A couple of weeks ago Alterian aquired Techrigy who specialize in Social Media Monitoring and whilst its obviously exciting to be part of an organisation that is confidently aquiring and growing – it’s even better when it’s an absolutely gem that has everyone talking.

So, I thought I’d better jot down a few thought on this – what does Social Media Monitoring mean for Web Content Management?

Well, we are in the business of publishing  persuasive content – content that achieves your objectives as a communicator or marketer. Content that engages and persuades your audience into completing your engagement objectives, whether that is to answer your call to action, buy your product, be educated, and become a brand advocate – whatever it is.

As I’ve discussed before, engagement, or persuasion, is a conversation, and how can you enter a conversation by just speaking? Social Media Monitoring (SMM) gives you the opportunity to listen to what your audience needs. It gives you the insight to react to audience feedback, to plan and develop content that fits your audience as you create new campaigns, launch new products or grow your site.

This makes your content more relevant, persuasive and engaging. If your content is written for an audience you know and understand, they are now your community.

The stakes are rising for our websites as they become the front line for customer service, studies show that customers now prefer to try to self serve their enquiry through online FAQ’s and forums – rather than call the call center. I can understand that, I know that even in-store I would prefer to use an iPhone to look up technical specs than talk to some kid in PC World (or Best Buy).

It’s not about what people did, but what they thought or wanted to do

SMM is the missing piece of the puzzle that traditional web analytics can’t solve; an insight into the reaction of your audience. It’s not about counting clicks, downloads or how often they visited – but what they thought of you, your service and your website. What people are saying across the social web is the undiluted, unsolicited voice of your audience rather than the result of you asking for them to fill in a questionnaire or give feedback.

It’s not just about finding these conversations, there could be hundreds, thousand, even hundreds of thousands of mentions of your brand, product or service on the web. Searching for stuff isn’t that hard on the Internet – finding what’s relevant is – and it’s no different when monitoring Social Media.

Techrigy SM2 allows you to understand the sentiment of these conversations by applying language analysis to prioritise, to focus your social marketing efforts and to give you something you can measure.

Actionable Insights.

The value of gaining visibility of the sentiment of your audience grows ten fold if you also have the power to make that insight actionable, for a business user, for example, to be able to quickly change the website to react to ‘the buzz’. Being able to do this with an easy to use WCM tool (like Alterian Content Manager)  has a clear business value in demonstrating that you are agile and in tune with your community.

People’s connectivity through social media means feedback travels quickly and you need to be empowered to be relevant in the moment . For example, you read a question about your product on Twitter, people are tweeting that they don’t know if your product connects to their toaster – that this is a killer feature. You are now enabled to engage with those folks directly, but also to promote your toaster connectivity on your website and in your marketing campaigns.

Optimise the message

Where your audience are hanging out online could be just as important to understand as what they are saying.

People often put the social web or social media (Twitter, blogs, Facebook etc ) into a box, separate from the serious business of corporate websites. But the majority of Tweets contain a link to some content and that content is increasingly corporate even within the realm of social media. Opinion-driven websites such as blogs are adopting a corporate agenda, bloggers are becoming sponsored, Facebook fan pages are being set up as organisations who are keen to engage through real people, and hearts and minds are being won and lost as the lines are becoming blurred.

Do you need to tweak your content promotion to make it more prominent in these places? Do you need to consider having a voice in that community, or changing the tone of voice to fit in better with your community or the context of the place they are? Perhaps you have the wrong people writing your content – if you have a community of engineers on a developers’ discussion group, having marketing shout at them in ‘business speak’ isn’t going to start a conversation.

So – what does SMM do for WCM? Well, the phrase “people buy from people” – never seemed more relevant in these connected times. I’ve discussed on this blog about your brand being ‘you’ and this insight helps you know which ‘you’ you need to be and where that ‘you’ needs to hang out.

Picture of ear trumpets, courtesy of make money not art.