Each quarter Snoo.ws tackles a new series topic to provide our audience with insight, intelligence, examples and ideas. This month is Monitoring Month where we will cover everything from basic monitoring 101 to the top monitoring tools to monitoring’s role in your overall strategy. So, stay tuned – there’s plenty to come.
Throughout this Snoo.ws Series on Social Media Monitoring, we’ve discussed a variety of ways to monitor the Internet for mentions of your company, brand, products and/or name. While talking about the various tools, context of conversations, how to monitor and what to use monitoring for – there’s one area I’ve noticed lacking in attention, that’s certainly worthy of mention.
Online forums and message boards take up a huge portion of online conversation. The types of forums that exist are every bit as varied as the kinds of interests and specialties that people all over the world dedicate time and energy to. Hobbies, careers, sports, entertainment, beliefs, locations – you name it, it probably has at least one related online community that talks to one another on a forum or message board.
Your customers are out there and they’re talking about your brand. Sometimes they seek you out, and talk about their feelings on your pages – your Facebook, they mention you by name on Twitter. Those are easier to find, the whole point is to get your attention.
Often times though, consumers talk to one another about products and services that they like in their own neck of the woods. The discussion isn’t meant for your ears, but if you’re able to know what’s been said you can learn an awful lot. Friends on a forum can talk to each other about a brand they really trust, recommending something to one another. The flipside of the coin is that friends also complain about a brand they don’t like to one another, they warn their friends to avoid a product, they product their friends from a company they’ve had bad experiences with.
Finding out what’s being said in candid conversation can really shine a light on how consumers really feel.
Depending on the conversation, you may also be able to gain insight into how these same consumers feel about your competitors, and their comparison of your brand versus theirs. It’s a great opprotunity to learn more about your public image, what people see in your brand that they don’t in others (or vice versa). If the forum happens to be subject-specific, you may really get an insider’s opinion, hearing from subject-matter experts.
What Tools To Use?
Some monitoring tools seem to offer a better chance of finding your brand mentioned in message boards than others. An article on SocialBrite.org listed BoardReader, Boardtracker, Big Boards, and Yuku Find as four of the best. In my own search I found Forum Monitor, Trackur includes message board and forum monitoring as part of its tool, and Lissly.
By using one of these platforms or a combination of them – along with other broad-scanning monitoring tools, you can really find a good amount of mentions happening on forums.