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How-To Guide

Monitoring social media accounts and activity can be extremely time-consuming, especially if you don't have a well-defined process in place.  

What you will learn from this eBook:

  • Why monitoring matters
  • Who should be monitoring
  • When you should respond or just listen
  • The importance of setting goals
  • How to prep for your new routine
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Monitoring your business’s social media presence is incredibly important. You need to respond to people talking about your brand and understand how people view your company. Social media isn’t this magical fairy dust that turns leads to customers just like that. It’s hard work! It requires time and effort, often across multiple departments and among multiple employees.

This eBook is built to help you formulate a plan whereby in ten minutes a day, you can monitor the social media information you need within a tight, streamlined strategy. Consider it the “8 Minute Abs” of social media.

How can you best take advantage of the limited time you have in a day to get the best results possible? After reading this eBook you will be able to develop your own solid routine that works for you, and will help you to avoid spending your days looking like this guy...


Chapter 1: Why Monitoring Matters

Sometimes we forget that all those little profile avatars whizzing through our social media news feeds are actually humans. The reason why monitoring is so important is because it puts the “social” back in social media. Brands and individuals who publish without listening are just screaming through a megaphone with no consideration for others. You have to be sensitive to what people want from you or your brand, or else you might head in a direction your target audience actually doesn’t enjoy or can’t relate to.

For example, monitoring is a great outlet for crowdsourcing questions. When you listen into your prospects’ or customers’ thoughts, you’ll be able to craft better marketing campaigns, close more deals, improve your products or services, and foster happier customers. Monitoring is also a great way to avoid disaster. If a local, national, or worldwide tragedy occurs, you’ll want to be the first to know so you can pause all marketing messages and offer up actual human emotions. Your fan base will usually point something out before you even have time to realize it, and your level of empathy and response time will either confirm or renounce a person’s feelings about your brand.

As it turns out, people also have some pretty high standards when it comes to response time. Especially when they’ve got a bone to pick with your brand.

According to HubSpot, 80% of customers expect companies to respond to their social media posts within 24 hours. In fact, 50% of customers claim they would cease business with a company that fails to respond to a negative social media post. 62% of customers are influenced enough by negative social media comments on a brand that they would cease business with them.

social monitoring

Social media can’t be ignored. People are talking about your brand, your products or services, your competitors, your industry, and your employees -- whether you like it or not. These conversations happen candidly in real life, which turns into threads and discussion groups on social media. Instead of ignoring these conversations, wouldn’t you want to jump in and have a say in where that conversation goes? If someone complains about your brand, wouldn’t you want to know why so you can improve in the future? The bottom line is that monitoring matters, and it matters for more than just social media managers. In the next section we’ll jump into who exactly should be monitoring social media within your company, what they should be monitoring, and why.


Chapter 2: Who Should Monitor


There’s a reason why marketing teams have historically been responsible for a brand’s social media accounts. This team needs to think about a brand’s overall image. The brand’s tone, colors, fonts, and relationships might be pre-determined with the help of PR professionals, designers, and writers on your marketing team. Beyond brand image, your marketing team needs to think about generating visits, leads, and customers on a daily basis. Posting relevant content on social media will attract new visitors. Engaging and nurturing relationships with these visitors will turn them into leads, and eventually customers. What’s even better is these customers will continue to be delighted by your awesome social media content, meaning they will be more likely to continue doing business with you. This is what’s known as the flywheel model.





However, social media doesn’t only affect your marketing team, which is one reason why your company should not work in silos. Actions that a social media manager takes can seriously impact all other departments, such as sales and support, and it’s something to keep in mind when monitoring. Marketers should collect information from social media to help create better marketing campaigns, enable sales in closing more deals, and delight existing customers. Social media managers on a marketing team should see themselves as the point-person for multiple departments’ different goals.



Your marketing team should monitor:

• The activity of your different leads based on what product or service they are interested in.
• The activity of thought leaders in your industry when they mention certain keywords.

• The conversation around the words and phrases that are core to your brand.



According to research from Social Centered Selling and A Sales Guy, 72.6% of salespeople who incorporated social media into their process outperformed their colleagues. In addition, socially savvy reps beat their quotas 23% more often. We call this social selling.

Social selling is the process of researching, connecting, and interacting with prospects and customers on social media networks -- notably Twitter and LinkedIn, but others certainly fit the bill. Through commenting on, liking, and sharing prospects’ and customers’ posts, salespeople create relationships with buyers and boost their credibility by bonding over shared interests.

