Social media monitoring for the masses

Your candidate may have the best Twitter feed, YouTube channel and Facebook page on the planet, but you still might not have all of your social media bases covered. What do campaigns frequently forget? Social media monitoring.

Steve Kleine, president of the social media analysis firm Ensomo, calls social media “the world’s largest, unbiased focus group.” Monitoring what’s being said across social media, says Kleine, “will bring significant intelligence on potential voters and the issues that are important to them.

For example, social data can provide insight on how a particular speech or debate was received. Did it increase the number of positive mentions?” Other benefits of a solid social media monitoring plan, according to Kleine, “Measuring how a candidate is perceived on current issues compared to their competition, finding new issues before they get covered in traditional media and seeing if a new ad campaign is making the right impact.”

Monitoring what’s being said isn’t always easy since you’re trying to find the right drops of information in a vast sea of conversation. Luckily, Kleine adds, “a new class of social media monitoring tools have been developed like Social Radar, Crimson Hexagon and Custom Scoop that can process this huge amount of data and deliver a highly accurate analysis.”

You can see a ridiculously comprehensive list of these tools at bit.ly/socmedmonitor

One recent addition: VoterTide, which uses technology originally designed for the music industry. You can use VoterTide’s basic version to analyze conversation around the presidential candidates, but campaigns can sign up for the Pro version to monitor their own social media presence and those of their opponents. You can use the tool to check out how your messages are resonating, what your opponents are saying and what the unwashed online masses think about all of you.

When a picture is worth a thousand words

Speaking of watching the presidential candidates, here's an interesting way to visualize the online conversation around each of them: The Meltwater Group is now producing a daily word cloud of the what's being said online about each of the major presidential contenders. It's a quick way for bloggers and journalists to see what people are talking about at a given moment, and the Meltwater folks eventually plan to animate changes in the word clouds over time, making it easy to watch various topics' rise and fall in the public mind. Check it out here.

Colin Delany is founder and editor of the award-winning Epolitics.com. A contributor to Campaigns & Elections, Delany writes C&E's Technology Bytes section. Send him a pitch at cpd@epolitics.com.

Also in Technology Bytes this issue: Online advertising: a targeting-rich environment.