The rise of the 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 their political opinions.
And while this may be beneficiary for a number of reasons, it also brings a lot of pitfalls.
A particular opinion or discussion may go viral in a negative way. One of the political representatives could post a “problematic” status update on their social media profile. A key person/representative may get involved in a situation that harms their or their parties’ reputation. So apart from getting straight unbiased opinions that can be used in political campaigns which is the greatest benefit of all of these discussions happening online, they can also cause a crisis that may ruin someone’s reputation irretrievably.
In this blog we’ll learn more about the impact of online conversations on government institutions, what to track and we’ll go through some of the benefits of online media monitoring for government institutions.
Why Do Government Institutions Need to Monitor Online Conversations?
Politics is, in fact, one of the most frequently discussed topics online.
Therefore, the importance of online conversation monitoring for government institutions lies in its ability to shape political strategies, manage public perception, and address issues in real time. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 74% of American adults use social media, with platforms like Facebook and Twitter serving as key sources of news and political information.
Furthermore, a report by Edelman found that 64% of respondents believe that government officials and leaders should be active on social media to effectively engage with the public. By monitoring online conversations, politicians can identify emerging issues, address concerns promptly, and shape their messaging to align with public sentiment. It provides an opportunity to build trust, foster meaningful dialogue, and demonstrate accountability in a digital era where online conversations hold immense influence over public opinion.
In this context, these are the political institutions that should be using media monitoring:
- office of the Mayor/President/Prime Minister
- political parties
- government offices (health care, foreign relations, sport, etc.)
Pretty much – all of them.
What to track and how does it work
Apart from following daily news on hot topics important for the area you’re in (like gas prices, industry news, etc.), there are several essential keywords you need to track:
- Name of the institution (the name of the city, government, institute)
- 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)
- Local departments and offices
Once you insert the keyword you’d like to track, a media monitoring tool provides the context of the mention, its source, influence, sentiment and other important metrics that you can then collect and analyze within a certain time frame.
Benefits of Online Media Monitoring for Government Institutions
Getting a glimpse of and digging a bit deeper into the mentions of your keywords within the media monitoring tool brings a range of benefits, some of which can make or break your political campaign. Here are some of them.
Real-time crisis management
One of the biggest advantages of tracking your online mentions with a media monitoring tool is the option of real-time alerts that can come to your email inbox or Slack. This means that the tool enables provides real-time information when a keyword you’re interested in is mentioned in the online world and to swiftly detect and respond to potential crises or emerging issues. By monitoring online conversations, they can identify and address misinformation, rumors, or negative sentiment in real time, allowing for proactive crisis management and effective communication with the public.
You can’t know exactly when a crisis will happen. But when tracking your mentions there are certain indicators that may signify you need to pay special attention.
For example if you notice an increase in the negative mentions, this may be a signal that you need to pay attention to what is going on, in order to avoid these negative mentions turning into a crisis.
Public perception and reputation management
The easiest way to get access to direct and unbiased opinions of potential voters, is exactly through media monitoring. It’s like being present in a room full of people talking about you, without being seen.
Monitoring online media provides valuable insights into public sentiment and perceptions of government institutions. By understanding how they are portrayed and perceived in online conversations, government entities can take proactive measures to shape their reputation, address misconceptions, and build trust among the public
Determ for example has a feature called Word Cloud. It enables you to take a look at the words most frequently used alongside your tracked keyword. In this way, you can easily see if your tracked keyword (name) is predominantly mentioned in bad contexts.
Data-driven decision making
If there’s one thing that a good media monitoring tool can provide, it’s a lot of useful data. And this wealth of data and insights can inform evidence-based decision-making processes. By analyzing trends, sentiments, and public opinions, government institutions can gain a deeper understanding of their constituents’ needs and preferences, facilitating the development of policies and initiatives that align with public expectations.
This data is usually available through various types of reports. These reports enable an even better understanding of the gathered data and can be used when planning further PR actions.
Effective communication and engagement
The access to conversations revolving your keyword of interest can give you guidance on topics that matter to your target audience. And this refers especially to the period when you’re planing a campaign.
Monitoring online conversations helps government institutions stay informed about public discussions, concerns, and interests. This knowledge enables them to tailor their communication strategies, engage with constituents on relevant topics, and foster meaningful dialogue through social media platforms, websites, or online forums.
Competitive intelligence and benchmarking
One of the greatest things about media monitoring is that you can get all of this abundance of data for your competitors as well. You can analyze the activities of your peers, competitors, or other government entities. By gaining insights into their messaging, initiatives, and public reception, you can benchmark your performance, identify best practices, and identify areas for improvement, enhancing your overall effectiveness in reaching and engaging with the public.
When we talk about a profession so dependent on PR like politics, media monitoring tools present an asset in daily work. By harnessing the power of real-time insights and data-driven decision making, government entities can effectively manage crises, shape public perception, and engage with constituents in a meaningful way.
Want to start online media monitoring for your government institution?