Instead of a hard closing tactic, social selling more closely resembles lead nurturing. Therefore, social selling isn’t for reps seeking quick wins. Salespeople have to be willing to put in the time and effort to engage with their target buyers on an ongoing basis, and even then, there’s no guarantee that their efforts will pay off.

Your salespeople should monitor:

• Their “open” leads’ conversations.
• Their “closed lost” leads’ mentions of certain terms.
• Their “closed won” leads to check in with them after the sale.



According to the HubSpot article cited in the previous chapter, the average response time for companies on Twitter is one day, seven hours, and 12 minutes. Yet, 64% of customers on Twitter expect a response from companies within one hour. This is quite the discrepancy.

Businesses need to realize that Twitter is the new 1-800 number. This platform is where people head for customer support now. That’s why it’s important for a brand’s customer support team to be part of the monitoring. These folks are professionals in crisis management, so they’ll be the best at settling tricky complaints.

Oftentimes a brand will have designated social media accounts for technical support-related issues or questions. For example, HubSpot’s Twitter account @HubSpot is owned by Marketing, whereas the Twitter account @HubSpotSupport is owned by their support team. Having two separate accounts owned by two separate teams helps to provide customers with the immediate help and attention they deserve. Support can focus on product- related topics from customers, while marketing can monitor for interactions from newcomers, leads, and inquiries from customers that are non-support related.




Your support team should monitor:

•Questions or concerns people have about your products or services.

•Conversations your customers and leads are having about your products or services.

•Positive and negative feedback for your products or services.





The days where chief executives can hide behind the boardroom doors are gone. There is a growing expectation from consumers and employees alike that the leaders of companies, large and small, should embody the brands they represent and demonstrate that commitment by being visible and accessible on social media.

In fact, a study released by BRANDfog suggests that “social CEOs” are better leaders who can strengthen brands, build trust in products and services, demonstrate brand values, and communicate accountability -- all by simply being on a social network.

Social CEOs are not only using social media as yet another platform for communication, but they’re also leveraging social networks like Twitter as an unfiltered news source. Being able to see and hear the conversation happening in real time is invaluable. Partaking in social media is becoming less and less optional for CEOs with each passing year. As Gen Zers and Millennials enter the workforce and consumer market, the expectation of transparency will only go up.


Executives should monitor:

• Conversations people are having about you and your executive team.
• Conversations your customers and leads are having about your products or services vs. competitors’ products or services.

• The activity of other executives in your industry when they mention certain terms on Twitter.




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Chapter 3: Listening and Responding

When reaching out and responding, you may find your number of notifications/mentions overwhelming. You’ve allotted ten minutes a day, which means you can’t respond to everyone, so who do you choose? The trick is to find the influencers -- folks who have the greatest potential reach and audience -- because their engagement is going to make the greatest ripples. You can determine who is an influencer by looking at the number of followers they have, the amount that they tweet, and whether they’re a lead, customer, or opportunity. You can find this lead and customer information using HubSpot’s Social Inbox.

Sometimes you won’t be able to determine if a person’s an influencer or not, and that’s okay. As you go through and monitor conversations on social media, you’ll notice that some messages require that you simply listen and reflect, while other times you’ll need to respond... and fast! Responding (or not) to these varied scenarios will depend on who the person is, what they said, and what time they said it. The rule here tends to be simply “use good judgment,” but this rule is not always self-explanatory. Double checking with someone else on your team might help.


When responding, make sure you:

• Respond promptly and accurately.
• Show gratitude and respect. Never respond in an offensive or defensive way.
• Include facts instead of opinions and link to factual reference materials to support your case.
• Respond in a tone/voice that reflects the company’s culture and values.


Chapter 4: Setting Your Goals

Now that we’ve gone through why you should monitor, who should do the monitoring, and some basics for listening and responding, it’s time to determine the next steps for your efforts. In anything you do, it’s important to set a goal for yourself, and monitoring social media should be no different.

Goals are great -- they help us prove how effective we are, keep us focused, and push us to be better. The thing is, though, goals are totally useless if they’re not grounded in reality. That’s why it is critical to set SMART goals.

