Gauging real-time reactions and getting a pulse on conversation trends is a key benefit to monitoring social media. Doing so allows your brand to stay proactive in emerging markets or with social trends, as well as to manage potential crises.

Understanding Platform Trends

However, it’s also important to understand some of the inherent trends within platforms, such as the audience that is most likely using those platforms and how they are likely to engage. For example, in a recent article examining Twitter conversation surrounding New Jersey governor Chris Christie and a shutdown of the George Washington Bridge, the Pew Research Center points out that tweets about the political scandal trend negative for the Governor at a ratio of 3-to-1. However, the article goes on to note that in other Pew analysis, it has been found that the Twitter audience tends to be more liberal than conservative. Setting aside the specifics of this particular controversy, having that additional knowledge about the audience is helpful in presenting a sophisticated, robust and contextual picture of public and consumer perception about an issue, product, or brand.

It’s also important to stay on top of shifts within platform demographics and usage. Other research from has shown how, while once a male-dominated platform, Twitter users are now more likely to be female (outnumbering men by 6%) and that females tweet more frequently than their male counterparts. Not surprisingly, the topics of interest among Twitter users also varies depending upon gender. While men are more likely to focus on sports and technology, women more frequently discuss family and fashion.

Improving Your Social Media Monitoring Strategy

All of this research points to the value of examining how your brand or product is perceived on social media and the importance of ensuring that you have a robust approach for accomplishing that task. Social media presents a rich opportunity for researching your market in a relatively inexpensive way. Trends in volume, sentiment and theme await identification and evaluation on not only Twitter, but also Facebook, forums, and image-heavy platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube or Vine. Moreover, new platforms emerge on a continual basis and while some of them gain more traction than others, it’s always useful to maintain awareness of these changes and at least consider how incorporating these platforms into your social media strategy could be beneficial to your brand. A new platform may be just the avenue your brand needs to connect with consumers or generate buzz about your products.

Arming your social media monitoring approach with this type of information helps ensure a targeted and more effective level of engagement with the consumer. You will be able to communicate with your brand’s audience both where it makes the most impact (platform) and in a manner that resonates with them (content/messaging). Additionally, if you monitor and analyze your competitors’ conversation as well, you can identify ways in which to differentiate your brand’s voice and interaction with your consumers from your competitors’.

Related Articles:

Behind the Numbers: Social Share of Voice

How To: Score in Social Media

You Talkin’ to Me? An Introduction to SEO Linguistic Analysis