1. The facts and the urgency: Status of social media in Malaysia
Malaysia is the country with the highest number of Facebook users, spending the longest amount of time on social networking sites. The question is not if or when to embrace social media. The challenge is how, and what.
In the plethora of social media platforms, some marketers are hesitating to engage in social media activities and monitoring, perhaps out of not having the know-how, or the tools that can enable them to become social media savvy. Here are some tips to get you closer.
2. Listen to your audience, and learn.
Social media provides us with a unique opportunity to understand more about our customers.
By listening in to conversations about brands, products, categories and campaigns we can get a close to real-time understanding of whether our marketing activities are getting across the messages we intend and generating the talkability and the consumer response we want. But beyond that, social media gives us access to a large, dynamic and constantly updated pool of qualitative insights, which enhance our understanding of what's on consumers' minds – their hopes, dreams, fears, disappointments and joys.
3. Listen to all, or not listen at all?
Be it all feedback or just the tip of the iceberg, we have to listen, learn and engage. Think of the value of consumers' free expressions – they are certainly genuine messages worth listening to.
How often do we bring our offline conversations online, and online discussions offline? Don't we all update our Facebook status with things that we do offline? So, although it is an online measure, it is not always segregated from what's happening offline.
4. Social media monitoring: The Challenge
Unlike paid research, social media monitoring is challenging. We are not in control of the conversations or the information that we are looking for. We only get to see what is already there. The technology to capture is crucial, so is the research and analysts' expertise to interpret.
There is a lot of noise online, and while we might not want or need to listen to it all, how do we find out whose conversations are most relevant and worth listening to? Brands need to be really sure of their monitoring objectives. Don't expect miracles or fast solutions to the problem. Remember that this is a learning process, not a black box.
5. Social media monitoring: What to consider?
Not all brands are social media-friendly. There are some categories that consumers don't talk much about, or don't talk openly enough, but it does not mean social monitoring is not useful for these brands, as there are different ways we can learn from consumers.
Think of identifying and influencing your influencers. Social monitoring tools give us first-hand access to brand influencers. According to a study by Meteor Solutions, key influencers can drive 20, 30 or even 70 per cent of all visits to a brand's campaign pages, beating out display and search advertising as the most efficient driver of traffic to their sites.
Think of social monitoring as a tool for crisis and customer service management. How best your prompt actions will reflect on your customer service and brand if you can identify the complaints, the complainers and address the issue almost in real time. Not to mention how such technology could save your brand in an unfortunate time of a PR crisis.