Social Media Monitoring: a simple workflow

In my breakfast seminar to Glasgow Business GoGetters last month I stressed the importance of social media monitoring, and a number of people who kindly gave their time to hear me speak have been in touch to ask if there are any tips to share on getting started with a social media monitoring plan.

The task is a simple one: an effective monitoring plan needs to be sustainable, actionable, and one that actually helps you meet your business needs.

The following steps will help round out your listening notions into an executable strategy:


  • Are you listening just for your brand specifically?
  • What specific keywords and phrases are most important to you, and why?
  • What are your assumptions and expectations for what social media monitoring can help you learn or do?
  • Do you need to do competitive or industry analysis as well at this point?
  • What areas of the business can benefit most from understanding commentary and conversation on the social web?
  • Do you have particular initiatives or campaigns that you will track independently?


What are you hoping to accomplish with your social media monitoring program? Be specific, i.e. “we want to identify emerging customer service issues in social media and route them to our offline channels.” By when?

  • What do you know now as a baseline or status quo in that area?
  • What constitutes success or forward progress toward your goal(s)?
  • What measurements can you track and measure to illustrate progress?
  • How do they relate to things you’re measuring in other business areas like customer service, marketing, product development?


  • Who is going to be doing the social media monitoring?
  • What kind of training will they need? Tools?
  • Do you have front-line people dedicated to listening efforts, or are you working it into various job descriptions?
  • If you’re breaking it out into different roles, which topics/areas is each person responsible for monitoring?
  • How many hours can you dedicate to listening efforts per week? Per month?
  • What level of time and effort spent will indicate to you that you need more or fewer resources?


  • Who needs to know what you’re finding through your social media monitoring?
  • How will you document your listening and monitoring procedures and workflow?
  • How will you get the listening insights to the appropriate team members?
  • What are you expecting other team members to do with that information once they have it?
  • How will you allow them to provide feedback to refine your listening efforts?


  • What key information will you report? When should the first report happen after you start your listening program?
  • To whom?
  • How often?
  • Who will review the results and be responsible for drawing conclusions based on the analysis?
  • How will you dictate action steps based on the results?


Above all you should consider using an off-the-shelf social monitoring tool – Brightfire have a number of options available to you. This is the most efficient way to pull in all the available social media venues and layers in good noise filtering and keyword monitoring.

If a professional tool is not available and budget doesn’t allow for one to be procured, you should at least find a way to aggregate your social networks. Google (RSS) Reader, Browser bookmarks, Delicious, and FriendFeed are some of the popular ways used to aggregate some of the more popular social media channels and conversations.


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