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Social Monitoring: Surprise Customers & Increase Sales


The definition of social media monitoring is “the active monitoring of a social channel for specific information about a company, organization or brand.” By monitoring your social channels, you are better able to assess your brand's reputation and how they are perceived online.

The first instance of social monitoring occurred in 2005 by the CREEN Project. They monitored the output of 100,000 blogs for over three years for recorded dual instances of science related words with fear or anxiety. The results concluded spikes in data around the ‘Schaivo’ life support case and ‘stem’ for stem cell research.

Today, a majority of brands and even celebrities are harnessing the power of social media to connect with their fans in unique ways and increase their sales.

I know you might think following celebrities on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube is for fans looking to connect on a deeper level with the Kardashian sisters or Beyonce, but we can also learn a lot from these celebrities.

What we can learn from Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is not only a genius in songwriting but also social media. Her latest album ‘1989’ sold more copies in its opening week than any album in the past 12 years, making her the first and only performer to have three albums sell more than 1 million copies in a week. Not only has her social media savviness earned her record sales, but between Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, she has more than 140 million followers or subscribers. How does she do it? By #Taylurking.

#Taylurking, according to Taylor Swift, is the hashtag used when she is snooping on her fans through their social media accounts. With Swift proclaiming on Twitter:

Swift scours her Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube to connect with fans. Before ‘1989’ released, Swift followed conversations about herself online and monitored her comments on Instagram and Twitter and she invited 267 lucky fans to her ‘1989 Secret Sessions,’ where she performed her entire album live for the first time.

This past Christmas, #Swiftmas, she used the same technique to learn about deserving fans through her social media channels. Swift sent them a thoughtful gift with a handwritten card (which was obviously documented through video).

She uses her powerful platforms it to make big announcements. Before ‘Red’ and ‘1989’ dropped, Swift presented clues to her fans on Instagram, by creating her own shareable images based on song lyrics for her new album.

Swift also knows how to post share worthy content, there’s no denying the viral power of a good #catphoto. Whether she’s walking them, shopping with them, travelling with them or posting a photo of them around the house, she is creating viral content. Her cats, Olivia and Meredith (named after her favourite TV characters Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey), have numerous social profiles, pinterest boards and more created by adoring fans. Talk about #genius.

You might be thinking that celebrities use social monitoring and listening to generate PR stunts - and you’d be right. So, how can brands or organizations use these techniques? After all, celebrities have real die hard fans that want to connect with the celebrity as a person. Fans of a brand don’t typically want to meet their social media manager or marketing team.

Brands can harness social monitoring by tapping into the element of surprise that Tay Tay has mastered. One of our favourite examples of this is Kleenex’s Feel Good campaign. Kleenex brilliantly took to Facebook to monitor for status updates of sickness or feeling under the weather, and (with a little social sleuthing), Kleenex managed to send these people a surprise Get Well kit. The results were absolutely incredible:


The genius here is that they weren’t strictly monitoring their own fans - they were monitoring anyone/everyone in the areas they could reach out to. The key with social listening is to not only listen to your active stakeholders (people who like your page, people who constantly interact with your updates, etc.), but to also monitor those who don’t engage with you. Kleenex has proven that there’s a huge opportunity to create brand advocates by simply surprising or initiating contact with your potential fans.

To get started, we recommend

  • Searching your brand’s hashtags or keywords
  • Monitoring your brand’s words and phrases
  • Reaching out to customers - all customers whether they had a positive or negative experience
  • Surprising fans and documenting it to share on your page - if fans see how much you care, they will be more inclined to feel loyal to your brand
  • Teasing a big announcement by posting clues to your social channels
  • Sharing viral content that your fans will care about, something they can put their own spin on it
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