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.
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While using Social Media Management, you can connect Channels from any of the social networks mentioned below:
To find out more about which types of accounts, and how to connect them to the platform, you can find all guides available on the Help Center here.
Brandwatch is proud to be an official partner of all social networks mentioned above.
As an official partner, Brandwatch is 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 would consider Brandwatch a third-party platform between you and the above social networks.
As a third-party platform, some actions Brandwatch can take on your behalf include:
- Publishing and indexing posts
- Promoting posts
- Publishing and indexing conversations (e.g., comments and direct messages)
- Indexing performance metrics for your posts
- Indexing performance metrics for your Channel
- Search publicly available information, such as Twitter handles, geo-locations, published Pages etc.
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 API limitations below.
Below, you can see two examples which demonstrate how a third-party platform can interact with your connected Channels.
Example 1: publishing content
- In Social Media Management, you can design and edit a post in Publish.
- On the same post, you can select a date and time at which you would like the post to be published, then hit Schedule.
- 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 a pre-designed Dashboard for your Channels (or create your own).
- In the Dashboard, you can view Channel metrics (which cover activity across your Channels and all posts).
- You can view a Content Performance widget to view content metrics (which cover activity on your individual posts).
Will Social Media Management post without my permission?
No - It’s important to clarify that all activity on your Channel (such as publishing posts or replying to comments) is to be carried out by you, or other users in your organization, while using the Social Media Management platform. Social Media Management will not create posts, promotions, comments, or carry out any activity on your Channel without you having actioned it in the Social Media Management platform.
So how is this possible? As an official partner, Brandwatch is able to carry out actions and index information from your Channels using a combination of:
- The social network’s API.
- Your Channel ID.
- A unique access token created by a successful Channel connection.
What is an API?
API stands for application programming interface. APIs are mechanisms which allow two different systems/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.
You can find a more in-depth description of APIs and how they work here.
What is a Channel ID?
Each social media account (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, Facebook offers a guide to viewing your Page ID here.
In Social Media Management, you can also find the Channel ID of your connected Channels by following the Help Center guide here.
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, 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 access tokens and how they work, please check out the Facebook guide here.
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 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, this is because of API limitations - In other words, it’s not yet possible to achieve these actions because the social network doesn’t offer that functionality through its API. API limitations prevent third-party platforms like Social Media Management from viewing certain information, taking certain actions, and reporting on certain content.
In Social Media Management Help Center documentation, it is typically noted where API limitations are to be expected. However, if unsure, please contact our Support Team for help solving any issues you may be experiencing.
The information below describes how Channels become connected to Social Media Management using social network APIs. For detailed guides on the steps needed to connect your Channels, visit the list of articles here.
As mentioned above, 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.
Step 1: Initiating the Channel connection process
Any Social Media Management user with a user role of Team Leader or Admin can connect Channels. To get started, they can follow the steps below:
- Click your profile image from the bottom left.
- Click Settings.
- Under Channel Settings, click Channels.
- From the top right, click Add Channels.
- Under the applicable social network, click Connect.
Step 2: Verifying your access
Next, you will be asked to log in securely to the social network via a pop-up window, and authorize 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 - In other words, Channels which you have the ability to access at an appropriate level (e.g., Admin access).
Please bear in mind that both the login information requested and the level of access required for each social network may vary. You can find more information on each social network’s requirements from the following Help Center guides.
Step 3: Selecting Channel(s) to connect
Provided you have successfully entered your login information and you have the right level of access, 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 will be added to Social Media Management, though you can always add more later.
For each Channel connected, a unique access token will be created and stored, allowing Brandwatch to access the Channel on your behalf via the network’s API (described above).
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 may suggest that the user associated with the login information entered does not have the appropriate access to the Channel (e.g., Editor access vs. Admin access).
While Brandwatch is not able to change which results are returned from the social network’s API, many troubleshooting steps can be taken. If you have checked the Channel connection guides to verify that you have the correct access, please contact the Support Team for help diagnosing the issue.
For one of a few potential reasons, Brandwatch may eventually become unable to access your Channel via the social network’s API, or errors may be received. To alert you of these issues, your Channel will become disconnected.
Such disconnections cannot be controlled by Brandwatch. However, you can prevent disconnections by visiting the Help Center guide, 10 Tips for Keeping Your Channels Connected. In addition, should your Channel become disconnected you will receive an email in which you will be asked to reconnect the Channel, establishing a secure API connection again.