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How Social Media Monitoring can change your entire company .

Samantha Paxson shares how a whole-organization approach to social media engagement, monitoring and measurement can benefit more than just the sales and marketing teams.

How Social Media Monitoring can change your entire company

By Samantha Paxson / Chief Marketing & Experience Officer at CO-OP Financial Services

Samantha PaxsonSocial media is a key business driver in the digital marketing landscape, but it offers a potential far beyond general sales and marketing. When executed properly, the scope of data gathered through social media can have a lasting and tangible impact on all aspects of your business. Sales and marketing are the first layer, but beyond that, anything from hiring to product development can have a real impact from social media.

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emptyThis may seem counter-intuitive at first glance. For many, it's easy to think that a company's social media footprint is limited to their accounts and the interactions that stem from them. However, a key aspect of social media marketing is understanding the importance of listening beyond that scope. Without your proverbial ear to the digital ground, there's a lot you might miss―and the result might potentially leave your company in the dust.

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emptyGetting Intelligent About Social Media

emptyThe idea behind social media intelligence goes beyond simply having a corporate Twitter account that answers customer questions. The term encompasses a wider net and a bigger goal: understanding where, how, and why your brand is being discussed on social media and what it means for identity and marketing initiatives. While this starts with the basics of account notifications and interaction, social media intelligence tools offer a far bigger scope to analyze matters outside of your account. For example, if your brand is mentioned in discussions that do not tag your account, intelligence tools can be configured to monitor for this activity.

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emptyTo effectively take advantage of social media’s potential, it's important to consider intelligence from a whole-organization approach. That means incorporating tools and data across all business units with the understanding that different departments will use the information differently. While social media can primarily be a marketing tool, the platforms can be mined to reveal the ultimate focus group on any topic.

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emptyConsider the different ways departments might use the data collected through social media monitoring:

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emptyHuman Resources: Data can reveal industry reputation and attitudes towards identity that may impact hiring and training policies.

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emptyR&D: Data can show where the company is ahead or behind the competition and uncover consumers’ needs to inspire future innovation.

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emptyCustomer Support: Data can define high-volume support times, as well as frequency of question topics. This data can then be filtered into staffing and development decisions.

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emptyMarketing: Data can show what elements of messaging resonate best with the public, generate content ideas, as well the ability to benchmark the effectiveness of campaigns.

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emptySales: Data can help identify customer sentiment, including common complaints, preferences, and needs, helping uncover follow-up opportunities.

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emptyKeeping Your Ear To The Ground

emptyIn order to get the most out of social media, companies must learn to maximize the amount of data coming in. Continuous monitoring is important because companies can get a complete picture while responding to the quick pace of social media. Remember, social media is a place where things can go from discussion to examination to trending in literally hours.

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emptyIt’s important to respond to immediate swings and spikes in mentions. With social media, it’s possible to ride a wave of good attention for exposure to an entirely new audience, but it’s also possible to get thrown under the bus if you don’t respond quickly enough. One disgruntled customer can make things go viral (and bad things tend to get shared more often), making a timely and appropriate response extremely critical. That single event may significantly impact your brand’s reputation in the near future, so your response is key. Hard sells, pushing back, and defensiveness never work in social media response.

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emptyThe simple process of acknowledging frustrations and asking “What can we do to help?” can mitigate any reputational damage and help win back customers. It can also show that your company cares, responds and is trustworthy. The benefits of this go beyond simply easing a customer’s mind; such responses establish you as a tuned-in subject-matter expert who can be relied upon when it’s time to make a purchasing decision. Social media provides an excellent path to connecting with key industry influencers. These are long-term goals, and building these relationships sows the seeds for future grassroots marketing and communication.

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emptyIn addition to crisis management and customer engagement, staying continuously tuned in means having a complete picture to identify and track trends over time. These details can inform long-term strategy by picking up on overall industry and cultural trends. This goes beyond marketing; during the product development cycle, staying tuned into the shifts and swings projected by social media can act as a barometer for different aspects of a project. Say a competitor beats your company to market, but the social media response to a particular feature of theirs is lackluster. Your product development team can respond internally by choosing the path forward. Either invest more time into improving the feature or take feedback as evidence that the public doesn’t care for the feature and reallocate development resources.

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emptyOn the marketing side, social monitoring allows for online competitive intelligence. Not only is it a way to check what the competition is doing in their own campaigns, social media can be used to fill in the blanks on what is happening behind the scenes. Press releases and marketing campaigns reveal product features, positioning and pricing, but what’s really happening with the competition? Social media buzz is often driven by anonymous sources, journalists putting together clues, and leaks from disgruntled employees. By utilizing the free-flowing information found in social media, it’s possible to discover the story behind the competitor’s story, informing your own team with substantial information about a product launch or major campaign. That lets your team learn from your competitor’s successes and failures, as well as the feedback from the marketplace.

Bringing It All Together

emptyEvery department will be able to glean something different from this data, but it all stems from having a comprehensive tool set available. Thus, proper tool configuration and access across the entire company is important for this initiative to succeed. Tools should be used for both identification and quantitative analysis of trends in online conversation. This goes further than standard engagement tracking in a platform (e.g., mentions and retweets on Twitter); a comprehensive analysis foundation includes basic engagement statistics along with text and semantic analysis, quantitative analytics, and search engine usage with the ability to compare against previous benchmarks.

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emptyAchieving a comprehensive social media intelligence foundation requires a team effort across your company. But even for groups that are traditionally more averse to numbers and technology, it’s important to get on board. Each year social media has a greater influence on business, and perhaps the biggest reason to start monitoring social media comes from your competitors. Because whether you invest in it or not, you can bet they already have.

As Chief Marketing and Experience Officer for CO-OP Financial Services, Samantha Paxson is the architect of the company's go-to-market strategy. Paxson focuses on the intersection of technology, creativity, purpose and experience to meet the needs of CO-OP clients and their members. Discovering new ways to make CO-OP one of the most admired and exciting companies is her passion. Specific responsibilities include brand strategy, sales enablement and product/marketing strategy integration, strategic planning and research, consumer user experience development and analysis, and paid/owned/earned media strategy for multiple brands and business lines.


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