I can remove them if I want to dig deeper. This is a great way to find advocates, influencers and potential partners. We found a few brands to partner with for giveaways and recipe collabs this way.

🌊 Use Your Brain Waves: Social Media Reporting

Social Media Reporting is the data from your social performance. I typically pull social media reports monthly, quarterly and annually and while many hate reporting and numbers, social media isn’t truly successful without it. Knowing what performed, what didn’t and why should be crucial to look at before you create your next calendar or make the next big decision. Finding insights from data doesn’t take talent, but a truly knowledgeable social media professional.

This section of the newsletter typically gives you homework – some questions to really ponder and put real answers to, but I guess reporting is the same. Do you pull pretty reports from Sprout Social and call it a day? Or do you throw numbers in Datastudio…and call it a day? Or do you build a deck and give insights so you and the client can learn from the data?

Your homework is to learn from the data – always.

One of the agencies I worked with did reporting in such a strange way I’ll never understand. The team had social media managers, community managers and the reporting person. The reporting person ONLY pulled reports from the third party platform, formatted them (way too much time and money spent) in a deck and then spent HOURS (talking 40 hours for a report) going through best and worst performing content and coming up with insights as to why. Why wouldn’t the social team make the report? Why wouldn’t the community managers weigh in on the insights? That report could’ve been done in two hours.

This issue was voted on by my followers on X & LinkedIn. Next week’s is up to you:

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by Mindy Thomas, Founder, Upload Creative

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