Four steps for structuring online monitoring


It was not even twenty years ago when content in the newspaper was the truth and television was reality. Communication advisors and journalists determined largely how the truth was told. ‘’the target group’’ could reply with a sent in letter. How different are the times of now. With the internet and social media, brands and people communicate independently from each other. Everyone tells his or her own truth and an individual is sometimes as influencing as a brand with a large communication department.

Two-way traffic offers chances

The dreamed dialogue, the two-way traffic and interaction are now within hand reach. Through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you can reach anyone you want. By making sure of a good combination of content, image and the right target group, we involve customers, citizens or stakeholders in the organization. Often with concrete objectives in the back of the mind. More likes, shares and comments show that we are reaching more and more people. But the reach is only one side of the story. For an effective communication strategy is depth needed. Think of measuring sentiment, listening to what customers are occupied with and what citizens are worried about. To react there when needed, to form a good communication policy, but especially to be able to make the right strategic decisions as an organization.

The importance of monitoring for the communication professional

Social media has changed the role of the communication professional extensively. Insight in the outside world, or the playfield, is crucial. Knowing what players are active around the organization and how much influence they have. Are they working along with realizing organization goals or not? As a communication professional, the insights about the inside and outside world can be hold as a mirror to face the organization. You literally give management buttons to push. That is how you as a communication professional can have more impact and give advices that apply to the situation.

Two goals of media monitoring

Monitoring serves two goals. Firstly you monitor to measure the effectiveness of the communication. This should be a standard procedure, but according to scientific research it was demonstrated that people often only evaluate when there is a clear cause. That is a waste, because through structurally put out in attention and monitoring effectiveness, you can direct the results from communication earlier and thus influence them as well.

Four important steps in setting up a monitoring structure:

Be aware of the following four points as you are busy with setting up a monitoring structure:

1: Formulate clearly why you monitor

On social media there is so much valuable information to find, that you can only do something useful with the information when you have a very clear understanding of what goal you are monitoring.

2: Capture with key words what you would like to know

Avoid information overload and work on the basis of searches. These searches contain key words or combinations of key words. By doing this well you can find out the messages, discussions and trends. You receive insight in the behavior of competitors, employees and customers. Moreover, you can follow up well on what is written and said online about you, your brand and relevant subjects on (news) websites and in fora.

3: Do not limit yourself to social media

When we speak of social media, we think of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and (alright) Google+. Do realize that there is much more media on which people are in conversation with each other and what you would like to know of. Make sure to have a complete image of the media landscape that is important to you. Think for example of Fora as Geenstijl, Radar and the Consumentenbond. Do not forget the blogs of critical people and interest organizations with many followers. It usually starts out as an opinion formation from the grand public. The earlier you can anticipate, the better it is for the organization.

4: Adopt a routine

Successful monitoring lies within hand reach. That does not mean that you shall immediately be successful in it. Everything falls and stands with a good routine. You should evaluate results daily and carry out the needed plan of action. Make a recurring routine of it that follows you consistently.


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