The Mechanics Of Social Media Dialogue
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Social Media Monitoring Research Process

There are a lot of freely available tools for monitoring and researching the web, Google Alerts etc. However, if you want to conduct sophisticated market research and tap into the larger pool of unstructured data found on the web. On forums, consumer generated media. Free tools are inadequate for finding the data and analyzing good research insights.

Social Media monitoring companies will develop databases of freely available content, review those online conversations and filter the complied conversations for useful analysis using automated and human driven linguistic analysis.

If needed, listening companies will develop relationships with secure content owners by asking permission to index and filer data from sites where consumer generated media is produced.

Here's an overview of how social media monitoring companies typically conduct their data collection process:

1. Research Goals: Clients describe their research goals, and a strategy is developed for how those goals will be achieved using social media research technology.

2. Data Building: Social media monitoring companies collect large volumes of consumer generated media - literally billions of discussions - into a database.

3. Mining & Tagging: That data is mined and tagged for basic identification purposes. Information to be tagged may be the author, the date and time the content was created, or the source of the content.

4. Blending for Standardization: The data is standardized into one relational database. This is the starting point for applying natural language processing and rigorous analysis.

5. Metrics: The data is turned into critical metrics such as volume - how many comments about a brand; or sentiment - are messages about a brand negative, positive or neutral?

6. Metric Answers: These metrics are applied to help researchers answer their critical product and brand questions.

7. Social CRM: Where triage and a response is needed quickly, such as communications events, several social media research vendors give clients the ability to identify incidents and route them to client managers using their own CRM system or through integration with other CRM vendors.

8. Social Media Training: Vendors will also provide advice on how to respond within social media.

Social Media Analysis Questions

Vendors will also provide analysis of your data, if they don't here are some questions I think its important to think about when using the data you've gathered in order to gain some value from the process.

1. Where is your community located? What social media channels do they use?

2. How is the community using the social media channel?

3. What's the etiquette of the community, and is it different depending upon the social media channel? It is important to understand community etiquette if you are going to conduct community management or blogger relations.

4. What are the important current news topics in the community? How do those topics relate to your product?

5. Who are the influencers in the community? What are the influencers' roles in the community, are they knowledge collectors or connectors?

6. What are the important keywords used in the social media community? The keywords used in conversation may be different from your industry search terms, but important to understand as they may be useful in developing ideas and content that is important to the online community or influencers.

7. Based upon the background knowledge you've gained about the community from your social media research, what content and relationships should you develop and build to help you improve your product, price, place and promotion?