While using Social Media Management, you can connect your channels, publish content, moderate your conversations, track the success of your posts, and much more. But how is Brandwatch able to access that information and act on your behalf?
In this article, find out more about Brandwatch's relationship with social networks as a third-party platform.
In this article:
- Supported social networks
- Third-party platforms
- Understanding APIs
- Understanding channel connections
Supported social networks
Social Media Management supports the connection of specific account types for the following social networks:
To find out more about which types of accounts are supported for each network and how to connect them to Social Media Management, please visit the network-specific connection guides above.
Brandwatch is proud to be an official partner of the social networks mentioned above. As an official partner, we are able to access select data and take actions on your connected channel(s) on your behalf, in compliance with each network’s policies. This relationship considers Brandwatch as a third-party platform between you and the above social networks.
As a third-party platform, some of the types of actions Brandwatch can take on your behalf in Social Media Management include:
- Publishing and indexing posts
- Promoting posts
- Publishing and indexing conversations (e.g. comments and direct messages)
- Indexing performance metrics for your posts and channels
- Searching publicly available information such as X (Twitter) handles, geo-locations, published Pages, and more
To remain compliant with each social network’s policies, the actions Brandwatch can take on your channel may vary by social network. Please read about the potential API limitations below.
Below are two examples that demonstrate how Social Media Management can interact with your connected channels as a third-party platform.
Example 1: Publishing content
- In Social Media Management, you can design and edit a post in Publish.
- On the same post, you can select the date and time when you would like the post to be published, then Schedule it.
- At the scheduled date and time, Social Media Management will publish the post to your channel on your behalf. You do not need to take any action.
Example 2: Collecting data
- In Measure, you can select or create a dashboard to view metrics for your channels and posts.
- In the dashboard, you can view channel metrics, which cover activity across your channels and posts.
- You can utilize the Content Performance dashboard or widget to view content metrics, which cover activity on your individual posts.
Will Social Media Management post without my permission?
No — you, or other users in your organization, will carry out all activity on your channel(s) while using Social Media Management. Social Media Management will not create any posts, promotions, comments, activity on your channel(s) without you having actioned or requested it first in the platform.
As an official partner with social networks, Brandwatch is able to carry out actions and index information from your social media channels using a combination of:
- The social network’s application programming interface (API)
- Your channel ID
- A unique access token created by a successful channel connection (i.e. authentication of your social account in our platform)
What is an API?
And API, or "application programming interface," is a mechanism that allows two different systems or platforms to communicate with each other — usually to define an action to be taken or to retrieve information. Brandwatch utilizes each social network’s API to take actions on your channel and gather insights on your behalf.
What is a channel ID?
Each social media account you connect to Social Media Management (i.e. "channel,") is identified by a unique ID. In many cases, it’s possible to view your channel’s ID natively on the social network. For example, please refer to this guide to finding your Facebook Page ID from Facebook's help center.
In Social Media Management, you can also find the channel ID of your connected channels in your Channel Admin settings.
While utilizing a social network’s API, it’s necessary for Brandwatch to clarify the channel on which posts are to be published, or information is to be pulled — this is where the channel ID comes in.
What is an access token?
An access token is a unique string of information which is provided to Brandwatch once you have successfully connected your channel and granted permission.
This token (provided by the social network) verifies that:
- You, or the user who connected the channel, have the ability to access the channel at an appropriate level (e.g. Admin access).
- You have granted Brandwatch access to perform select actions and access select information.
Once obtained, the token is securely stored and grants Brandwatch access to the requested information via the social network’s API securely and safely. Without an access token, it is impossible for third-party platforms to access information pertaining to your channel, besides a small amount of publicly available information.
For a more in-depth look at how access tokens work, please visit Facebook's help center.
While using Social Media Management, you may notice differing behavior for what you can achieve on one social network compared to another. For example, while creating a post in Publish, it’s possible to tag personal profiles in the text of an Instagram or X (Twitter) post, but not a Facebook or LinkedIn post. Similarly, in Measure, you can view performance statistics for posts published to a LinkedIn Company Page, but not a LinkedIn personal profile.
In most cases, such differences in access are due to API limitations. In other words, these actions are not yet possible to achieve because the social network doesn’t offer that functionality through its API. API limitations are in place for security to protect your data and prevent third-party platforms like Social Media Management from viewing certain information, taking certain actions, and reporting on certain content.
In our help center documentation, we typically note where API limitations are to be expected. However, please contact our Support Team for assistance in solving any issues you may be experiencing.
Understanding channel connections
Third-party platforms like Social Media Management utilize APIs to communicate with social networks and publish to your channels. Similarly, APIs are used to initiate a channel connection, or authenticate your social account with our platform.
Step 1: Initiating the channel connection process
Any Social Media Management user with a user role of Team Leader or Admin can connect channels in your organization's Channel Admin settings. (Please see our article on Connecting Channels for quick tutorial on general channel connection.)
Step 2: Verifying your access
During the channel connection process, you will be asked to log in securely and provide your authentication credentials to the social network, authorizing Brandwatch to access your account.
By authorizing access, Brandwatch will be able to check the social network’s API to request a list of channels you have available to connect. This process effectively verifies your status as an administrator of the account for security purposes.
Please keep in mind that both the login information requested and the level of access required for each social network may vary. For in-depth information on the authentication requirements for each network, please see our network-specific channel connection guides.
Step 3: Selecting channel(s) to connect
Provided you have successfully entered your login information and have the right level of access for the social account, the social network’s API will return a list of channels which are available for you to connect.
Next, you can select the Channel(s) you would like to connect and click Connect (1) Channel. Only the selected channels connected to your social account will be added to Social Media Management, though you can always add more later if needed.
For each channel that was connected, a unique access token will be created and stored, allowing Brandwatch to access the channel on your behalf via the network’s API.
Why did my channels not show up as options to connect?
If a channel did not appear as an option to connect, it means the social network’s API did not return it as a result. This error may suggest that the user associated with the login information entered does not have the appropriate access to the channel (e.g. Full Control access in the case of Facebook channels). We suggest visiting our network-specific channel connection guides to prepare for any authentication requirements or user permissions needed to connect channels for that network.
Planning for channel disconnections
Occasionally, Brandwatch may be unable to access your channel via the social network’s API, or an error with your channel connection may occur. To alert you of these issues, your channel will become disconnected in Social Media Management and your organization administrator will receive an email notification to reconnect your channel to the system.
Visit our article on Reconnecting Channels for quick instructions on how to manage your disconnected channels.
While Brandwatch is not able to control all channel disconnections, such as those due to API disruptions from the native network, you can take some troubleshooting steps to prevent disconnections arising from account authentication issues:
- Visit our network-specific channel connection guides for detailed instructions on the authentication requirements for each network.
- For Facebook and Instagram accounts, visit our article on Resolving Facebook and Instagram Account Disconnection, which covers special considerations and troubleshooting steps for Meta authentication.
If issues with your channel connections persist, please contact our Support Team for help diagnosing the issue.