Traditional Online and Social Media Monitoring

Monitoring is the process that keeps you on top of what others are saying about your organization, your brand, your results; it alerts you to online customer requests and comments, and when online responses are expected in return. It keeps you informed of relevant industry discussions, data, and opportunities. It positions you to track your competitors, or learn what your employees are saying to one another about your organization and clients.

Why Monitor?

Your organization has likely adopted a media PR and web marketing strategy, which includes a robust website, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts, and maybe even a Facebook page. The opportunities to engage a broader audience for products and services was- and is- undeniably attractive and has been quickly adopted by marketing, sales groups, and professionals in all industries.

Social Media Risk

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Consider the Following:

  • Facebook has 1.28 Billion monthly active users
    • Billion are mobile active users (June, 2014)
  • 72% of online adults visit Facebook at least once a month
  • G+ has 540 Million monthly active users
  • 53% of interaction between a G+ user and a Brand is positive (it’s that other 47% we’re worried about)
  • Twitter has 255 Million monthly active users, and 1 Billion total users
  • 500 Million Tweets per day
  • Instagram has 200 Million monthly active users
  • 23% of teens consider Instagram their ‘go-to’ social network
  • 50 Million users signed up to Instagram in the last 6 months
  • LinkedIn has 187 Million monthly active users
  • More than 2 users sign-up for LinkedIn every second
  • 41% of Linked visits are via mobile
  • Pinterest has 40 Million monthly active users
  • 84% of Women and 50% of Men on Pinterest stay active
  • Vine has 40 Million total users
  • Snapchat has 60 Million
  • The number of Snapchat snaps per day is 400 Million

stats credit mediabistro

As the audience continues to increase and new social media tools continue to emerge, the risks that organizations have always been vulnerable to are enhanced. Furthermore, the line between business and personal communications has become blurred, further exposing your organization to liability.

Today, more people have a voice than ever before. Their communications and interactions are instantaneous and far reaching. As a result, social media risk mitigation is fast becoming a field of expertise unto itself. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, vanity websites, blogs and other forms of social media are virtual (and permanent) warehouses of evidence. Understanding how to monitor these communications and interactions will enable you to both assess the risk and reap greater rewards through richer engagement.

As social media use has grown, we are seeing regulators, like FINRA and the FFIEC, promulgate regulation to protect investors; the SEC issue notices which provide guidance for using social media in the context of regulated business transactions;.; and the IRS, using social networking sites and tools, like Google, to investigate tax payers and to value transactions. (If they are researching your clients, you need to as well.)

RELATED: FFIEC Issues Guidance on Social Media

Also notable, is the ever increasing body of case law emanating from social media risk, including claims of defamation and copyright infringement; discrimination; breach of non-compete agreements; employee misrepresentation on social media sites – all with significant consequences, including associated judgments, fines and penalties.

The Costs of a Social Media “Incident”

A Symantec survey (July, 2011) quantified some of the costs stemming from a social media ‘incident’:

  • reduced stock price (average cost: $1,038,401 USD)
  • litigation costs (average cost: $650,361 USD)
  • direct financial costs (average cost: $641,993 USD)
  • damaged brand reputation/loss of customer trust (average cost: $638,496 USD)
  • lost revenue (average cost: $619,360 USD)
  • in addition, more than 90 percent of respondents who experienced a social media incident suffered negative consequences as a result.

A 2014 Crisis Communications survey from Continuity Insights reveals where Social Media & Notification Systems Risks Respondents were given an opportunity to describe the risks they associate with the use of social media, several recurring themes emerged, most of which were also cited in years prior. Interestingly, nearly 62% of respondents said they plan to use social media to gather information during an event or crisis, up from 52% in 2012. Unsurprisingly, Twitter and Facebook are clearly the top two sources of information. How do respondents plan to use the information they gather from social media? As in previous years, only a small portion (17%) have a centralized group such as virtual operations support team (VOST) in place to process and distribute relevant information.

The risks expressed by respondents in the survey include:

  • Reputation risks:
    • Damage to reputation
    • The public would see mistakes
    • Brand could be tarnished
  • Misinformation:
    • Propagation of incorrect/false information
    • False media could be created to slander company
    • Information could be misinterpreted
    • Lack of context
  • Security:
    • Accounts could be hacked
    • Gateway for spam and malware
    • Fear of identity theft
    • Information security concerns
    • Breaches of privacy possible
  • Lack of control:
    • Little control over message and sentiment
    • Widespread notification beyond intended audience possible
    • People could misrepresent the company/brand
    • Inability to retract misinformation
    • Rumor control difficult
  • Congruity issues:
    • Once it is used to disseminate information, must continue to use it and update often
    • Followers grow accustomed to looking for information on certain channels
    • Concerns about not communicating quickly enough
  • Employee issues:
    • No employee designated or available to control social media
    • Release of sensitive information
    • Loss of productivity
    • Inappropriate messages
    • General lack of understanding of how to use social media
    • Runaway gossip by disgruntled/ former employees

In light of the ever mounting regulatory, legal, and financial pressures, the management of social media risk must be approached in your organization with a mature plan, a mature team, and the flexibility to quickly adapt to or disregard rapid-launch, new technologies and tools as appropriate to a specific organization. Your organization must be positioned to be ready to respond to a threat or incident before it occurs.

The Continuity Insights Survey also notes: “Of all the respondents who plan to gather information from social media during a crisis, fewer than half (43%) have strategies in place to verify the information. The 2014 results indicate a decline in the number of organizations that plan to gather information using social media monitoring tools.

Last year, over half (57%) claimed to use social media monitoring tools; this year only 49% percent report using such tools. Google Alerts continues to be the most popular monitoring option. Yet, during a crisis, the once-daily Google alert is not useful for real-time monitoring and situational awareness. It seems that the free and very useful TweetDeck and HootSuite applications are gaining ground, and are now used by 28% and 35% of respondents, respectively.”

Building an Artificial Intelligence Monitoring Program

The effort to manage a solid social media program can be time-consuming and challenging. As a result, a broad range of measurement and analytic tools have evolved to meet the needs of Social Media Management (SMM).

The majority of these tools measure your social media “reach” and the growth or shrinkage of your audience. Some measure more complex metrics such as how often content has been viewed or redistributed, audience demographics, user sentiment, and conversions to actionable sales activities. Others allow the publishing of content to – and management of – multiple accounts, accessed by multiple team members.

It is only recently that we have seen the emergence of more sophisticated tools that track, measure and allow customized search of the broad reach of a brand across multiple social platforms including competitor analyses, and the ability to focus in on, engage in, and measure the effectiveness of very specific conversations and activities.

Let us help you implement the right monitoring tools and programs for your organization – Learn more today.

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