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Creating streams in a social media monitoring tool

20 December 2012

Often users find the idea of working with a social media monitoring tool daunting. As a social media monitoring company which has won awards for ease of use and deployment, Sentiment Metrics feel it’s important to not only give you an easy to use system to enter your searches but also to lend a helping hand on creating search terms (which we call streams) when required!

Firstly, I would like to point out that all social media monitoring tools will have a different interface, so they will not look exactly like the image used here. However, the principles behind creating streams used to capture data from the majority of social media platforms are similar. Most will talk about Boolean operators , which after looking around, seems we have the most powerful out there including AND,OR,NOT, WILDCARD (*), PROXIMITY (~), CASE SENSITIVE (^), location and language. Most users do not need all this power for the majority of searches, so we also expose a nifty wizard to get you started in a flash.

Below are some useful tips for making setting up your streams, using Boolean terminology, that one step easier:

When creating a keyword stream

1. Create a title for your stream which is easily identifiable. This isn’t used for actually harvesting data, but is a quick and easy way for you to sort your streams within the system.
2. Allow for verbal variations. Some phrases can be referred to in various different ways. For example Marks & Spencer is also known as M&S and Marks and Sparks etc,etc. By including all known variations of your chosen stream, this will help maximise the search results.
3. The quality of the output is dependent on the quality of the input. If you haven’t got the resources, or time, to configure streams properly, vendors such as ourselves can offer an in-house analyst to help set up & manage the streams in your admin account.
4. Include Twitter handles and any known hashtags. It is becoming increasingly common for social media users to direct their comments specifically at brands. By including reference to company social media accounts, the solution will be able to pick up mentions directly aimed at the brand in focus.
5. Run exclusions where necessary. Within the Sentiment Metrics solution, you have the opportunity to see sample mentions in the lower half of the configuration screen. As you add key words / phrases these will be updated. When creating a stream that includes generic terms such as ‘Next’ or ‘Orange’, be sure to use Boolean terminology to exclude irrelevant mentions. We also have URL blocks and topic blocks, so whenever you are navigating the system you can add new filter rules. This means you only see the mentions that are absolutely relevant for you saving you a tonne of time! See told you it was easy!
6. Use region and language filters only when required. Depending on your social media monitoring objectives, you may wish to limit the results to certain countries or languages. However, it is important to be aware that some social media users do not disclose these details. In this case, mentions would be classified as unknown and would be excluded from a stream with specific region and / or language filters.

Streams for a specific URL

Within the Sentiment Metrics solution, users typically use a specific URL to monitor a Facebook page. The system would run an analysis on that individual page rather than more broadly with key words / phrases.

Once you’ve finished entering the stream criteria, don’t forget to hit the add icon. This will automatically save the stream and immediately start drawing in mentions from millions of online sources for the past 30 days. We also have an archive of 30 billion mentions which we can search for you, so don’t worry whatever your data requirements Sentiment Metrics have you covered!

These are just a few tips to help you get started. And remember, the output from a social media monitoring tool will only be as good as the input! In this case, this is the starting point of the configuration of a stream.

Need any help, or want to check out the system for yourself, just give our friendly account team a shout and we will get you set up!

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