Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard

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If people were talking about your brand on social networks, you’d want to know about it, right? Well, guess what: It’s happening. Whether you’ve noticed or not, if you have any kind of social presence at all, your brand is likely receiving social mentions.

Keep reading to find out why social mentions are so important, how to track them, and how to best respond to people talking about your brand.

What are social mentions?

Social mentions are social posts that include a reference to your brand. This includes posts in which your brand is tagged (often referred to as @mentions) or simply mentioned by name in the caption.

With @mentions, the social user is usually trying to get your brand’s attention. With untagged mentions, they are talking about your brand but not specifically drawing your attention to that fact. Both kinds of social mentions can be either positive or negative (or even neutral).

Here’s an example of a tagged mention of Hootsuite:

And an untagged one:

Why are social mentions so important?

So, people are talking about your brand online. Why is it so important for you to keep tabs on these conversations?

It’s always good to know what people are saying about your brand. Social mentions provide an easy way for you to understand the good, the bad, the ugly, and the fabulous in those conversations. Here are some key reasons why that’s important.

Social proof

Social mentions of your brand act as de facto reviews. Monitoring social mentions allows you to reshare positive mentions while building a library of user-generated content that highlights the benefits of your brand in action.

Since 75% of users turn to social sites for brand research, this is an important way of showing potential customers that you live up to your brand promise.

Social customer service

Customers are increasingly turning to social media channels for customer service. You’ve got to meet them where they are.

Whether it’s a simple inquiry or an emotional complaint, every service-oriented social mention of your brand provides an opportunity to show you care. That not only helps satisfy the customer who mentioned your brand — it also shows other social users that you take requests seriously.

Crisis control

Whether it’s a world crisis or a brand crisis, social mentions can be your early warning system for looming problems. They can also help you understand what your target audience expects from you as you navigate troubled waters.

Monitoring social mentions gives you the chance to respond to a developing crisis before it gets out of control.

Understanding your audience

Social mentions are an incredibly valuable source of audience research. Who is mentioning you? What do they say?

Social mentions help you understand everything from demographics to customer expectations. As you better understand your audience, you can in turn provide them better content, and even better products and services.

Humanize your brand

Responding to social mentions allows you to engage in real conversation with fans and followers. You can show off your brand personality and make your brand feel more human. It’s a good way tobuild a more intentional online presence establish follower relationships over the long term.

How to track social mentions

Now that you know why social media mentions tracking is so important, let’s look at a few ways to get it done.

Manually search social media mentions

Most social networks have a notifications option to alert you when someone tags your brand on social media. In order to find social mentions this way, you’ll need to open each social media account and look in your notifications or alerts.

Each network is a little different, but they almost all involve clicking your Notifications icon, then clicking a Mentions tab. Let’s use Twitter as an example.

From your Twitter profile, click the bell icon in the left menu. Then click Mentions in the top menu.

For social mentions that don’t tag your brand directly, you’ll need to use the social media platform’s search function to find relevant posts.

Remember to search for common misspellings, too. For example, Hootsuite could be misspelled Hoot Suite or Hootsweet. Search for each of these misspellings or any other ways people might refer to your brand to find your mentions.

Let’s look at LinkedIn as an example this time. Type your brand name (or misspelling) into the search bar, then click Posts.

Hootsuite posts search on LinkedIn

Track and respond to mentions using Hootsuite

Using software to monitor social media mentions saves a ton of time and makes sure you don’t miss anything, since you can check mentions for multiple accounts from one screen.

Hootsuite comes with a built-in social mention tool you can use to see who’s talking about your brand on Facebook and Twitter. You can respond to these mentions in real-time without ever having to leave the platform. It’s a great way to stay organized and on top of things. Here’s how to set it up:

Step 1: From the Hootsuite dashboard, click the Streams icon in the left menu, then click New Board.

Streams new board

Step 2: Under Board type, choose Follow personalized feeds.

Hootsuite Streams Follow personalized feeds

Step 3: From the dropdown box, choose one of the networks where you’d like to start tracking mentions, then select @ Mentions from the stream options.

add a stream networks @ mentions

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Step 4: Repeat for any other Facebook or Twitter accounts you’d like to track.

Step 5: In the left menu, click on your new board to rename it Social Mentions.

social mentions option on my boards

You can also use keyword and hashtag streams in Hootsuite for social media mentions tracking when you are not directly tagged. This is where software to track social media mentions really comes in handy, since you can set up multiple search and hashtag streams rather than having to conduct multiple searches using the native platform tools.

For more information, check out our post on how to set up social listening.

Set up an RSS feed

Using a tool like RSS.app, you can convert searches on some social networks into RSS feeds that you can then follow to keep an eye on your social mentions.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Head to the RSS.app feed generator.