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Here’s what we mean by setting a SMART goal:

smart goals marketing hubspot inbound 2


Now, depending on which department owns your accounts, here are a few goals and metrics you can achieve through monitoring social media:


• Leads generated
• Industry trend tracking
• Thought leadership
• Interactions from influencers
• Interactions from detractors
• Competitive intelligence
• Revenue
• Qualified opportunities
• Opportunities won
• Daily or weekly touchpoints
• Brand mentions
• Sentiment
• Crisis management
• Conversations
• Response rate
• Resolved issues
• Customer happiness and delight
• Product feedback

If you’ve never set a goal for social media monitoring before, start by aligning your monitoring goals with your department’s goals. For example, if you’re monitoring from the sales department, maybe you should set a goal for yourself to interact with 10 prospects per week on social media. Once you’ve achieved this goal and feel like you can go deeper, attach your goal to a revenue number or see how many deals you can close with social selling per month or per quarter.

Chapter 5: Prepping Your New Routine

In order to successfully monitor social media in just 10 minutes a day, you’ll need to have some things prepared in advance. Even visiting each social network’s URL and logging in could take up to 10 minutes a day. We’ll show you a way you can limit that as much as possible by creating a daily plan upfront to help you streamline your process.

If you are considering investing in a paid tool to help aid your monitoring, there are a handful that help with social media monitoring, interacting, and marketing strategy. For example, HubSpot software includes a social media monitoring tool as a part of its complete marketing software package. The tool tracks social mentions from leads, opportunities, and customers and logs those interactions into your contacts database. The value here is not only in the ability to both monitor and react within the tool itself, but to also track how these conversations integrate with your entire marketing strategy.

For now, let’s talk about each social network assuming you don’t have any paid tools readily available. Some free social media monitoring tools you might want to check out include TweetDeck, Google Alerts, and Hootsuite. Ready to jump in? Let’s discuss what specifically you’ll need to monitor on each social network, and how you can consolidate and consume the most important information every day.



The great thing about Twitter is that there’s a world of possibility out there for things you can search and discover. However, this can also lead to information overload and monitoring in 10 hours a day instead of 10 minutes. You’ll have to pick and choose exactly what you want to monitor, and if it’s an effective use of your time based on how many mentions that stream gets and if it’s useful for your brand. The following list includes some streams we suggest you start with. These streams could be arranged side by side in TweetDeck or included as immediate email notifications in Social Inbox. No matter which tool you use, make sure you’re testing out the frequency and usefulness of these streams for yourself. If one stream isn’t getting much action -- nix it and save yourself some time!

Twitter mentions and searches

In an earlier section, we listed different kinds of tweets you should be monitoring on a regular basis, depending on your department or role. Let’s simplify that. Most likely (if you’re taking the free approach), you are looking for industry tweets, @replies, and mentions of your business. Go to where you can conduct searches for your competitors, industry terms, executives’ names, and whatever else may be relevant to your business. Feeling a little ambitious and want something slightly more real-time? Use a tool like TweetDeck where you can save searches and react via the tool itself without needing to log into Twitter.

Relevant questions about your company

Someone may tweet, “Should I buy X product or its competitor’s product?” You should be ready to respond. If not directly by offering helpful content about your business, perhaps you could point that person to a customer of yours.

Relevant questions about your industry

Being helpful by answering someone’s question is a great way to develop credibility with that person. In the event they need a product or service related to the one(s) your business provides, they’re now more likely to end up coming to you!

Requests for support

If a customer tweets a request for help (either directly to you or perhaps to their network), you should notice that tweet and respond accordingly. Happy customers are essential for the long-term results of your business.

Complaints and feedback

Critics are always out there and it’s important to acknowledge and resolve issues as they come up. Some feedback may not be useful, but most of it will actually better your company in the long wrong as long as you take action and make corrections.


Please sir, can I have some more? Praise is a wonderful thing to receive! Why not say thank you? Retweet it. Save it to your favorites. Send that person a t-shirt! It’s wise to appreciate those who appreciate you.

Competitor mentions

Competitor intel, anyone? Other people are praising, complaining, and asking questions about your competitors, too. You should monitor those conversations, if only for the information and data.


Now that you know which types of tweets to specifically monitor, you can create your plan accordingly. Keyword searches are an excellent way to filter through the masses of tweets to find the messages you’re looking for. Use a tool that allows you to save keyword searches as a live stream so you won’t miss out on what’s being said about your brand, your industry and your products. You can do this using a free tool like TweetDeck, or a paid tool like HubSpot’s Social Inbox, where you can also receive an email when someone matches an important search term you’ve identified.




Facebook! We use it to check out photos and videos of our friends and kids. We use it as a news source for the day’s latest articles. We use it to share our love for brands, engage in online contests organized by various companies, or let a company know when its customer service has failed us. These days, the content on Facebook almost fully mirrors many individuals’ lives. People make their personal profiles their homes for their likes and hates, and businesses can use Facebook Pages as a gateway to interact with people.

