Setting up the right keywords for social media monitoring is the first important step in a social media initiative. The keyword setup directly impacts the quality of incoming information and it is a key factor which affects the level of effort that is required to manage that information. The main challenge is to reduce noise (irrelevant content and spam) and to get you to the most relevant and interesting information fast.

This post is first of a series that provides tips on how to meet these challenges and to get to your business goals by optimizing the keyword setup in MutualMind social media management platform.

Before you get started with keywords, make sure that you’ve clearly defined a business purpose for your campaign. We recommend keeping the campaign keywords related to a well-defined business initiative such as a marketing campaign or a new product launch. Overloading the campaign with unrelated keywords makes it difficult to turn information into insights and business actions.

Here are the tips.

  1. Most commonly used categories for keywords include: business/brand name, product, services, names of key people/executives and important industry terms – for your brand and your top competitors.
  2. Avoid generic words such as technology, broadband internet or cell phone. These will result in very large volumes of results which will be noisy and very difficult to make sense of – unless of course, your intention is to track the trends for general industry terms. The Altimeter Group report, Social CRM –The New Rules of Relationship Management, has this advice: Use tightly scoped keywords to define the search parameters. Yet don’t go too tight or you miss key opportunities – going too wide results in too much noise.
  3. The keyword setup for brand and competitors has direct impact on the Share of voice, which provides a brand’s relative mentions versus its competitor(s) as a percentage. For instance, if you are comparing brand A with brand B and you include common industry terms such as cell phone, it is likely to distort the volume of results.
  4. As you start with monitoring, try to get an idea of the volume and type of conversations associated with keywords. One way to do this is to do a web search or a search in Twitter and Facebook for the keywords that you are planning to monitor social media for. Remember to monitor for common variations including typos and misspellings of keywords.
  5. Use the initial results from monitoring to craft the keywords that will get you relevant and useful results for your campaign. Keep refining the keywords till you get the right balance of volume and relevant results.
  6. The keywords in the campaign are not case sensitive. For example verizon internet will provide the same results as Verizon Internet.
  7. Multi-word keywords are useful to find specific information. Keywords of two or three words tend to work most effectively and help to narrow down your results. Do not use AND within the phrase – just list the words next to each other such as verizon internet. When you monitor for verizon internet, the platform finds content where all of the keywords are mentioned in that content item. That is, the results for verizon internet will provide you content items in which verizon AND internet are included, regardless of the order of appearance.
  8. To search for a phrase, a proper name, or a set of words in a specific order, put them in double quotes, for example “social media ROI”. This notation is called Strict Matching. Use strict matching with caution because by definition, it monitors for exact matches ONLY. Note that if you are monitoring for “social media ROI” then monitoring will not catch mentions such as “ROI of social media”. Also note that you should not use AND within the quotes unless it happens to be part of the phrase.
  9. In general, strict matching (phrases with quotes) will provide fewer results than the same phrase without quotes. It may be a useful exercise to setup similar phrases, with and without quotes. For example “verizon internet” and verizon internet.
  10. You can mix keywords with other keywords in quotes such as: “verizon internet” fios. This will find results where the exact phrase “verizon internet” and the keyword fios is also in the results.
  11. Working with keywords which have non-alphanumeric characters such as hyphen, ampersand or semicolons? Use quotes around the keyword, for example “my-bank”.
  12. Exclusions allow a neat way to exclude results based on keywords, URLs and social accounts. Use exclusions (keyword or other categories) to improve relevancy of the collected results. Note that you can also exclude websites, specific URLs or Twitter accounts.

Create a process where you review the results on a regular basis and refine the campaign setup. You many need to do this more often in the beginning.

Other ways to improve relevancy of data include Campaign Search and Content Labels.

Use Campaign Search feature in MutualMind to find information within the already collected results in the campaign. Search works differently from monitoring. Here’s how:

  • Search can provide you approximate matches in addition to the exact ones
  • You can construct queries with Boolean operators in Campaign Search
  • Search will provide recent results as well as historical results

Even after keyword tweaking, you are likely to get some results which are not directly relevant.  The content labels feature in MutualMind is a quick and handy way to organize content in buckets. Spam and irrelevant t content labels are pre-built in each campaign. Commonly used user-defined labels include customer service, brand mentions, product feedback and competitive analysis.

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