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SickWeather Health heat map

Social Monitoring Case Study: Sickweather

Social media monitoring is a powerful tool and every grocery retailer should be using it. People are talking about your store on social media, whether your store has an online presence or not, so it’s important to monitor those conversations so you can react when necessary. Plus there are many free social monitoring tools available online so it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

What is social media monitoring?

Actively watching and listening to social media channels for information about a company or organization (Lexicon). Social monitoring allows business owners to track what consumers are saying about their brands, services and actions. Businesses can react to these conversations and interact with consumers on their social media platforms.

Case Study: Sickweather

I recently attended Social Media Club of Kansas City’s December breakfast, which focused on social monitoring. The presenter, Graham Dodge, is the CEO of Sickweather, a company that uses social monitoring to track sickness and give people real time data about illnesses near them and through out the U.S.

SickWeather MapSickweather scans social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter) for people reporting their illnesses and symptoms. They process 6 million social media reports per month and they have 250 thousand unique monthly active users, 10% of which report directly to Sickweather when they are ill. The remainder of their data comes from monitoring key words on social media, such as “sick”, “ill”, “flu”, “common cold”, and more.

Sickweather Mobile Phones It can take a full life cycle of a virus before we hear about illnesses from the CDC through news channels, but Sickweather reports and tracks illness in real-time. Sickweather is the “Doppler radar” for sickness. It has even detected flu outbreaks 6 weeks before the CDC confirmed them.

Sickweather mystery illnessSickweather Map 2Obviously this is a unique case study, but it speaks volumes to the power of social monitoring. If you’re not already convinced that social monitoring is important for your store or brand, here are a few reasons why you should be monitoring your store or brand on social media.

How does social monitoring benefit your company?

  1. Brand monitoring – Track the sentiment of your store brand from the tone consumers’ use when posting about your store (positive or negative).
  2. Marketplace intelligence – Share your knowledge or expertise with consumers when needed.
  3. Competition monitoring – Find out what consumers are saying about your competitors, what they’re doing well that you could copy, and what they’re doing poorly that you should avoid doing.
  4. Business improvement – Identify areas that need to be developed further or changed to make your customers happier.
  5. Marketing campaign evaluation – See what customers are saying about your seasonal promotion, community outreach, or special event.
  6. Identifying frequently asked questions

Some free, easy-to-use social monitoring tools:

If you’re an AWG retailer interested in free social monitoring, check out our social monitoring page for more info.

*Slides courtesy of Graham Dodge, CEO of Sickweather. Presentation from SMCKC December Breakfast.

Why do I work at AWG? “I love working with independent retail stores to improve their in-store marketing strategies. When consumers compare products at grocery stores, many rely on in-store nutrition information and in-store advertising to make their decisions. By growing the nutrition and rebate programs at AWG stores, I implicitly help thousands of grocery shoppers make healthier choices every day.” -Michelle