Social Monitoring Versus Social Listening - Amber Naslund, Chris Morrison and Terry Rachwalski at SMC 2011

by Nicole Sorochan | Culture

Social media metrics will soon be as standard and prevalent as search and PPC analytics. That was the consensus of yesterday’s panel on Social Monitoring at Social Media Camp 2011, covering popular tools, strategies, and metrics.

Amber Naslund, co-author of The Now Revolution, was perhaps the most vocal (and helpful) panelist. One sound bite that got lots of attention on the #SMC11 Twitter feed was her distinction between monitoring and listening.

“Monitoring is collecting data points, but listening is all about gathering relevant data that you can act on.”

This became the theme of the discussion, and most of the audience’s questions focused on practical tips and strategies to start measuring social media ROI and performance. Here are some highlights from the Saturday discussion. I’ve organized the post around the audience’s major questions.

Is there a difference between B2B and B2C Monitoring?

The audience was particularly interested in the differences between measuring B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) social media campaigns.

Strategically, Amber Naslund, told the audience, there is very little difference between B2B versus B2C in terms of monitoring. But there is a difference when it comes to execution and the type of messages you decide to send out to your target audience. For B2B, spreading content and starting knowledge-based discussions can be really effective. “Instead of looking for direct interaction with your brand, look for opportunities to engage in conversations that are a level above your brand--industry trends, rallying people around blog posts and starting other knowledge-based conversations.”

What are some good places for smaller businesses to start monitoring and listening?

The panel’s consensus was to start with the points closest to you. Begin by looking for online references to your products, services and your key stakeholders. Then move out into all of the touch points that your business might have such as your competitors and social community. But the “place” changes from industry to industry. For example, LinkedIn might be good for a marketing agency; whereas forums are good for the auto-industry. The key is to find out where your customers live online.

Terry Rachwalski, president of Front Porch Perspectives, stressed the importance of starting with your organic search data. She also suggested that you can use your blog posts, Twitter followers, and other social interactions to find out where your customers are coming from and how they are finding you.

Final advice about selecting metrics?

Amber says to just start. Use simplicity to guide you. But remember that you have to ask a “So What” question. It’s not enough to set a single metric like “get more Facebook Likes”. Why do you want more Facebook Likes? You need to pick a secondary metric that is related to a goal you are trying to reach. For example, set the metric of turning Facebook Likes into conversions to your newsletter. The path that they get there is through your Facebook page. But the end result is a deeper level of interaction with your company.

Chris Morrison, president of MediaMiser, says that you want a combination of “output” versus “outcome.” You want to be able to explain why things happen and to make sure that you can show the value that is being driven by the interaction.

And no matter what you pick, pay attention to how it is trending over time. You need to have benchmarks and frames of references in order to make measuring data meaningful.

Some further reading:

Social Media Listening Platforms--Plan, Select, Deploy (Part One--Plan) 

Social Media Listening Platforms--(Part Two--Select) 

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Nicole Sorochan

Nicole Sorochan

Nicole is the visionary behind EnviroSpeak Media, a socially focused company that builds web tools for environmental change. She co-founded One Net Marketing, an online agency, that specializes in SEO,  social strategy, and online media campaigns. Nicole has 8 years of social marketing and interactive web platform development for companies all over North America. In addition, Nicole is an... more

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