5 Ways To Be a Social Media Supersleuth

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Social media monitoring gets a bad rep.

On one end of the spectrum, it’s the rote, boring thing you have to do to keep up with your brand’s mentions. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s… well, super-creepy stalking.

I prefer to think of social monitoring as sleuthing – using all the resources available to you to get the fullest picture of what’s going on. Sleuthing answers big-picture questions, like: Does your market know about you and what you offer? Are customers happy and advocating for you? Are competitors doing something better than you? Are you using the feedback you get to improve your product and marketing?

Brands can use social media sleuthing to inform almost every element of decision-making, but it’s particular useful for:

  • Monitoring your brand or product
  • Keeping up with and share industry news
  • Connecting with influencers and advocates
  • Watching your competitors
  • Getting new content, marketing and product ideas

5 ways to sleuth with social media

1. Brand sleuthing

Brand monitoring is the foundation of any monitoring campaign – anytime you get to hear direct feedback about your brand or product, you’re getting social sleuthing gold.

What to monitor: Keep an eye on your brand name and product name(s), being sure to add in any common variations or misspellings you might encounter. You might also keep an eye on any public-facing leaders in your organization, your brand or product’s tagline or any noteworthy campaigns you’re running.

What you’re looking for: Here, you’ll be looking for the sentiment of how you’re being talked about, taking particular note of any frequently asked questions, reviews or feedback, and strong advocates or detractors of your brand.

2. Industry sleuthing

Monitoring your industry gives you a direct line into important news and trends, and also sets you up to become a thought leader in your field.

What to monitor: Consider the words people use when they talk about what you do, then set up your searches accordingly. Think keywords, hashtags, language, known industry news sources.

What you’re looking for: The overall picture of what’s going on, including industry perception, seasonal patterns and common pain points. Additional, look for hot content topics that you can share to start a conversation or replicate with your own spin on your site.

3. Influencer/advocate sleuthing

What to monitor: Look for brand advocates and detractors (hey, maybe you can change their minds!), as well as industry influencers and thought leaders.

What you’re looking for: Try to identify the drivers that made these folks spring into action, so you can nurture and replicate it. Note their questions, suggestions and pain points so you can use them to improve your product and service. Seek opportunities to further connect with them and build a closer relationship.

4. Competitor sleuthing

Keeping an eye on competitors isn’t cutthroat – it’s just good business.

What to monitor: For top competitors, take note of the channels in which they’re active, key campaigns they’re running, their social posts and their blog posts (RSS feeds can help you here).

What you’re looking for: How their community reacts to them: feedback, questions, reviews, the presence of advocates or detractors, etc.

5. Idea sleuthing

Idea sleuthing puts all the pieces together to glean big ideas from the smaller elements social monitoring uncovers. It explores how your audience and potential audience thinks, how and where members communicate with one another. It can tell you what they love about you, what they hate about you, what they want to see change about your product or service.

What to monitor: Great idea generation can come from any of the previous sleuthing categories. It’s about letting smaller realizations add up to something larger.

What you’re looking for: Viral content, trends that signify something larger about your industry or where it’s headed, passion points that create advocates or detractors, correlations that can help you create better content or a better experience, new relationships to build or nurture. The possibilities are endless!

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