From social media monitoring to optimal social service

Monitoring is the basis of a successful social media strategy. By analyzing on different levels you can pinpoint areas for improvement for your organization. In this blog, I will explain how you can optimize the process of social service by applying the 5W-method and follow-up steps.

Who, what, where, when, why?

I myself make frequent use of the 5-W method (Wikipedia) whereby I seek an answer to the questions ‘’who, what, where, when and why? This model is to be applied within the process of social media monitoring to filter out the relevant messages for you from the million online messages that you see to appear daily.

Who? Who is talking about your brand, products, and services? Get to know the target group in the broadest sense of the word by monitoring what they speak about, how big their (online) influence is and with what potentially interesting people they are in contact with.

What? What do they say? Even here, your brand coverage is the starting point. Look further than only the mentions and research among other things, what their needs are, the brand preferences they have and how you can anticipate onto this in the best way.

Where? Where are these messages shared? Through which channel and from what location? Location-information (e.g. geo) is in many cases not available, however, is underestimated or even left unused by many organizations.

When? When does the talking happen? On what days and which time points is the conversation popular? Is it before, during or after a campaign? Is your online presence active at the same time as your target group?

If you look further into every question, rather than isolated cases, do you get to the answer to the ‘why’-question: Why do we share, complain and ask? This brings a detailed and actual target group profile to you, which forms the basis for your strategy with, for instance, client retention, reputation management, marketing, and PR.


Context is in this case of utmost importance in which you as an organization spend time and resources on. Structural monitoring helps in receiving a clear picture of what the demand is for service, both reactive and proactive. Does the focus not lie too much on Facebook and Twitter, whereas critical expressions on specific fora or review sites pile up? What are the reactions to social advertising campaigns? What is the coverage like on the weekend, or messages from ‘’traditional” channels such as radio and TV, newspapers and journals? It is important to make sure that you get a complete image of the coverage of your organization, in order to make choices on the basis of relevant data, instead of merely going with your gut feeling.

Listening with the intention to understand and optimize

A quote from Stephen Covey, from “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Most often, people are only listening to prepare for a reaction, which can be seen back at organizations when they are listening online. Messages are firstly signaled and then immediately answered, preferably within half an hour. The expectation of the speed of the service is very high, partially due to the rise of 1-on-1 client contact through chat and WhatsApp. The pressure on the speed of the service is growing, which may be at the cost of quality. As a matter of fact, optimal customer service should be a combination of speed and quality ánd efficiency, in which the focus lies on a good balance between these aspects.



Response time is an important KPI. This was also revealed by studies about the business input of WhatsApp: the fast preferred response time is also seen as the greatest challenge by the 77 participating organizations. (Source: Jarno Duursma)


The solution lies in listening with the intention to understand what the (potential) client means, to learn what went wrong and work on the area of improvement. Thát is optimal customer service! Unfortunately, directed action is most often lacking, keeping the service process only focused on responsive customer service. Read more about the chances and possibilities of pro-active service.

The Social Hub of NLE

An example of such pursuit to optimal social service can often be seen at NLE. On daily basis, the ‘Social Hub’ applies a responsive and proactive approach for customer questions through channels as social media, chat and messaging. Not only service delivery, but also branding and reputation management are elements of the strategy. In this way, the Social Hub collects (un)asked client feedback and shares it inside the organization to improve services and processes. Learn more about the Social Hub. 

Structureer, prioriteer, analyseer en optimaliseer

To optimally shape the process of social media monitoring in order to signal and understand the ‘question behind the question’, it is needed to add structure. With the right structure, you determine the priority of messages, for instance, based on subject, sentiment, source, author’s influence or location. That prioritizing is important, for instance, because the expectation of a fast response during a WhatsApp conversation is much higher than with a forum post. Naturally, a negative message from an influencer on twitter receives more priority than a private message on Facebook Messenger.

By that, it can be seen that the ‘source’ is not always the most appropriate indicator to determine priority. When you search in a broader sense than only directed questions and mentions of your organization, for example on Twitter or Instagram, you will experience a lot of noise in the messages. Even if you filter out this noise, not every message requires a response. Therefore, avoid as much information overload as possible and determine within your organization when you do or do not respond. Read more about how BCC, D-reizen and KWF structurize their social media policy.

Answer the 5 W questions with data analysis

By analyzing directly, you receive a better picture of the ‘why’ behind the message, you can do this by looking at micro-level with the use of conversation history to see what has discussed before, so you can place the message directly in the right context. This often delivers the quick wins on service and product development. The collection of loose insights and internal communication about improvements can, however, be a time-consuming effort. therefore, it is prudent to seek on a higher level for structural areas of improvement.




On meta-level, you can then analyze the direct contact with what has taken place between you and your target group. Think hereby of content analysis of the topics and the corresponding sentiment, but also the rating of the web care employer by collecting customer feedback through social media. This gives you an insight on which the attention exactly should be in order to set up data-driven advice for management or the managing board.

On macro-level you analyze the developments and trends inside the market in which you are active in since these are possible of substantial influence on the (service) process. As I usually do, I stay up to date with trade media, blogs, and interesting people to follow on social media. Therefore, I know how to anticipate on social media platforms, trending topics, interesting events and possible crisis situations. This is however not a short-term approach, but just like with many things, it also applies here: ‘’think big, act small’’.


Organisation AND ((private OR mentions OR publiek) AND (online OR offline))

A great first step for filtering and analyzing of relevant coverage is making use of a search. Most tools, such as OBI4wan, make use of Boolean Search. By combining search words (AND), using them in the parallelly aligned order (OR) or to solely exclude (NOT) you filter out 99% of the noise in an instant. Subsequently, you could then use operators as ‘mention:’ or ‘location:’ to zoom in on the message. In this way, you make practical use of searches on different levels to monitor, analyze and report. The same search can also be of great use as an input for your web care team, in order for them to continue have a relevant and actual overview of the news coverage on social media, news sites, blogs, fora and other media.

Want to know more about optimizing social service?

Do you want to know more about the solutions OBI4wan offers for social media monitoring? Contact us about a free demo via or call us on +31 (0)85 – 210 50 60.

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