First steps into happy monitoring
When companies are new to social media monitoring their questions are: How do I get into it? When and how? Which tools should we use? How much money should we invest. The answer is: This depends on how mature your company is:
Stage 1: Start-up / Product development / Prelaunch
As nobody knows the new brand and its products, it is clear that there won’t be (m)any mentions. In this stage, social media monitoring can help getting information on the market and competitors. For instance, you can look for the context in which corporate keywords and terms pop up. Set up has to include search-terms accordingly. Free or cheap tools or even test-accounts are definitely suited to analyse the current position. Results should be analysed in the context of published studies of well-known insitutions (Forrester, Nielsen, Gartner …). If you are short of time and experience, it is recommendable to get in contact with a consultant agency which does the monitoring for you and puts results into perspective.
Stage 2: Rollout / Launch
In parallel to all communication activities, the public, the Media and customers should get in touch with the brand and its products. If these activities are successful or not will be reflected in the traffic to your website (web analysis), traditional media clippings, … and in social media monitoring reports. In this stage, support of an agency is advisable to put results into perspective. What would be best is if results would be compared across different communication channels.
Stage 3: Operations
As soon as operations start, a permanent solution is recommendable. If the company performs online activities, especially in the B2C market, monitoring should be done reguarly, internally or externally, with free, cheap or expensive tools. (Please, take into account that free tools cost money as well, as a smaller scope of services has to be compensated by manpower.) Even if there are no online activities and even if the company provides “only” B2B solutions, social media monitoring will give valuable insights. Selective reports on a monthly or quarterly basis are the best choice.
By the way: Still, there is no tool which delivers valuable insights by pushing a button. Human analysts will need inputs as well. However: Get into it. Success will justify efforts.