At GroundFloor Media, our GFM Digital practice offers what I believe is an innovative and highly customized approach to social media monitoring. Our Digital Snapshot™ is a proprietary social media discovery and competitive audit tool. Each Digital Snapshot combines measurable data with strategic insight to help clients understand what is being said about their brand, key competitors and most importantly, where opportunities exist to launch or improve a company’s social media presence.
I realize that I have an obvious bias as a GFM employee. But as an avid watcher of all things social media, GFM Digital does approach and deliver this research in a way that sets measurable benchmarks for clients and provides numerous recommendations for how to either create an online program from scratch or vastly improve a client’s engagement level in their current social media efforts.
How is this done? Lots and lots (and LOTS) of reading – what I like to call the “human touch.”
Yes, social media monitoring software has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Radian 6, among other offerings, has drastically reduced the amount of time it takes to aggregate keyword-based content. Such platforms have also greatly improved functions such as sentiment/tone categorization, if you are willing to accept a certain margin of error. Going one step further, we can even use software to automatically group conversations by theme, verbs and adjectives, eliminating the tedious task of reading upwards of 5,000 posts or more to determine what the most common conversation topics and consumer actions are for a brand.
But all that data and related graphs are only as good as the people reviewing and presenting the information; social media metrics also need to be reviewed with a keen understanding about your company and industry competitors. The way I see it, new technology simply helps us pull more targeted data in less time. The real labor of social media monitoring and auditing hasn’t changed much – the best research still requires strategic review by a human being in order to provide insight that can positively steer and impact a brand that wants to excel in this space.
And that brings us back to the manual evaluation that GFM Digital delivers for every client that engages in the Digital Snapshot process. We just completed our annual Digital Snapshot for a client that conducts regular qualitative and quantitative reviews of market data, key benchmarks and competitor actions. Our findings were compelling. The good news – our client continues to shape its voice in social media and make progress in engaging target audiences in high-quality online conversations. And the surprising news – their competitors often appeared one way “on paper” and entirely differently once we took a deeper look at the impact that they are having (or not) on social media.
Digital Snapshots can be tedious and often require enlarging an Excel document to 175 percent so that by the 200th tweet, you can still keep analyzing the content and apply it to the social media plan being developed for a client after the research phase. But in the end, the “human touch” and our continually evolving approach to this research process enables us to elevate our conversations with clients about our findings, and hopefully add significant, lasting value to their social media programs.