Why Keyword Based Social Listening is Not Enough

By Babar Bhatti on May 8, 2012

For companies looking to measure various aspects of brand health, experts often recommend starting with social listening. Listening for social media conversations based on keywords or phrases is something that more and more companies are doing today. Listening based on keywords is great for catching the scattered conversations on twitter, blogs, forums etc but is that enough to get a full view of discussions around your?

The fact is that if you do just keyword based listening, you are missing out on an important piece of the puzzle. How? First of all, not all conversations of interest may contain the keywords that you are listening for. Many conversations take place on specific social channels such as Facebook pages where the keywords are irrelevant – the channel itself provides the context.

In order to get a 360 degree view of your business on social you must, in addition to the keyword based listening, listen to and track the social channels where your target audience are. The benefits of this approach range from discovery of issues, customer feedback, better customer and competitive intelligence.

This concept can be extended to included ratings and reviews sites and businesses with local franchises as well. However, the focus of this post are the major social channels such as Facebook pages, blogs, Linkedin groups, Youtube channels, which provide over 90% of the conversation volume.

These channels include:

  1. Your brand channels (on and off-site)
  2. Competitor’s channels
  3. Industry channels (e.g. influencer blogs, LinkedIn groups or FB pages).

For each channel you should track the stream or the feed from the channel as well as understand the bigger picture view of the activity on that channel. The measurements for each channel are at two levels: channel level summary and the ability to drilldown and analyze at a granular level i.e at the post and user level. The analytics should include text analytics to provide topics and sentiment information.

Here are a few examples of how metrics and text analytics from Facebook page can enrich your social intelligence.

The ability to drill down to the posts and comments and to filter and search enables you to process the data efficiently. The capability to interact with the user activity allows you to be proactive.

Here’s one more example of social channel tracking. This screenshot is from MutualMind social insights and it shows social engagement for a given blog feed.

Social channel intelligence is a valuable source of business information that should be used in conjunction with the keyword based listening. Keyword based listening may provide a false sense of security that could be highly misleading. Unfortunately there are social media monitoring vendors that charge by volume of keyword mentions and therefore have an obvious self-interest in promoting that. At MutualMind we believe that social listening is not complete without full social channel measurement – that reflects our all-in-one social listening and management approach.

  • http://joakimnilsson.com/ Joakim Nilsson

    Monitoring the social stream of content from profiles is a lot of content to monitor. I’m sure Mutalmind works like most other SocialCRM tools i.e. you setup streams for each of the channels/profiles you want to monitor. Albeit this is good for the engaged community manager, do you have any future vision on how this massive amount of data could be more easily digestible? 

  • http://mutualmind.com/ Babar Bhatti

    Joakim – excellent question. In MutualMind we’ve mechanisms for identifying and tracking bulk profiles for tracking. We’re working to automate the process to the extent possible.