Social monitoring: Leveraging insights from digital conversations

Denise Hofmeister

27 January 2021

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Every day, more and more new platforms and websites pop up in the digital ecosystem. Trends and hypes are changing by the hour, and customers are openly (and constantly) commenting on brands’ products and services and sharing their experiences in real-time. And there you are – in the middle of an information overload – trying to read your customers’ minds…

Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all of the conversations, trends and changes that are taking place in social media. Not to mention how hard it can be to leverage insights from them and make informed decisions on time. 

Does that sound familiar? Then it’s time to start surfing the wave of social listening. By implementing a social monitoring strategy, you would be able to track, analyse and respond to conversations around your brand in real-time, as well as discover new communities and audiences that could be relevant to you.

How can your brand benefit from social monitoring?

Social monitoring can bring a wide variety of benefits to your business. First, it can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your brand in the digital context, as it measures its overall effectiveness in achieving business’ aims -or, in other words, its brand health

Another great social listening instrument is sentiment analysis or opinion mining, which allows us to identify if users are mentioning a brand with a positive, a negative or a neutral tone in an automated manner. Thus, companies can understand the feelings and opinions that their customers have of them.

At Good Rebels, we have been using these techniques to help clients across all sectors understand their digital environment.

1. Social monitoring as a proactive approach to crisis management

An international retail company needed to evaluate how employees perceived the layoffs and store closures caused by COVID-19. Thanks to sentiment analysis, the company received a quick overview of how employees were reacting to the changes in each country, and thus was able to leverage those insights for further decision making. Moreover, in order to manage possible reputational crises as efficiently as possible, we set up alerts for trigger words such as “redundancy”, “dismiss” or “layoffs”, adopting a proactive approach. 

2. Social listening to understand a brand’s market positioning

However, social listening is not only a tool for crisis management or prevention. It can also be helpful to understand the market positioning of a brand. For Almirall, an international pharmaceutical company, we used monitoring as a key research tactic in order to identify public, digital conversations about specific brands, products and topics. 

This allowed us to understand the conversations that were taking place between specialists and healthcare professionals, as well as to map their main social media channels and assess their needs and expectations. Moreover, we analysed Almirall’s position in relation to competitors, and the company received insights on their brand health. 

In the end, Almirall discovered a new generation of healthcare professionals whose demands were different from those of HCPs of older generations. This allowed us to optimise Almirall’s content strategy by approaching HCPs with new lines of content developed specifically for them. 

3. Social monitoring as a means to obtain insider knowledge on your customers’ behaviour

Social monitoring is also extremely helpful when you are trying to become acquainted with your customers, as it provides insider knowledge that you can use to create content and campaigns that captivate both the client and target audience. That’s exactly what we did with the #CruisingDucks campaign of Royal Caribbean, an international cruise line. 

By reviewing social media activities, we discovered a viral challenge initiated by cruise passengers. The challenge consisted of playing “Hide-and-Seek” with rubber ducks. To analyze the scope of the challenge, we decided to go beyond our owned channels, and we turned to Brandwatch to monitor all social noise. The results were astonishing: several countries had participated in the challenge, and passengers had created their own private groups on Facebook to share their pictures. 

Hence, Good Rebels and Royal Caribbean decided to take part in the challenge. For Royal Caribbean’s 50th Anniversary, 50 rubber ducks were hidden on a ship, each one of them with a personalised passport. This not only created a true engagement with our audience, but also demonstrated the efficiency of social monitoring within our social media strategy.

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4. Social listening to evaluate the impact of PR and influencer marketing efforts

When Johnny Rockets, an international burger restaurant chain, first opened its doors in Spain, social listening was used to measure PR efforts for the grand opening in Madrid, analysing the different media sources, their reach, and the overall sentiment around the event. Additionally, we tracked the influencers who had attended the opening and monitored their social media activity during the event. 

Moreover, monitoring did not come to an end when the inauguration was over. Social listening was used on a monthly basis to analyse competitors and benchmark Johnny Rockets’ share of voice. Tracking the conversations and trends also guided us through the content creation process, and helped us measure the brand awareness of Johnny Rockets in Spain.

New challenges for social listening

As new one-on-one platforms arise and the majority of conversations disappear into dark social, monitoring is becoming more and more difficult. Brands can only listen to a tiny portion of the overall conversations that people are having on a daily basis. Platforms have changed, users have changed and, therefore, so has their behaviour. Moreover, people are becoming increasingly aware of which information they want to share and which one they prefer to keep private. 

This is why it is important to take into account that the image of your audience that you might see on social media is probably not the most accurate one. Nowadays, people represent their best-self, and even though the image they project is partially correct, their true-self can only be seen in their private conversations. 

However, this does not mean that you cannot use social listening. It just means that in order to create a more precise picture of your audience profile, market or customer behaviour, it is recommended to make use of a vast array of tools and research methods. Social monitoring can probably not answer all your questions but it’s still an incredibly useful tool to research, analyse and understand many aspects of your business.