There has been a lot of conversation about social media monitoring for consumer products, customer service and brand reputation management. A recent study revealed that 47 percent of businesses are not monitoring online social media communities at all. Social media affects a company’s bottom line and 85 percent of marketers said they spent time monitoring because it helped their business engage in dialogue with potential or current customers.

But what about issues management?

Social media has the reach to make expression of opinion and issues advocacy easier than ever. It has become easier to cut through the online clutter with the number of tools that are now available. However, basic monitoring tools are inadequate in giving context to the data that is collected. Having a team of experts that are able to customize monitoring helps these organizations manage the massive amount of data available online.  A team would also be critical in determining who influences conversations, where the discussion is occurring and what really applies to a specific cause, organization or issue.

Social monitoring and communications strategy present an opportunity and can be an influence tactic for public sector marketing, especially during a legislative session.

Take #txlege for example. With more than 127,000 uses of the hashtag on Twitter in the last four months, the hashtag is one of the quickest and easiest ways to search for and find out what Twitter users are currently talking about regarding this legislative session. With organizations, legislators and individuals alike using this hashtag, it has been mentioned by 42,567 users and has reached an estimated 246 million people.

#TxLege Data Chart

Monitoring online conversations around #txlege would provide public entities insight into public opinion that can identify accurate trends in the data and offer knowledge from an audience’s perspective. It also allows an organization to look back at conversations and gain historical context when no other research exists.

Understanding social media has become a daily integral part of public affairs and issues management. Cause organizations and the public sector are recognizing the value of monitoring and engagement through social media because, today, audiences can be reached and influenced both online and offline.

 

– Bethany