If you've been tasked with managing your brand on social media, you know that there is a plethora of tools available that claim to do all the work for you. Depending on your budget and your patience for learning how to use and combine tools, you may have great solutions available, or not so much. Even if you don't have flashy do-it-all tools within reach, you can still adopt a great social monitoring strategy with diligence and either free tools or (gasp!) no tools at all.

I prefer to think of my daily, weekly, and monthly monitoring as existing on three planes each with their own points of view: the daily grind, a zoomed out weekly view of brand sentiment, and an even further removed, big picture sense of social progress and reporting. From these three points of view, you can more easily handle the variety of tasks involved in managing social accounts, monitoring brand mention and interaction, and in a broad sense, using social media to promote your business.

Daily Monitoring: The Grind

At a daily level, social media management involves managing interactions and providing customer service, as well as keeping an eye on industry news and potential brand ambassadors.

Good customer service is responsive, quick, and helpful. You should be logging into your most important social profiles probably Facebook and Twitter, but it varies slightly be industry at least daily, preferably more often. When you log in, process all of the new interactions that have occurred since the last time you checked in. In some cases, you will be deleting spam off your wall, but more often there will be things to respond to, both good and bad. Be sure to go through your messages on Facebook and your direct messages on Twitter.

I always like to stress that you respond to all posts, no matter whether they are positive or negative. Ignoring the positive and only ever responding to complaints makes your brand seem buried in customer service issues. Only responding to the positive messages and ignoring complaints and requests for help make you seem flighty and unhelpful at best, or at worst, unable or unwilling to help people use your products.

Once your management is out of the way, it is time to monitor. Browse related hashtags or take a look at a community news portal to see what is new in your industry. Spotted breaking news that would interest your audience? Pass it on. Strive to be one of the best content curators out there, always sharing the latest and greatest in your field, and people will flock to your social accounts. Use these posts as opportunities to test out posting at different times of day when do your posts get the best social interaction?

Seeing familiar faces discussing or sharing your news or products? Follow up with them to encourage continued interactions. Encourage brand ambassadors to share your content and disperse your news to others. You can further encourage repeated social interaction and sharing by creating a "fan of the month" program where you give away a gift card or other prize to your most interactive fan. This can help keep your page fresh and exciting.

Weekly Monitoring: Brand Sentiment

At a weekly level, social media management involves checking up on your lesser social networks, the ones that you update less frequently. Examples of these might be YouTube and Pinterest log in, check your comments once or twice a week, see if there's anything that needs your attention. Pin a few things or create a playlist your weekly work doesn't have to be super involved.

Monitoring on a weekly basis involves looking at brand sentiment, or the general atmosphere regarding your business, and evaluation of your successes and failures on a post-by-post basis. Is there a negative undercurrent that needs to be addressed with some positive posts and smart responses? Sometimes privacy is a concern that needs to be taken into account and dealt with; if you do the social media management for a center offering drug rehab programs, you will obviously need to be much more discrete about what you post and how you respond to comments than if you manage the social presence for a video game company.

If you take a look at your Insights or your Twitter Analytics, what types of posts perform best and which are total flops? You can either apply this information immediately and try to share more of the best-performing content, or record it and keep it in mind for your monthly monitoring.

Monthly Monitoring: The Big Picture

Facebook insightsAt a monthly level, you should be considering the big picture of your social media efforts. What progress are you making? How is your social influence growing and what is contributing to that growth?

If you are using a tool to pull together all of your analytics resources, do it; if not, visit your analytics pages for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. individually and use the information to evaluate your progress over the past month. How is the brand doing in terms of mentions, fans/followers, and reach? Pull together information about how your social media performs using Google Analytics Social Media Examiner has a great post about seeing how your social traffic converts to sales and conversions. If you aren't already, make sure you are campaign tagging your URLs to make the most of the data you can collect.

Now that you've brought together all that beautiful data about how your brand is performing, use it in your social media management. Create an editorial calendar for the next month, pushing the kind of content that tends to perform well. Pay attention to the time of day that does best according to your previous experience. I recommend using a tool like HootSuite to schedule out this content to free up your days for responding to customer interactions. Some types of content are better not set up to post automatically as has been my experience with YouTube videos so in those cases, make sure to note what you need to add manually so that you can create the necessary calendar reminders.

If you follow this varying POV approach to social media monitoring and management, you are sure to find ways to improve on what you already have, without spending any more time and money than you currently do. (Making an editorial calendar and scheduling posts ahead has actually saved me significant amounts of time I fully recommend it!)

What other social monitoring do you do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Feel free to share in the comments!