Rule #1 of Social Media Monitoring: Know Why You're Monitoring

by Eric Melin on December 1, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a post entitled Top 10 Tips for Social Media Monitoring that reiterates one of the most essential elements of any social media tracking study: Know why you are monitoring.

It’s something we stress to our clients all the time and its something that was absolutely top of mind while we were working on Version 2 of the Spiral16 monitoring and visualization platform, which rolls out in less than two weeks.


It is important to know what questions you want answered before you begin monitoring because the way each project is set up will depend on its purpose. For example, if you are gathering competitive intelligence (see above) and comparing online share of voice on four companies, each company would be its own topic.

Here’s how we organize data:


From top to bottom, there are four levels of data within the Spiral16 system. It is important to understand how each of these relates to each other so you can set up your  projects while thinking of the big picture. Often times, the project will be named after the company (or client) and the topics under that project will be set up with different goals and objectives in mind.

One topic could be for brand monitoring, another for lead generation, and another for competitive intelligence. If you’re not thinking about what answers you need, you won’t be able to set up the topics strategically. And if you don’t do that, the data won’t yield the results you need.

Our redesign will allow clients to take full advantage of all the different data measurement and comparison options within the system. Our data analytics team is also here to make sure each project/topic is established with a clear strategy. The foundation of your project should support those goals.

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