Your Facebook Business Page is the ‘home’ where your business’s fans, friends, customers, and critics can all interact directly with your company. They can post questions, comments, feedback, or fan mail. Fellow fans of your business may interact with each other and many individuals will interact with the content your business has posted itself.

There are a few ways people can interact on your Facebook Business Page that you should be monitoring:

Timeline Posts

If you have it enabled, people can post messages to your brand’s public-facing Facebook Timeline. They can say good things, complain, talk about a recent experience they had with your brand — anything! People can even post photos straight to your timeline. These remarks are user-generated content about your brand and should be monitored heavily in case of negative or inappropriate content.


Comments are an opportunity to react to a post in the timeline. Both you and your fans can comment. Consider it a mini conversation that spurred from the original post.


Private Messages

If you go to a brand’s Facebook Page, you will see a “Message” button on the bottom right corner of their cover photo. When you click this button, a box pops up and prompts you to start a private message with that brand. This is a very important piece to monitor, as this is where many fans will send support-related concerns and questions about your products or services.


Facebook has introduced the opportunity to leave a review in the form of a comment and a star rating. Many restaurants and local businesses are taking advantage of this functionality to build awareness. It’s important to be diligent when monitoring this section, because if someone leaves you a bad review you should gently comment with an apology or empathetic explanation. If the exchange continues to go south, you can offer to speak with them via messenger, where your conversation will be private.

Another important thing to understand about the content you post is that the more people interact with a specific post, the more viral that post becomes. Your “News Feed” calculates the most relevant and important items occurring in your network. Your goal should be both to react to important items on your business’ page and to get your posts featured in others’ News Feeds.


In some ways, Instagram is very similar to Facebook, which should come as no surprise considering they’re owned by the same people. The main difference is that Instagram is all about the aesthetics. This platform is meant for posting photos and videos exclusively. Of course, most of this content has an accompanying text caption, but these are not meant to be the focus. Being an image-heavy platform doesn’t stop engagement, though. Social media users have just as much to say about photos and videos as they do about text and links. This means that you’ll have to monitor interactions on Instagram just like you would anywhere else.

Here are the main places to look for said interaction on this platform:


Mini conversations happen in the comments on Instagram posts just like they do on Facebook. Your brand should join them sometimes! And you should definitely always monitor them for appropriateness, to answer any questions left there, and to address any possible negativity. The easiest way to do this is to click the little heart icon and look at your activity list. This should show you every comment you’ve received, in chronological order, along with post likes and other notifications.

Direct Messages

Also like on Facebook, people are more apt to share specific concerns and ask specific questions via direct messages versus leaving them in a comment. Check these by clicking the icon that looks like a paper airplane and appears on the top right when you open Instagram. If you have new or unopened messages, you’ll see a little red mark before you even click through to your DM inbox. It’s important to monitor these because, as previously mentioned, people experiencing an issue with your brand will expect you to be paying attention to your DMs and responding to them quickly.


Stories are one of the newer forms of content on the Instagram platform and are posted even more frequently than regular photos and videos. Keep an eye on your notifications to see if anyone tags you in a story. This type of content is a good example of why monitoring is so important because it is ephemeral and lasts only 24 hours, so if you don’t check to see what people are saying about your brand every day you’ll never be able to know what was said in those stories. Plus, if you use a question, poll, or quiz sticker on your own stories, it’s important to monitor for the responses as well since they’re used specifically to encourage engagement.

The Explore Page

This is a rare example of when Instagram is similar to Twitter. Going to the Explore Page and searching for mentions of your company, your competitors, and hashtags related to your industry is an important part of monitoring on this platform. A lot of people use both hashtags and location tags when posting on Instagram, including in stories, which actually makes it incredibly easy to monitor content that is relevant to your brand. Search for a hashtag that either you created for your brand or just happens to be used a lot in conjunction with mentions of your brand. Once you find these hashtags, you can now actually follow them like you would follow an account meaning relevant content will show up on your feed and you can spend less time manually searching.

Monitoring on Instagram is actually a lot of fun because people tag and mention so often. It makes it very easy to find people who are discussing your brand and your industry. The next step is to connect with these people. Plus, because of the photo/video format, the content is particularly engaging to scroll through.

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LinkedIn is arguably the most business-focused social media site around.

There are more than 300 million professionals around the world using LinkedIn as of April 2014. Its purpose is for networking, recruiting, social selling, content promoting, and generating thought leadership.

So, what should you be monitoring on LinkedIn to do just that?

