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social media listening public relations firmsSocial media monitoring is one of the most critical factors determining executives’ satisfaction with their PR firms, new research reveals. Business executives see only earned media services and developing earned media coverage as more important, according to the PR Customer Experience Benchmark Report from Researchscape International, which provides PR firms survey research. Other important factors that impact satisfaction include setting up media interviews, influencer marketing and developing PR campaigns.

The report calls social media monitoring an area of weakness, although 67 percent of executives are completely or very satisfied with PR firms’ monitoring services. Other important areas that PR firms can improve include developing PR campaigns and case studies to increase their customers’ overall satisfaction.

Social Media Monitoring: A Common PR Service

Companies generally turn to public relations firms for social media monitoring services. More executives (57 percent) use PR firms for social media monitoring than other services. Other common PR services include digital marketing (56 percent), writing news releases (51 percent), and developing PR campaigns (51 percent).

Executives were satisfied with several skills and services PR firms provide such as presentation skills, digital marketing, and overall knowledge of their clients’ business/industry. However, they consider those skills less important.

Looking at the big picture, 55 percent of the executives surveyed are very satisfied overall with the PR firms they use, and 22 percent are completely satisfied. “But this doesn’t always translate to additional business opportunities: only 47 percent are very or completely likely to purchase additional services from their PR firm,” states Jeffrey Henning is the president of Researchscape International, for the Institute of Public Relations.

Social Listening One of Three Top Trends

The Evolution of Public Relations report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) cited social media listening as one of the top public relations trends, along with digital storytelling and real-time marketing.

Those top three trends are interlinked: “I heard something” (social listening), “I need to tell a story about it” (digital storytelling), and “I need to do it fast” (real-time marketing).

Experts agree that social media listening is becoming more common among corporations and non-profit organizations. More consumers use social media to learn about and comment about products. That enables brands to employ social media listening to promote goods and services, engage customers online and complete product research.

More Advanced Media Monitoring Tools Available

In addition, social media monitoring tools have become more advanced and easier to use. Social media monitoring technology also became better at analyzing consumers’ intent. Brands can better determine the consumer’s stage in the buying cycle – if they’re thinking they might like a new product, actively shopping and prepared to purchase, or if they’re dissatisfied with a current provider and ready consider an alternative.

PR firms can also now offer more advanced media measurement services such as automated sentiment analysis, which grades social media comments on a positive, neutral, negative scale.

Bottom Line: Business executives place a high importance on social media monitoring services PR firms provide. PR firms that work with sophisticated media measurement vendors will gain a competitive advantage and be better able to retain clients and gain new ones.