Research update: Social Media Monitoring Software

In the early 2000s, nonprofit organizations asked themselves, “Why should we start using social media?” A decade later, the question now is, “How can we best use social media?”

Social media is synonymous with media conversations. These conversations occur over a media platform and travel fluidly from user to user. Media conversations, like face-to-face conversations, require two actions: listening and contributing. But how can an organization listen to all of its constituents and respond accordingly? How does an organization find time to weed through the Internet to see what its patrons are saying?

In my last research update, I highlighted different types of social media management software available to organizations: monitoring, engagement, social marketing, analytics, and social influencer software. Of these five types, my research will focus on monitoring, engagement, and analytics software. Let’s begin by exploring the ability of social media monitoring software to help carry out the social media efforts of an organization effectively and efficiently.

Monitoring software, which carries out the “listening” aspect of social media, allows organizations to keep track of what is being said about it in the nooks and crannies of the Internet. Monitoring software acts akin to a technological PR representative—someone (or in this case something) whose job it is to keep a close watch on the organization’s image in the public realm.

 Keep track of a name or phrase easily through Goggle Alerts, shown above.

Keep track of a name or phrase easily through Goggle Alerts, shown above.

The simplest, most basic example of monitoring software is Google Alerts, wherein a user signs up to receive a notification every time a certain phrase or topic appears on the Internet (this could be on a blog, in the news, on video, etc.).

In addition, some social media platforms have this capability built in, such as Twitter. Twitter’s advanced search allows users to search for tweets by profile, language, and even by punctuation (for example, if the tweet contains a question mark). For more information on getting the most out of Twitter’s advanced search, Mashable published a great article that’s definitely worth reading.

 Here's a quick view of the Twitter advanced search setting.

Here's a quick view of the Twitter advanced search setting.

In the early 2000s, nonprofit organizations asked themselves, “Why should we start using social media?” A decade later, the question now is, “How can we best use social media?”

But utilizing monitoring software can take a lot of time, especially when combined with an organization’s efforts to engage on social media and analyze the resulting data. Wouldn’t it be easier if your social media point person could handle all tasks using only one piece of software instead of three? My upcoming white paper will discuss software options that encompass social media monitoring, engagement, and analytics. Stay tuned.