Step 2: Scroll down to the social network for which you want to create an RSS feed. Not all social networks allow you to create a search-based RSS. For now, you can create a hashtag feed for Instagram and search feeds for Twitter and YouTube. We’ll use YouTube as an example here, so click on YouTube RSS Feed.

Step 3: Head to YouTube to create your search URL. Just type your keyword in the Search bar, then copy the URL.

YouTube search URL

Step 4: Paste this URL into the feed creation box on RSS.app and click Generate.

YouTube RSS feed generate URL

Scroll down to see the content of the feed. To track your feed, you’ll need to add it to an RSS reader. If you don’t already have a preferred one, Hootsuite has a free RSS syndicator app you can find in the Hootsuite App Directory. Once you add it to your dashboard, you can monitor RSS feeds as Hootsuite streams.

Hootsuite App Directory free RSS syndicator app

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Learn more about the Hootsuite RSS Syndicator:

Responding to social mentions: 7 best practices

1. Answer every mention

If someone takes the time to mention your brand on social media, it only makes sense for you to respond. According to Salesforce, 64% of consumers expect to have real-time interactions with brands.

If someone tags you on social, they clearly expect a response. If they mention your brand without tagging you, responding provides an extra opportunity to impress by showing you’re really paying attention.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

2. Share your learnings

You’ll learn a lot from monitoring your social media mentions. It’s important to share that knowledge with the relevant teams throughout the company. For example, if users are tagging you like crazy because they love a current marketing campaign and want to engage with the message, that’s gold for your marketing team.

Likewise, if customers are repeatedly tagging you because of a particular issue with your product, or a feature they wish you would make available, that’s critical intel for product development.

3. Thank the user for reaching out

If someone shares something positive about your brand on social, you’ll obviously want to thank them. They’re helping you reach a new audience of potential customers and vouching for how great you are as a brand.

But it’s also important to thank users for reaching out with queries and even complaints. Every negative mention is a chance to win back a frustrated customer, and show others how classy and helpful you can be.

Make sure your thanks rings true rather than cheeky. You don’t need to thank someone for an insult, but you can always thank them for drawing a concern to your attention.

4. Reshare positive mentions

Resharing positive mentions is a great way to build up that social proof we talked about earlier. You can also use reshares to highlight aspects of your offering you might not specifically call out yourself.

For instance, Fraser Valley Cider Company’s own content usually focuses on their cider, events, and pizza. So resharing this story with a social mention from a visitor was an easy way to show some love for their focaccia.

Fraser Valley Cider Company Instagram mention focaccia

Source: @FraserValleyCider

Most social platforms make it easy to reshare content, especially content you’re directly tagged in. Instagram’s main feed has been a notorious holdout, but even they are currently testing a reshare button.

One great way to literally highlight positive social mentions is to reshare Instagram stories you’re tagged in, then create a Stories highlight for them to live in so you can show them off for longer than 24 hours. A highlight with lots of social media mentions indicates you’re a well-loved brand on the platform and can inspire confidence in new followers.

5. Stay positive and provide solutions

It’s important to view less-than-glowing feedback as critique rather than criticism. Even an angry comment can help you gain a deeper understanding of your audience’s pain points.

So, it’s important to address every mention with a positive attitude—even the ones that come in with a negative approach. Focus on providing solutions to make the user’s experience better next time. 85% of customers are likely to recommend your brand if they have a satisfactory interaction with you online

Also, keep yourself accountable. Deleting messages and purposefully suppressing conversations is rarely a good look. People will notice if you delete their negative comments, and may call you out on it. This just starts a never-ending cycle of trying to keep negativity under control. Redirecting things in a more positive direction is far more helpful for all involved.

That said, remember the wisdom to not feed the trolls. If you can see a conversation isn’t heading anywhere productive, despite your best efforts, it’s often best to just move on. Eventually, the troll will get bored and crawl back into the hole from whence it came.

6. Know when to make the conversation private

If a situation involves someone’s personal information, suggest moving the conversation into direct messages.

On Twitter, you can include a button directly within your reply to allow the user to send you a DM with one tap.

Similarly, if a misunderstanding has the potential to spiral, it’s better to get that out of the public eye. Again, don’t delete anything, and make sure to indicate in the thread that the conversation has been moved to a private channel so others can see you’ve followed up.

Complex situations sometimes can’t be easily resolved with a quick tweet or reply. If a more nuanced response is necessary—or if someone has a lot of questions—then DMs, email, or another private form of communication might be more appropriate.

7. Stay true to your brand’s voice and tone

The team member(s) responding to your social mentions should be experts in your brand’s voice and tone guidelines.

Your marketing and customer service styles should be well aligned, even if they’re not exactly the same. And if you like spicing up your responses with GIFs, make sure they’re appropriate for your audience.

Use clear, simple language that’s accessible to everyone. An eighth-grader should be able to easily understand your replies.

Hootsuite makes it easy to monitor keywords and conversations on social media, so you can focus on taking action on the insights available. Try it free today.

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