Vikki Chowney Says Yes to Social Listening, and No to Social Ninjas

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Vikki Chowney Says Yes to Social Listening, and No to Social Ninjas


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Our latest Synthesio Sessions instalment features agency TMW’s Head of Community, Vikki Chowney. Many of you will be familiar with her earlier work as a journo, most recently as News Editor at Econsultancy, and prior to that as editor to Reputation Online – a sister title to NMA (we miss you NMA – RIP).

Vikki has masses of experience in the digital and social world due to her variety of past roles in editorial, consultancy and digital PR, so we thought, who better to invite into the hotseat for our third Synthesio Sessions? She also likes robots, and her website used to be called “Things That Make You Say Tune”, so there’s that.

Read on to discover Vikki’s thoughts on social media monitoring for business, her most hated social media buzzword, and others. Enjoy.

1. What are your recommended top 3 best uses for social media monitoring? Why should brands listen to social media?

Vikki Chowney

– To assist with content strategy; both taking themes that people naturally talk about and using them to inform your content calendar, as well as review how well new ideas have gone down within a community.
– Crisis management; especially if you’re working with a large community, you need to know when something’s gone wrong and you need to know in real time
– Highlight key influencers, reviewing the most active/passionate and then reaching out to them appropriately

2. Who do you feel should ‘own’ social media monitoring in business / which departments (if any) have owned it in social media monitoring companies you’ve worked for?

It’s tricky, because there are so many  approaches to this question. I’ve worked for PR agencies who ‘own’ it, I’ve used it as a content editor and within publishing roles. Really, anyone can own it, but whoever is managing a community on a day to day basis needs to have access to social monitoring – and more importantly be able to interpret the data appropriately. That’s the crux; access.

3. What’s your most hated social media buzzword?

Less buzzword, more annoying descriptor; anything in the social media guru/ninja camp. It’s that cringe-worthy narcissism that makes me die a little bit inside.

4. What’s your favorite example/use case of ROI in social media listening?

I quite like the ‘mission control’ approach of Gatorade, Dell, Nokia and the like. While it’s not ROI as such, it’s about raising awareness of a brand’s own social activity internally – which is really valuable. Plus, in many of these cases, social teams use these rooms packed with screens and charts to measure what’s being said online in real time, so it’s a reputation management exercise as well.

5. What do you feel are the biggest challenges with social media listening solutions right now, and what would you love to see as the next big innovation(s) in listening?

Two main things; a lack of Facebook integration and differentiation between tools. The former is just something we’ve all got to live with, but on the last point – it’s impossible to really tell the key differences between tools. Since the technology develops so quickly, it’s actually quite difficult to gauge whether you’re using the best solution unless you invest heavily in constantly reviewing them. We all do it of course, but the need is so much greater for listening tools than with any other social technology.

Thanks for your insightful answers Vikki!

You can find Vikki at her website, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Google+.

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