The 4 Cornerstones of Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring often gets lumped into very traditional departments inside organizations, and when this happens, certain aspects of the practice can be overlooked. There are many features of social media monitoring beyond its ability to help manage your brand’s reputation via customer service. When brands come to Ignite asking for help with ‘social media monitoring‘, we think holistically with the understanding that the practice helps service many different channels inside of their brand (not just customer service).

The four cornerstones of social media monitoring are (1) Competitive Analysis, (2) Product Development, (3) Reputation Management and (4) Outreach.

Competitive Analysis

Social monitoring can be an extremely effective way to keep tabs on your competitors. In fact, depending how thorough of a job you do, you can effectively use social media monitoring to legally spy on your competitors. The kind of information that can be unveiled can be worth its weight in gold. So long are the days of wondering exactly what your big brand competitors are doing. The only social efforts that are even remotely hidden are some interactions on Facebook. Other than that, most things are free game, and can be effectively monitored. It is not difficult to unearth specific strategies and tactics your competitors might be launching in the social sphere.

Another area regarding competitive analysis that should be thought through is the metrics obtained from your competitors’ overall brand health. Now that you are able to identify specific campaigns they are running, you should be able to assess the overall reaction of a campaign via sentiment analysis comparisons.

Product Development

In the past when a company needed to conceive new ideas for products they would research what their target market wanted via focus groups and other outside research agencies who would mine traditional media clippings. Granted those are still effective practices; however, now that users share anything and everything online, companies have the ability to tap into a vast wealth of knowledge from their customers. There is huge potential for brands to effectively use social media monitoring to help supplement the product development process.

Reputation Management

When fellow social media practitioners discuss social media monitoring it is generally in regards to customer service and reputation management. When companies setup a process for monitoring it generally involves an employee(s) reading posts/tweets/videos/images and deciding whether or not they deserve a response. When companies make the decision to spend budget on a social monitoring plan this is typically what it gets ticketed as, a means to monitor and react to customers.

Unfortunately, as I have noted, there is much more to monitoring a brand and reacting to customers than the customer service angle. Simply sticking the oversight of your monitoring plan with the brand manager or lead customer service representative typically means many of the additional benefits of social media monitoring get kicked under the rug. If you must go this route make sure those in charge of the plan are educated on the real ramifications and make sure they have the means to share information with other channels quickly and efficiently.


The benefits of running targeted blogger outreach campaigns via social media monitoring insights can be quite significant. If you are skeptical, listen up. Monitoring really is a means for discovering your passionate customers. Utilizing those fans and turning them into fanatics can have a huge impact. What you do with those individuals discussing your brand is up to you; however, here are a few things you can do to help market your products:

  • Send a blogger who mentioned your product free product
  • Bloggers who discuss your brand consistently can be asked to join a bloggers club
  • Customers who mentioned your site without directly linking to it can be asked to link to the site with custom anchor text
  • Etc.


As you can see, a holistic monitoring process really crosses over many different segments of a business. Simply sticking monitoring in the customer service department and calling it a day is a huge mistake. Work towards developing the structure and efficiency that is required to effectively orchestrate a well oiled social media monitoring process inside of your organization.

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  • Michael Fraietta
    Posted at 16:38h, 01 December

    Hey Brian,

    Nice post, you paint a clear picture on what’s typically an abstruse concept . I will definitely forward this on to those who may be interested. I would also suggest including the measurement of success, or lack thereof, of traditional campaigns. The amount of mentions itself (positive or negative) says heaps about a television or radio advertisement effectiveness in terms of getting publicity.

    Michael Fraietta
    Community Manager & Chief Listener for Filtrbox

  • BrianChappell
    Posted at 17:13h, 01 December

    @michael I strongly agree with measuring your social efforts. I think I am going to work on another post explaining all the intricacies of it, as I felt it was a bit out of scope for this post. Funny you mentioned it though, because I was battling between including it or not.

  • alichfield
    Posted at 20:06h, 01 December

    Really liked your points. Too many are treating social media like old school websites. They set one up because “hey, everyone else has one!” but then they had no idea what to do with it. Something you really emphasized is the need to really use these tools as an interface to what you want to know about your success. Checking in with customers, checking in on the competition, referring to what is being said about your product, it’s all important. Social media can drive the success of your company when you put yourself on the “receiving end” of the information that your customers are trying to give back to you.
    Adam @Advent Creative Web Design

  • Jeremy S. Griffin
    Posted at 00:57h, 02 December

    You should call that the Social Media Shuriken.

