The rise of internet has made it possible to spread information faster than ever before in human history. If you work for a government institution, you also know that this has enabled people to instantly share political opinions. In fact, politics is one of the most frequently discussed topics online. You also know that it is starting to become a problem to track many topics and issues citizens and the media are raising.
The citizens only get a part of the picture. They visit websites of their choice or learn new information from their social media feeds. A majority of U.S. adults – 62% – get news on social media, and 18% do so often, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.
If you work in politics and presume that those websites and social media posts you are seeing in your feed are representative of what others are seeing, you are very likely to be wrong. Social media websites such as Facebook are more likely to show users topics similar to those they liked before. Which means that if you’re seeing positive shares about what your institution is doing, it doesn’t mean that others aren’t seeing negative, or even outright fake news.
The part of the job of a public official is to be informed about certain topics so you can plan your strategy for the future. In order to get the full picture of what citizens and the media are saying online, it is not only good practice, but absolutely mandatory that you use a media monitoring tool. It can help you recognise issues important to citizens, prevent a major communication crisis, and build your reputation.
Which political institutions should be using media monitoring?
- Office of the Mayor/President/Prime Minister
- Political Parties
- Government offices (health care, foreign relations, sport etc.)
Discovering what your institution needs to track
There are several essential keywords you need to track:
- The name of the institution (the name of the city, government, institute)
- The name of the person who’s in charge (mayor, prime minister, director)
- Other officials likely to appear in the media (heads of departments, vice-presidents)
- Laws, regulations, and decisions (eg. the Pension Act or the Tax Regulation)
Filtering your query to get the best results
One of the benefits of using media monitoring is that you can easily narrow down your search to get only the relevant results. Let’s say we want to know every information about Donald Trump but only when he is mentioned in the context of his presidency, and not his hotels, restaurants and other businesses. You can simply exclude mentions like “The Trump Tower” from appearing in results.
The importance of getting results on the go via mobile app
A key official such as the Prime Minister or a Mayor needs to wear many hats and respond to many questions during the day. He or she may in the course of a single day open an institution, meet with citizens, give a press statement, visit partner cities, approve projects and hold meetings.
He or she is always on the move. The team in the office is handling a number of requests, but a major and his team should be ready to respond to a hot topic regardless of whether they are in the office or not. The newest mentions are easy to check on the mobile phone. Its not necessary to exchange calls or emails between the PR team and the official about the information going on – they can now spend this time on something much more important.
Political parties can get mentions about their party, party leader, important country/political topics, competitors etc.
Since there are many people in the party who need different type of information, there is a simple solution to this. Each person can get only information important to the on their mail whenever they want it – in real time; once a day, once a week or custom.
However, media monitoring is not just right the information in the right time – it’s much more than that!
With media monitoring tool you can analyse mentions for each topic you monitor over time. You can see:
- The most mentioned topic over time
- Growth of mentions over months
- The most shared articles on social media
- The articles with the biggest reach
- Influencers and sources frequently writing about topics
- Sentiment of each topic
- Comparison to other queries
You can use this information to plan your future activities such as publishing PR statements or organising interviews on websites where people read the most about those topics. After that you can monitor the topic over days so that you know what kind of impact you achieved with your activities.
Sentiment analysis and comparison
Although it’s important how often the news you’re interested in is read, it’s even more important to assess whether the context in which your institution appears is positive, negative or neutral.
For example: We are monitoring president/mayor name and for each article/mention.
POSITIVE: The major opened a new school. 50 new jobs for the local community.
NEGATIVE: The major hasn’t responded to questions about constant traffic jams
NEUTRAL: The major attended a play at the local theatre (just mentioned in the context)
After the user has determined sentiment for several articles/topics he or she will get sentiment analysis which will then show if the majority of mentions were positive, negative and neutral. And this is even easier with the help of automated sentiment analysis.
There is also a possibility to compare two topics such as mentions of the ruling party and the opposition to see which one stands better in the media.
At the end it would be good to have all the mention saved on computer as reference to what has was done. With a media monitoring tool, it can be done easily in a few steps. All the links or statistical data would be saved to a computer.
Online media monitoring tools are here to save you time, give you the right information when you need and help you plan future activities so that you and your team can focus on important things.