Although big in the US, 24/7 social media monitoring is a relatively new concept in the Australian market and is yet to be adopted by many organisations. The two primary benefits of this type of monitoring are improved customer service and avoiding online embarrassment and reputational damage.

Domino’s, who previously clocked off at 10pm, have recently announced that they are switching to 24/7 monitoring in-house for all their social media accounts so that they may react to issues promptly and encourage user engagement. In order to achieve this, they have employed six full-time staff. Richenda Vermeulen, director of ntegrity, encourages other businesses to follow Domino’s suit and implement 24/7 monitoring for similar purposes.

However, 24/7 monitoring is not only important for protecting an organisations reputation, but the wellbeing of your consumers/community. One of the most commonly reported needs for this type of monitoring is for sites that discuss or contain self-harm and/or thinspiration content. Even large sites such as Tumblr and Instagram require additional monitoring, as they are being used by teens to build self-harm communities. This behaviour is also present on mental health social networks, such as TalkLife. All platforms state that this behaviour is apparently not tolerated. However, many of these images/posts are tagged with code #hashtags so that computer algorithms cannot find them easily.

So what are the 24/7 monitoring options?

The first thing an organisation needs to consider is whether or not they are going to undertake the monitoring in-house or use an external agency. The benefits of monitoring in-house are that it can be cheaper (depending on how many staff members you need to employee and train) and there is a higher likelihood that engagement will be on brand. An organisation would outsource if they did not have the capabilities (manpower and skills) to undertake the job in-house. An example of an Australian-based social media monitoring company is Quiip, who provide a monitoring and management solution (dealing harmful content while you sleep).

If an organisation decides to outsource their monitoring there are again two options: human monitoring, algorithm. Humans are expensive. A company may consider off shoring the work to reduce costs, and there are a number of services such as SocialSitter who review all engagement on your site and flag any potential issues for your organisations immediate review. This mitigates the potential risk of external agencies misrepresenting your organisations brand and brand values.

Alternatively, organisations can purchase or subscribe to an algorithm service (such as hootsuite or buzznumbers), which scans your social media accounts for specific words, and images that may present a risk and then alerts you. The problem with this type of monitoring system is that harmful content can be easily missed if it is added under a term that is not searched for by the algorithm, or isn’t obviously harmful. In particular, algorithms still have difficulty picking up sarcasm.

There are a number of different monitoring solutions available and the most suitable solution for your organisation will depend on its needs an internal capabilities. It is important to realize though, that even though your business is only open from 9-5, social media runs 24/7, leaving you open to risk. 24/7 social media monitoring may not be necessary to your organisation, but it is definitely worth considering the cost/benefit of implementing such a system.