Social Savvy: Are you monitoring social networks for mentions? - Apr 2018

By Christine B. Whittemore

In the February issue, I listed ten steps to help you build a social media roadmap. Here, I will cover Steps 1 and 2 in more depth: monitoring online sites and social networks for mentions.

Perhaps you don’t yet feel ready for total immersion in social business. A first step into the social world is setting up a program for monitoring social networks and your online mentions. For this article, I am distinguishing between social media listening and monitoring. Ultimately, you’ll want to develop a social media listening strategy. The first step, though, is monitoring.

Monitoring is about keeping track of what’s being said on social networks about your company, your brand and your people. Monitoring provides you with perspective on how others perceive your business. Then, it’s putting together a system for responding as necessary. If you feel uncomfortable with this idea, you must first realize and accept that people are talking about you. You can’t stop them. Ignoring them doesn’t mean they won’t be talking about you. So, even if you don’t like what people are saying, it’s important to monitor so you can do something about what they say.

Step 1. Google your company and brand name and see what shows up in the search results. Review the listings that come up in a Google search on your business name. If you notice directory listings, check them out; claim them if you haven’t already, adding relevant information about your business. Pay particular attention to reviews, complaints and compliments. You’ll find those under review sites such as Google-My-Business and Yelp. You may even find links to Houzz discussions and online forums where your business name has been mentioned. If any review sites include reviews of your business, look them over. You’ll want to acknowledge them publicly or privately depending on the network, get to the bottom of bad reviews, and start to regularly encourage customers to leave reviews.

Step 2. You will want to monitor your social business profiles. In Google Analytics check out which social networks drive traffic to your website. For dealers and distributors, Facebook and Yelp may be strong sources. For business-to-business organizations, LinkedIn may be more important. Don’t forget to pay attention to feedback coming directly into your website via blog comments or “Contact Us” forms. Think of this as customer service 101, since customers will use all means available-including social networks-to get your attention. You want to be ready.

In order to be socially savvy for your customer, it’s important to monitor your social networks from a blocking and tackling perspective.

1. Scenario planning. Scenario planning is about considering a range of different possible situations and thinking through-ahead of time-how you would respond. In so doing, you might identify areas where you aren’t prepared and others that are slam-dunks.

In the early days of social media, vocal social customers benefited from inconsistent practices because of the lack of coordination between online and offline conversations. Don’t let similar situations affect you. Here are some scenarios to consider:

• If someone pays you a compliment, say thank you.
• If someone leaves a bad review or complains about you, acknowledge, move the conversation off the public platform to email or phone, get the facts. Once the situation is resolved, report back publicly on the situation.
• If an online troll pursues you socially (yes, they do exist), and you’ve determined it’s a troll, disengage, then determine when you will banish or complain about someone on the social network, should the issue continue.

Let’s be grounded. More good situations than bad ones happen. You just want to anticipate the worst so that you are prepared. You also want to identify who in your organization will respond, so you do so in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than ignoring someone who’s made an effort to reach out to you, especially if that person is already unhappy.

At a recent conference, McAfee-the online cyber security firm-detailed how its LinkedIn company profile had been hacked. Thanks to vigorous scenario planning, they were able to address the situation quickly. Their hack had to do with poor third-party vendor password protocols.

As part of your planning, know where your logins and passwords are and be vigilant. For sites that allow multiple administrators, consider adding a backdoor admin-a never-used login that you can access if your other accesses fail.

2. What are your customer service resolution practices? Be sure to understand what your customer service resolution practices are and how social complaints fit in. Then identify members of your team who can respond quickly when they are needed. Ensure that everyone in your organization understands what to do when the unexpected happens and regularly discuss it. Perhaps you’ll include some of these scenarios in your organization’s social media guidelines. You might even create a flow chart as the Air Force did to visually depict how to respond to blog comments back in 2008.

3. Add guidelines to your social profiles. For some social profiles (e.g., Facebook), you’ll be able to add rules and guidelines in your ‘About’ section. Those might include what’s unacceptable and worthy of complaint or deletion (e.g., inappropriate language, disrespectful behavior, not abiding by the rules of the network) as well as steps to take concerning customer service matters.

In a public forum, it’s bad practice to simply delete what you don’t want to hear. However, if comments are truly offensive, and you’ve set reasonable guidelines about them, you have credibility when taking action. Do the same for your blog by including similar guidelines in your welcome post and even in your comment form.

Once you gain an understanding of your current social network situation, it is time to develop a schedule for regular monitoring.

• Regularly Google yourself.
• Consider setting up Google alerts for your company name, your brand and any high-profile members on your team.
• Create similar searches on Twitter.
• Check the emails associated with your social profiles for messages and updates.
• Enable the Facebook Page Manager app for notifications. This is separate from your personal Facebook app.
• Set a Google reminder to regularly check your Yelp, Angie’s List, Houzz and other profiles if you don’t receive notifications.
• Check Board Reader-a social monitoring tool- if your constituents are active in forums. Don’t forget to share those reviews and comments internally with your team, so you encourage positive events, learn from the negative ones and generally celebrate regularly and consistently asking customers for public feedback. It becomes a virtuous cycle.

Social monitoring helps you keep track of what’s being said about you. Since your reputation reflects how you treat others, you need to manage the process, so you can address misunderstandings, express appreciation and encourage feedback.

Copyright 2018 Floor Focus