Consumers of products and services are all over the internet and are using social media, forums, blogs, online communities, and websites to express their experiences, liking or hatred towards a brand. When a name of a company or the product name is mentioned in a social media post, or a blog, or any other form of content, this is referred to as brand mention.
But chances are that you are not aware of what consumers feel about your product because you are not monitoring the social media and other sources of brand mentions. Or even if you are monitoring social media, it could just be scrapping the surface of the huge ocean of social media.
Brand monitoring in simple terms means an effort by brands to know the feedback or an opinion about products and services directly from consumers, in addition to listening whoÔÇÖs saying what about your industry and competitors.
When business or brands start tracking brand mentions it can lead to collection of honest feedback, insights into what customers feel, opportunities to manage your brand reputation, and an understanding around how consumers interact with your brand's products or services.
Brands have understood that there is a great value in monitoring discussions about their products and services online. So how exactly do you start monitoring brand mentions?
Here are 7 Steps to set up the process of monitoring online brand mentions:
STEP 1: What Are You Going To Monitor?
Monitor your company name and key product names. Make a list of all names and keywords relating to your brand, topics relating to your industry, list of competitors, list of vendors and suppliers, hashtags that are popular with your brand, and even latest backlinks to your website.
But at times if your keywords are very common, you can end up with a lot of unwanted monitoring. Be careful to add specific keywords that relate to your brand. Also try to add filters that can weed out the noise in your monitoring stream. You can also block some sources when you do not want any alerts from that source. Finally take out time to refine your monitoring keywords and options based on your experience with the output.
STEP 2: Who Are Your Stakeholders?
This step is important since you will know who has a stake in your online reputation. Your stakeholders could be your customers, competitors, bloggers, investors, employees, journalists, and business partners.
Individuals or influencers who have a huge social media fan following can influence the social media audience to a great extent. Having them on your radar will let you know if they are talking about anything about your brand, industry or competitors.
If some bloggers or journalists write extensively on your competitors or your industry happenings, immediately add them to your monitoring list since you can keep continuous track on their writing and the comments people add after reading their articles.
It is critical to know whoÔÇÖs saying what about your brand and industry. It is equally important to know who is listening to these people. Hence keep all such important stakeholders under your radar in the process of brand monitoring.
STEP 3: What Are Your Goals?
At this stage you are clear on what to monitor and whom to monitor. And it is time to be clear on the goals of this exercise.
Brand monitoring can be done with specific goals in mind. For example when you have launched a new product, you can specifically launch brand monitoring to track the success of the launch.
You can also monitor brand mentions to specifically check out if there are any reputation attacks. Are there any mentions that specifically talk ill about your brand?
Your goal could also be to just listen to customer feedback and identify satisfied or unhappy customers. Brand can also identify the influencers in the industry to build rapport with them for their brand building.
And keeping an eye on competitors is just as important as any other social media marketing task. Hence the goal of brand monitoring can be to monitor the actions of your important competitors.
STEP 4: What are Your Specific Needs?
Here the questions relating to the sources, type of content, method of monitoring, type of tools, budget to be allocated, depth of analysis , etc. have to be specified.
Brainstorm and specify your needs clearly. With the vastness of social media and blogs and internet in total, it can be very cumbersome if you try to monitor the entire internet. You might not be able to get the most appropriate results. Therefore list down the sources that should be monitored. List down the social media channels that need to be monitored. If you are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. add these channels so that you donÔÇÖt miss out on the conversations happening here.
Decide on the type of analysis required. Do you want in-depth report containing insights and analysis on your brand mentions? Can you do it yourself? Or do you need an agency or a tool to perform the brand monitoring? How much budget are you willing to allocate towards tracking brand mentions?
With clarity around the above questions, you will be able to narrow down on the specific needs for your brand.
STEP 5: How Do You Want To Monitor Your Brand Mentions?
By this stage most of the steps relating to preparation is completed. Now it is time to think how to actually do it.
There are 3 ways in which you can do it.
- Manual monitoring: You can conduct a manual monitoring process by go through the social media pages of your brand, your competitors and other influencers in your domain. You can also browse through blogs and community forums to find if people are talking about your brand. But this can become very cumbersome since it requires huge time and effort from your side.
- Free monitoring tools: Basic monitoring can be performed using the free tools available in the market. Google alerts can help social media monitoring for beginners. It will help you to listen to conversations involving your brand and also your competitors.
- Paid monitoring tools: Paid tools offer broader monitoring features such as deep analysis and reports. Tools such as SocialClout and Hootsuite can be used by social media managers to track and monitor audience activities. For example Cloohawk can identify the posts that are performing well with your competitors. It also gives you a list of posts where the customers have posted negative comments regarding the products and services of your competitor. You can capture the moment and engage with the unhappy customers of your competitors to convert them into leads.
STEP 6: Who Will Monitor?
By this stage you have clarity on all aspects of monitoring your brand mention. And now you have to decide who is actually going to do the job of monitoring?
Monitoring needs to be conducted on a daily basis and hence needs to be assigned to a person who can do it responsibly.
You can assign it to an intern who can understand the social media well and hence will be able to understand the mechanism quite quickly. But only challenge is to make sure that the intern understands the goal of monitoring.
A social media manager might be a good fit since the person is focused on social media and also marketing, hence understands the need of monitoring brand mentions.
Another option is to assign it to a professional agency who is an expert in their business. But often they are not involved completely since they do not understand each customer.
STEP 7: How Will You React To The Brand Mentions?
This is the final stage of monitoring your brand mentions. Now that you have defined the keywords, channels, goals, people to monitor, budget, and monitoring tools, it is time to spend some time on the results derived from these actions.
Now you have found the content that talk about your brand, you have the list of customer reviews or complaints relating to your brand, you also will know how your competitors are being discussed on social media. Now it is important what you do with this data.
Listen to the brand mentions and understand what the pain point of your customers is? What are their complaints? What do they want to see in your product? What is making them like your competitor products better than yours?
With the help of these questions, go back and discuss with your team as to how many of these can be changed. Before you even promise or respond to the comments, make sure that you know what changes are possible.
This is an opportunity to make improvements to your products based on customer feedback. Hence try and implement as many changes as possible and convey to customers when the changes are completed. This will show that you are loyal to your customers and listening to their feedback.
Reputation is important, but when it comes to online reputation it is a factor that can make or break your business.
Building reputation is as good building the brand. It requires dedicated efforts over a long period of time where you need to constantly prove to your customers that they can lay their trust on your brand. This can be done only when you are regularly watching the feedback and comments from customers.
Brand monitoring is the answer to build and maintain a good brand name. When brand monitoring is done well, it will grow happier clients and build brand loyalty. It will help you to competitive advantage.