Company Page

If you’re monitoring for a brand, make sure to check comments on LinkedIn Company Page posts. You’ll likely find the volume here is much less than that of Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll still receive comments occasionally and you should be aware and on the lookout for those that need answers.

Group Discussions

LinkedIn members interact often within LinkedIn Groups by posting discussion questions, topics, and more to the group. These discussions offer other opportunities to answer, comment, and link to your resources when it makes sense and is valuable to the community. For example, we might see a post in the Inbound Marketer’s group that asks where someone can get a resource about social media monitoring. If we have our monitoring process setup correctly, we’ll hop on that discussion thread and respond with a link to this eBook.

Additionally, if any executives at your company are a part of the LinkedIn Influencer program, it’s always good to check in occasionally on the comments on these posts. Some might mention your brand, while others are just friendly banter, so you might want to leave it to the next section to give you some tips on how to streamline this process.


Google Alerts:

Quora Questions

Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The quality of the community is quite high. A person may ask, “Why did company X make Y business decision?” Oftentimes, the most highly voted answer is given by the CEO of the company. For users, it’s a great opportunity to learn collectively from a large group where the best answers rise to the top through voting.

Your primary goal for monitoring Quora, is identifying questions relevant to your business and industry that you should answer. If someone posts a question about your company and there is no representation from your company among a stream of answers, that is a lost opportunity to guide the message (or deflect negative sentiment). Add your company’s name as a Google Alert to find these types of questions and inquiries.

Quora Topics

Topics are broad categories of questions like “marketing,” “business,” “books,” etc. If you are a marketer, you should be monitoring the “marketing” sections for opportunities to respond to questions that give you the opportunity to flaunt your business’ expertise.

Blog Articles

You should consider blog articles just as important (if not occasionally more important) as news coverage! You should know who is writing about your company and what they are saying. Are you generating major coverage regarding a product launch or another piece of news? Is there some sort of controversy occurring around your industry or your competitors?


What are people saying in response to articles about you, your competitors, or your industry? Should you weigh in as well? Are people liking your content or do they have feedback for improvement? You’ll be able to see comments on blog posts through Google Alerts.


Links make the inbound marketing world go ‘round! Do the blog articles written about you also include links back to your website? If not, perhaps you should send the author a friendly note. If you created content that a blog article is referencing, you should be credited with a link.


Chapter 6: Your 10-Minute Checklist

Now that you’ve set goals, prepped for a new routine, and maybe even set up a consolidated platform for monitoring your social media presence, it’s time to implement a new habit of opening your social networks first thing in the morning to find the most relevant information.

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Got 5 More Minutes? What’s Next?

By integrating this 10-minute plan into your schedule, you will have a very solid understanding of the social media conversations and content that is relevant to you and your business online. The next step, of course, is reacting! From here, perhaps you could add some items to your to-do list that spawn from what you may have read during the monitoring process. Maybe today you noticed that a great question was asked in a LinkedIn group, you have a response that could be valuable, and you want to make sure you answer. Maybe you took notice of a relevant blog article, and you decided you should comment on it during lunch. Did someone tweet about a positive experience with your company on Twitter? Make a note to favorite it and tweet something nice back! Because you have already created a solid plan for staying aware of activity occurring in social media that’s important to your business, you can choose to take an extra five minutes to prioritize the best content and react. You’ve now created a bridge between listening and engaging.

Final thought:

As time goes by and you develop better and more effective social media habits, you should make sure you also have a system in place to measure your success. (After all, you want data to prove those golden ten minutes are paying off, right?)

Reflect on the goal you set in the beginning of this eBook. If your goal was marketing- related, you should use tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot, just to name a couple, to monitor the amount of traffic, leads, and customers you’re generating through social media channels as a result of your efforts.

If thought leadership was one of your goals, has there been an increase in the volume of blog and news articles written about your company? Has there been an increase in links? Links are a fantastic indication that people are using you as a resource and want to send their readers to your content. (And it’s a double win for SEO!) No matter what the goal, be sure to monitor your metrics over time. If you decide to begin spending more than just ten minutes into your social media monitoring efforts, your success should correlate with the additional work you’re putting in!


About Us

Hydrate Marketing was founded in 2009 by Dan Evans, and is located in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Our agency practices inbound marketing techniques and provides strategic marketing, research, social media marketing, branding, graphic design, PR, email marketing, advertising, digital marketing, and website design services to those in the manufacturing, retail, wealth management, and other industries.

If you would like to schedule a free social media assessment, click here.