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With so many providers, charging from nothing to thousands of pounds, what are we to make of Social Media Monitoring (SMM)? At piquant, we’ve had a look at a few of the SMM tools available commercially. Here’s our take on the world of SMM.

What is SMM?

Social media monitoring is “research based on what is being said on the web, especially social media, about a brand.” In most cases the word research can be substituted with the word “reporting”. The fact that these reports are live and accessible on demand limits the amount of actual analysis is provided. Instead, the focus is on plain reporting, basic calculations and, in the case of some more expensive tools, benchmarking.

Why is SMM valuable?

SMM offers a measure by which social media campaigns can be tracked and general online brand sentiment monitored & measured. It is a tool for online reputation management, it allows for quick response to issues such as a complaint before they go viral. SMM allows a company to “engage” with its consumers in a way never before possible, but some argue that you are better off hiring a Social Media Manager than automate everything because automation defeats the purpose of socialising.

SMM allows you to identify the most engaging content, engagement trends and other factors such as busy facebook days, popular tweeting hours or active content users. SMM also turns online posts and comments into Opportunities to See (OTS) and can turn these OTS numbers into an advert value equivalent (AVE), all useful metrics to have to hand.

What does SMM not do?

SMM does not generate insights – largely, it provides tracking and reporting. It does not “allow for a better allocation of resources to various areas of the online conversation”.

SMM is not ROI. It is the equivalent of collating your GRPs (gross rating points, a measure of media deployment) for radio, TV and other traditional channels. One thing we found slightly disturbing was that almost every SMM provider included the phrase “improve your online ROI” with no proof. The trick here is what is meant by ‘ROI’. We would argue that unless a metric shows you the financial return (sales or profit) on your investment, then the metric isn’t ROI. SMM tools measure the amount of activity, but without a sense of whether this activity generates incremental financial value.

Furthermore such tools, whilst delivering great-looking reports and dashboards, tend to fall short on delivering actionable recommendations and take-outs, which rather limits your ability to do anything with the information.

So what?

There is, of course, a case for doing whatever you’re doing as well as you can. SMM may help with this pointing out details such as whether response to a video is greater than response to a picture, or the most popular hour on facebook, but unless they can link the likes, sentiments, positive mentions, negative mentions and whole host of other metrics to sales performance, SMM does nothing to improve your ROI.

Piquant and SMM

Piquant have many years of experience measuring and improving the ROI of marketing investments, including investments in non-traditional media. Call us today for an informal chat about how we can help you increase the return on your marketing investment.

Further reading

http://wiki.kenburbary.com/social-meda-monitoring-wiki
http://www.brandtology.com/information-banner/analyze-social-media-sentiments-in-multiple-languageslized-insights-in-multiple-languages/
http://www.slideshare.net/Synthesio/the-quick-start-guide-to-social-media-monitoring
http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/social-media-monitoring/the-problem-with-social-media-monitoring-tools/

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