If you’re a big brand, with many online conversations taking place about you on a regular basis, then simply setting up your social media listening posts probably won’t suffice. You’ll need a team responsible for tracking those conversations, and most importantly, listening to them on a daily basis. And by daily, I mean 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because as the conversations don’t stop, social media crises do not take evenings, weekends or holidays off.
But how can somebody possibly monitor their online discussions 24/7/365? It’s just not humanly possible!
You’re right! It wouldn’t be possible… without the help of your beloved social media monitoring tools that is!
With the help of your monitoring tools and listening posts, this overwhelming task becomes not just possible, but manageable.
However, if your brand is big enough to need an intense level of monitoring, analyzing and engagement, then what isn’t possible is doing it all on your own – not with all the other daily tasks you have on your plate. This is when the need for a social media monitoring team comes into play.
Depending on your needs, a social media monitoring team can consist of:
- A single person who is responsible for listening, monitoring and engaging seven days a week
- A small team of individuals who are responsible for sharing the responsibilities and communicating amongst each other
- A social media monitoring agency whom you pay to listen, monitor and engage on behalf of your brand
How you decide which level of monitoring is necessary for your brand depends on your goals, objectives and the daily discussions that currently take place online.
The responsibilities of a social media monitor
It’s a big job that requires keeping a constant finger on the pulse. Sure there’s tons of tools to help manage and track the social discussions, but active engagement and continuous monitoring is mandatory. Let’s take a look at what is involved in the social media monitor’s job description:
- Active listening and monitoring of the social discussions that take place around your brand, 24 hours a day (OK, they’re aloud to sleep!), 7 days a week
- Responding to unhappy customers, according to the company’s social media crisis policy
- Interacting with customers which includes responding to inquiries, taking part in active discussions, looking for relationship-building opportunities as well as potential sales opportunities
- The capability of spotting and detecting a potential crisis in the rise, and knowing their role within the company’s social media crisis plan for dealing with the crisis
Hiring an agency vs. hiring an in-house social media monitoring team
So you know what needs to be done and what the job entails. Now how do you know whether you should hire your own social media monitoring team, or outsource the big responsibility to an agency of professionals?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to both options. To help you determine which route is best for your brand, begin by asking yourself the following questions:
How much are you looking to spend?
Although a team of professionals may seem like the easiest route, they are most probably not the cheapest. It may be more cost effective to hire your own staff and pay them a salary, then to hire an agency or a firm.
How complex are your needs?
Do you simply want someone passively listening and monitoring, or do you want a team who knows how to react and respond to negative criticism and potential crises? If it’s the latter, it may be more advantageous to keep the monitoring in-house with your own team who has direct access to your social media crisis policy and the other key players of your social media crisis team.
How do you feel about another company interacting with your fans and followers under the pretense that they are you?
If your monitors will be engaging regularly with your fans and followers, you may feel more comfortable having them be an in-house member of your team.
So as I said, there are pros and cons to both alternatives. By analyzing your goals and your particular needs, you’ll allow yourself the opportunity to make the best decision for your company.
Do you currently have a social media monitoring team for your brand? If so, how did you realize that one was needed, and what helped you make the decision between an in-house team and outsourcing to a third party agency?
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.