Business’ latest weapon: social media monitoring

Infowatch makes the argument for social media monitoring

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Business’ latest weapon: social media monitoring Alexander Zarovsky, head of International Business Development, InfoWatch.
By  Alexander Zarovsky Published  February 19, 2013

The rise and development of social media has been revolutionary. Forums have been created especially for information and opinion exchange. 

Companies are now forced to redesign the models by which they interact with their audiences - from press releases to live human dialogue, from "reacting within an established time-frame" to real-time dialogue to resolve the problems of their customers.

Unlimited feedback in real time

In today's competitive economic climate, only a deep understanding of the demands of existing and potential customers will enable companies to improve their products and services. Although social media has forced businesses to shift towards a new communications paradigm with their audience, it has also provided them with this necessary understanding to maintain a competitive edge. The practice of gathering customer comments for the purposes of product development and service improvement is not yet widely employed by business, but all the trends in the development of the market and of technology point to the inevitable shift towards it.

Reputation management in an uncontrolled information environment

Recent research by TNS showed that when consumers have a problem with a product or service, 57% of them will seek a solution to their problem online in the first instance. Among 16 to 24 year olds, this figure is 71%, and among 25-34 year olds - 65%. Customers today, expect a response from a company and for it to be prompt.  Quick and effective handling of such inquiries has a direct impact on increasing loyalty among a company's audience and attracting new customers. Management of the consumer experience in social media is therefore imperative in strengthening a company's reputation and widening its share of a saturated consumer market, where the customer can easily switch between service providers.

Knowing your customer by face and by name - every customer

For businesses this provides a great opportunity as it allows them to get to know their customers. Some social media monitoring systems support post author profiles, including: name, socio-demographic information, a selection of all the posts the author has published on different social networks and a history of the interaction between company staff and the particular customer. As a result, businesses are able to predict their actions and create individualised products.

Social media monitoring - how to really use it

In order to maintain a company's competitive edge, collecting and analysing feedback about the company online is imperative. Such monitoring cannot be a one-time investigation, it must be performed regularly or the whole point of the exercise will be lost.

Social media monitoring is currently used to track trends such as monitoring customers' perceptions of a company's brand, advertising, and individual promotional activities; monitoring client feedback for the purposes of reputation management; and monitoring feedback, complaints and questions from customers with the aim of handling them directly through a support desk.

The right monitoring system is the key that unlocks the opportunities of social media

In order to obtain maximum value from potential opportunities, companies should use a specialised social media monitoring system.

The social media monitoring market is relatively young, but is already developing rapidly in the majority of countries across the world. The market offers a range of services to search and process data at varying levels in terms of comprehensiveness of data collection and depth of analysis.

The selection of a monitoring system which meets the current and future needs of a business can be a key factor which will either enable a company to open the door to the new opportunities of the social Internet, or leave it wandering aimlessly on the threshold.

Social media can turn into a powerful trump card against competitors who have not yet succeeded in understanding the dynamics and role of the Internet in the modern marketing world.

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