The digital world now moves at warp speed, and social marketing campaigns need to move lightning fast to keep up. That is why real-time social marketing campaign tracking has become increasingly important for brands that leverage the power of social media, but are wary of falling victim to the viral responses that can damage a company’s reputation if left unmonitored.
Social media gives companies huge marketing opportunities, but also challenges them to stay up to minute on the second-by-second social interaction consumers are having with their brand. Launching a social marketing campaign and not tracking it in real-time can backfire. Everyone knows that hashtags can be hijacked and Facebook conversations can turn into customer complaints. No brand wants to see a viral social campaign turn on them. Follow these four steps to keep your brand in control of the social conversation:
Select a social marketing tool that puts you in control
The social world is no longer the simple call-and-response posting of content that leaves customer reaction as an open question. Brands now have more power over their social image and can curate, track and manage their social campaigns in real time. New offerings like Offerpop’s Hashtag Gallery not only elicit social responses from multiple social networks and compile them all in one tab or Web-based location, they allow brands to control the content of a campaign and weed out offensive or inappropriate responses. Hashtag Gallery’s ability to combine all social response to a campaign in one location that can be viewed in real-time saves marketers the time and effort of tracking the responses on multiple social sites. And the brand can make sure the campaign is effective and staying on message in real-time.
Choose your hashtag carefully
If you are running a hashtag campaign, selecting the right hashtag is a crucial first step. As hashtags rise in popularity, anything too common can make monitoring difficult as messages that have nothing to do with your campaign can end up being added into your monitoring. Or you could end up hijacking an existing hashtag and angering the Twitterverse. For best results, make your hashtag simple and memorable, but also unique, especially if it is going to be promoted in television, print or online advertising.
Respond nimbly to real-time red flags
Social media is so instantaneous that real-time monitoring can alert you to red flags even before they hit the news. Customers expect brands to be sensitive when national or regional tragedy strikes. In the age of social tools that pre-load tweets or status updates and then automatically send out these social messages at predetermined times, companies have to put thought into not appearing tone deaf or out of touch when tragedy strikes. Monitoring can act as one more reminder of when a social strategy needs to be put on hold or changed.
And companies need to have a plan in place in case a crisis involves their own company. Real-time monitoring can gauge social feedback on a crisis, and give brands another channel to talk directly to customers during difficult times.
Respond candidly to criticism
All the monitoring and management tools in the world will not save your company from taking some lumps on social media from time to time. When social users criticize or critique your brand, use it as an opportunity to show your responsiveness. Respond as quickly as possible. Don’t be defensive. Show the rest of your social following that you can address any legitimate product or customer service issues quickly and effectively.
Constance Aguilar handles strategic communications for The Abbi Agency, a PR, social and content marketing company in Reno and Las Vegas, Nev. Her duties include overseeing client strategy on social media channels and through traditional media relations as well as event producing. You can follow her on Twitter @ConnieAguilar and read her blog posts at The Abbi Agency Blog.
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