Six essential elements of social media management


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The buzz-phrase that seems to be thrown around the web is ‘social media management.’ So many platforms and firms out there, in a self-acclaimed manner, dub themselves as ‘the complete social media management software, platform or firm.’

A deeper look into some of these platforms, it becomes apparent and clear that most of these firms fail to understand that social media management encompasses more than they ever imagined. I am yet to find a platform or firm that incisively tackles every element of social media management, as that will be very demanding- more in tandem to the tag: “Jack-of-trades and master of none.”

Trustradius, the enterprise software review platform, share in my sentiments, as they opined: “Although several of these tools attempt to handle the full range of social-related activity, many have particular strengths in one or more areas and companies often use more than one product to manage their social media presence.”

I came across a blog, which expressed the three stages of social media management as engaging, listening and analysing. I believe the sequence is somewhat incorrect and the right stages should be listening, analysing (intelligence) and engagement. This has inspired the focus of this blog.

Three stages and six elements of social media management

Stage One: Social listening

Social listening is the first stage of social media management, as it involves the process of identifying what is being said about an individual, product, business, competition or industry.

Element One- Mention: This is the first element as it entails how brands use listening tools to spot where their business, industry or competition has been mentioned. These mentions could be found on blogs, review sites, Facebook, Twitter and host of other platforms. Some companies create an alert, which helps to give a prompt when their product, brand, competition or industry is mentioned.

Element Two- Message: This is the second element under the social listening category. Realising your brand’s mention is one step, looking at the type of message shared by the user or customer is important. With the evolving social messaging landscape, a message could come in the form of a simple text review, micro video, memes, podcast, picture or case studies. Looking at the format or medium through which the message was delivered is important before delving into social intelligence or analysis.

Stage Two: Social Intelligence (analysis)

This is the second stage of social media management that entails looking deeply into the triggers, emotions and sentiments behind the social mention and message. The Psychologist, Daniel Goleman, believes that empathy is crucial to understanding the feelings and emotions of someone else. This is an area that many social media management platforms seem to be falling short, as they concentrate more on using simple dashboards that lacks in rich insights and business intelligence.

Element One- Motive: This focuses on the reasons, triggers and sentiments behind the mentions and messages on social media platform. Seth Grimes wrote an interesting piece that is titled: “Where sentiment analysis heads next.” In this piece, he revealed the state of some social media management tools, with a host of platforms failing to capture an integrated analysis, which creates a sentimental link to psychological profiles, behaviours, demographic characteristics, events, transactions and other relevant data. I have tried a couple of SMM tools and realised how shallow some are in creating deeper insights into the motives or sentiments, behind mentions and messages.

Element Two- Movement: This is the second element of social media intelligence and analytics. A deeper insight and understanding into the sentiments or motives of the said customer or user could help you in predicting their next movement or step. A happy and relieved customer could make two types of movement. On one hand they could make a repeat purchase with the company or they could go an extra mile to recommend the product. I looked up the last ten positive reviews for a company on the Trustpilot platform and all the reviews were mostly from customers that will make a repeat purchase and just a single one sounds like a customer that will be an advocate.

Stage Three: Social engagement

Engagement is the final stage, as it takes a brand to identify her mentions, messages, motives and potential movement of customers, for an effective engagement. It is difficult to properly engage with a customer without gaining rich insights into their sentiments and emotions.

Element One- Match: This may sound new to most people, but when you understand what triggers your customers, it is important to adopt an empathetic and reasonable stance in matching the customer’s method of interaction. If an angry customer leaves a negative mention via a tweet, it will be best to craft a relevant and appropriate tweet. A customer that decides to leave a mention via a video platform will most likely expect a response in that format.

Element Two- Marketing: Most businesses want a return on investment on social media management efforts. Adopting an intelligent marketing approach founded on the other elements is very important for most businesses. A company that finds a mention and message from a happy customer, which could likely be a brand advocate, could create an inbound marketing plan with this customer. This inbound marketing approach could involve encouraging the customer to guest blog or share an Instagram image with a hashtag. While a negative and angry customer could be introduced to case studies and customer testimonials, in encouraging the said customer to give the company a second chance to make things right.

Social media management is not as narrow and streamlined as most people think. Jasmine Jaume, shares in my sentiment as she believes so many people tend to have confusion regarding terms like social listening, analytics and intelligence. I am hoping this brings a bit of clarity to the field of SMM (social media management).

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


  1. Dateme – thanks very much for referencing TrustRadius in your post. I like how you frame the stages and key elements. I’d add that another vector is use case or business objective – which we collapse into 3 main areas (though there are others) – intelligence, customer care and marketing.


  2. Hi Vinay,

    Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts around having a user case element or business objective.

    I also love the work your firm and G2crowd are doing within the software/CRM review space.



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