Social media monitoring: aims, methods, and challenges for international companies

  • Zhang B
  • Vos M
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Access to this document was granted through an Emerald subscription provided by emerald-srm:382916 [] For Authors If you would like to write for this, or any other Emerald publication, then please use our Emerald for Authors service information about how to choose which publication to write for and submission guidelines are available for all. Please visit for more information. About Emerald Emerald is a global publisher linking research and practice to the benefit of society. The company manages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books and book series volumes, as well as providing an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources and services. Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to clarify the aims, monitoring methods and challenges of social media monitoring from the perspective of international companies. Trends in the literature are also investigated. Design/methodology/approach – Based on a systematic literature review, 30 key articles from 2008 to 2012 were further analysed. Findings – International companies need real-time monitoring software, expertise and dynamic visualization to facilitate early detection and prognoses supporting strategy making. This is a costly affair, prompting questions about return on investment. A recent trend in the research literature concerns the development of models describing how issues spread in social media with the aim of facilitating prognoses. Research limitations/implications – The online databases used comprised refereed peer-reviewed scientific articles. Books were not included in the search process. Practical implications – Because information spreads fast in social media and affects international companies, they need to identify issues early, in order to monitor and predict their growth. This paper discusses the difficulties posed by this objective. Originality/value – Social media monitoring is a young research area and research on the topic has been conducted from many different perspectives. Therefore, this paper brings together current insights geared towards corporate communication by international companies. 1. Introduction This research paper aims at clarifying social media monitoring from the perspective of international companies. A systematic literature review was used to seek current insights on the methods used, and so illuminate not only the benefits but also the difficulties attached to the monitoring process. With the development of science and technology, social media have come to exert great impact on commercial value (Adkins and Lury, 2011; Thackeray et al., 2008). With high numbers of users, issues spread fast via social media (Lawrence et al., 2010; Zailskaite-Jakste and Kuvykaite, 2012). This affects international corporations which, in order to maintain profitable relationships, need to identify issues early and monitor and predict their growth (Banerjee and Agarwal, 2012; Coombs and Holladay, 2012). The concept issue refers to how a topic is seen and discussed (Meriläinen and Vos, 2013). Issues are social constructions (Hallahan, 2001) and may be perceived differently by different public groups. Company issues can be very diverse, and include, for example, criticism of the social responsibility of a firm in the public debate. Early prognosis of issue interaction could prevent financial or reputational losses. Therefore, monitoring social media interaction has become vitally important for international companies. Social media offer an interactive platform for dialogue between users, including individuals and companies. Companies have different objectives for being active in social

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  • Boyang Zhang

  • Marita Vos

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