  • Ian Greenleigh
    Posted at 18:54h, 02 December

    Great analysis. Regarding Rep Management, I’ve found it useful to combine with Outreach in the following way: Once you know what people are saying and where- steer prospective clients to these conversations. I believe it was Tempurpedic that put forth the most effective and visible demonstration of this I’ve seen yet in a commercial: “Search twitter and see what people are saying about us”. Sounds ballsy, but when you know people openly rave about your product, you should make sure others are hearing it.

  • Danielle
    Posted at 19:03h, 02 December

    I really love this approach. So often we measure what’s easy and not what matters!

  • BrianChappell
    Posted at 19:11h, 02 December

    I love that approach. Social proof is a very valuable asset that should be utilized. At the end of the day if you can get prospective customers to see other satisfied customer reactions you are going to sell more product and increase brand favorability.

  • Chris Marentis
    Posted at 13:06h, 03 December

    Very good posts. The idea you convey that this is about a holistic strategy is key. These four elements all work together to create a firm foundation for social media marketing. Well done!

  • phanschke
    Posted at 15:58h, 04 December

    Great post, however I think that you are missing another cornerstone. The need to monitor the results of marketing campaigns is critical to ensure that the campaign is effective. Marketing has been incredibly challenged in the past with determining how well their campaign has worked and whether they are getting a good (if any) return on their investment. If you feel that your current 4 cornerstones handle campaign management, please let me know.

  • Lauren Vargas
    Posted at 17:43h, 04 December

    This is a great visual to demonstrate why the enterprise must socialize. Helping organizations see how social media touches and integrates into several areas of the business will foster greater buy in to move social media from a campaign to a program.

    Lauren Vargas
    Community Manager at Radian6

  • kathelinejeanpierre
    Posted at 05:52h, 05 December

    It paints a clearer picture of what companies could be aiming for in terms of feedback or reintegration of feedback and social media monitoring into their company’s supply chain and value network. Great insight. thank you

  • Norman Julio Flecha
    Posted at 09:33h, 05 December

    Very nice peace of work… from the monitoring point of view..

    Now how about the Paid reviews really can’t monitor that, so how can we count on these data stats!

    “dunno just checking”

    Norman Flecha

  • Norman Julio Flecha
    Posted at 09:35h, 05 December

    And how about the Paid reviews really can’t monitor that, so how can we count on any of this data stats!

    “dunno just checking”

    Norman Flecha

  • birgerking
    Posted at 23:03h, 05 December

    Good points!

    ” Unfortunately, as I have noted, there is much more to monitoring a brand and reacting to customers than the customer service angle.” – As far as I can say most companies perfer to use monitoring to react on customers in first, pushing out marketing and pr blubbles. That’s different from customer service communication. That’s why they miss the conversation.

  • patrickmurphy
    Posted at 14:53h, 15 December

    Hello Brian,

    You article is write you can break Social Media into the 4 buckets. Each one is different, serves a completely different purpose with a different target. But what if you are just a person who wants to tell people about you! Is Social Media becoming to business related?

  • Social Networking Software
    Posted at 19:51h, 15 December

    This is an excellent post! Your four cornerstones of social media monitoring are so crucial and if not employed effectively can have disastrous effects. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Tom Martin
    Posted at 01:52h, 31 December

    I think you can add a fifth cornerstone: creative development. By mining the language of your consumer via social media monitoring you can develop insights, understand language and discover brand positions. Then this input can be used to create more compelling, relevant and ultimately effective advertising — online and off.

  • grahamlubie
    Posted at 01:08h, 07 January

    Nice breakdown of Social Media Monitoring. Your four buckets provide a structure for “grouping” Contributions and then Measuring your overall Social Media program’s success.

    I believe that effective Monitoring | Contribution|Measurement or (MCM) are the cornerstones of any effective Social Media program. Here is a Framework on how I structure these different components:

  • BrianChappell
    Posted at 15:03h, 07 January

    Thanks for sharing your framework Graham.I shared it with my followers on Twitter.

    It is an interesting way to look at it.

  • grahamlubie
    Posted at 17:26h, 07 January

    Thanks Brian – I just started following you.

  • Dallas SEO
    Posted at 00:43h, 31 December

    I like this approach. Often we measure what’s simple and not what is the most important.

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