As PR professionals, we all know that we should be monitoring social media. But who should be doing it and what are we looking for? And most importantly how do we actually do it? The convergence, or collision, of PR and social media has been a hot topic on industry blogs and at conferences throughout 2013. The simplest answer to all of these questions is as follows: social media can and should be part of any integrated marketing or PR campaign, and therefore involves several different players; just think of social media as another channel at your disposal.

Social channel strategy is just like strategy for media outreach or advertising, and social media monitoring allows PR professionals to understand what customers, influencers and other stakeholders think, directly from the source. This insight leads to more targeted messaging and better campaigns. It also gives you the opportunity to pinpoint where you should engage and spark conversations on topics that are important to your company.

Social media monitoring can play an important role in several kinds of integrated campaigns, such as:

  • Crisis communications
  • Product launches
  • Donation drives
  • Breaking news pitches
  • Brand image
  • Competitive and industry intelligence


The Meltwater News PR software suite includes social media monitoring capabilities, offering an easy way for PR to include social media in campaigns. Social media monitoring searches integrate directly into your established Meltwater News workflow as an additional set of results in your daily alert emails and on your analytics dashboard. By adding social media monitoring to your account you can track Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, blogs and Weibo mentions, supplementing your news monitoring.

To help you get started, I’ve put together a basic quick-start guide for using the social media monitoring capabilities within the Meltwater News platform.

Creating a Social Media Monitoring Search

Meltwater News searches use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to define the relationships between keywords. Visit my previous post on media monitoring for a more in-depth explanation of the different types of searches based on the kind of results you’re looking for. For the purposes of this article, think of these social media monitoring searches as being a simple math equation, with Boolean operators defining the relationships between the words.

A few basics:

  • Use quotation marks to note when two or more words should be thought of as one term [“Tim Cook” vs. Tim Cook]
  • Use parentheses to group together terms as in a math equation, following the distributive property [that is: A x (B + C) = AB + AC]


Below I’ve included some of the most common searches you can create to monitor your brand, your competitors and industry information on social media using the Apple, Inc. brand as an example. Take a look:

Apple NOT (juice OR tree OR candy)

Apple AND (iPod OR MacBook OR iPhone)

Apple AND MacBook AND “Tim Cook”

(Apple AND iPhone) NOT (Google OR Android)

(iOS AND Android) OR ((OSX OR “OS X”) AND (“Windows 8” OR Windows8))

Social Media Monitoring Dashboard

When you first log into the Meltwater News platform, you’re presented with a dashboard that includes some basic metrics on your media monitoring – things like conversation volume, sentiment and geographic spread. Social media monitoring searches include a very similar dashboard that gives you a high-level overview of recent activity surrounding your social media keywords.

First, select the correct social media monitoring search from the drop-down menu in the top left of the screen. Each of the following three metrics that display can be changed to show resulting graphs from the last day, week or month:


  • Media Spread

Media spread breaks down the number of social media posts by channel – that is Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Blogs. Use this metric for an at-a-glance view of where the buzz is on your brand or competitors.


The media spread graph shows the distribution of social media monitoring results by channel.


  • Social Sentiment

Social sentiment automatically breaks down the sentiment of your social media monitoring results. This metric is useful when looking at trends of sentiment during a crisis communications campaign or a product launch.


Understand the sentiment of social media monitoring searches to help guide your PR campaign.


  • Live Feed

The live feed lets you see the most recent conversations for a social media monitoring search. As you log in to the platform throughout the day, this feed refreshes to keep you on top of the newest developments in your search.


A live-updating list of the most recent social media monitoring results.


If it isn’t already, social media monitoring will become an increasingly important part of PR campaign strategy. Social media monitoring searches within the Meltwater News platform are a quick way to stay abreast of breaking news during your campaign and to ensure that your messaging is hitting home with important stakeholders. For more specifics or help setting up a social media monitoring search in your account, be in touch with your Account Manager.