Before the prevalence of the Internet, businesses didn’t always know what their customers thought of them unless they used focus groups or a drop in sales. Now, our customers are rushing online, and are telling everyone what they think of our business, good or bad. Everything we need to know about how our customers view us is available. We just need to find it, read it, and respond.
A few praises or a complaints could just as easily turn to future praise or to future fury, depending upon how we handle it. Do our customers love us or hate us? Do they have suggestions?
Brand monitoring is where those questions are answered.
Why You Need To Monitor
Monitoring a brand shows us several things:
- Where we’re doing a good job.
- Where we need to improve.
- Who our audience and customer base is.
- What our customers need and want.
- Where we need some damage control.
Knowing these things helps us build and protect our brand’s reputation.
Who Should Monitor
If we’re open for business, the best time to start monitoring is now. And, since it is our brand, we’re the most qualified to do it. It might be tempting to outsource brand monitoring, but there is value to doing it ourselves. That first-hand interaction with customers gives us a clear picture of where change needs to happen. And, most importantly, the voice our customers hear responding to them is authentic.
What To Monitor
There are no shortage of places where conversation is happening online, but having a presence on Twitter and Facebook is a must since much discussion happens on these two social networks. We should also watch our blogs and do regular online searches to see what customers are saying elsewhere. When performing a search on a social network or online, we should watch for mentions of our brand, our products, and our services. Any mention is worth looking into, even if only to respond back with a “thanks for mentioning us!”.
How To Monitor Your Brand
Monitoring is about responding. Whether it’s a direct question, a complaint, or praise, a response is necessary. An ugly situation can be redeemed just be responding and letting our customers know we’re real people who care.
Every extra Facebook or Twitter account, and every new Internet search, adds another level of complexity to the monitoring process. Finding a way to stay on top of it all is necessary. There are several tools available online that can help us simplify this process. Using TodayLaunch as that tool, we’ll learn that monitoring doesn’t have to be difficult.
Monitoring On Twitter
For each of our Twitter accounts, we need to pay specific attention to each @MyAccount mention, since that will include both direct communication (replies) and mentions specifically directed to us. When customers use these, they are definitely expecting a response from us.
People use #hashtags before keywords and phrases to categorize their Tweets, and make them easily searchable by other users. We want to know of any mentions of our brand that use hashtags. We might also later watch for hashtags if we realize our customers are using some that we hadn’t thought of, or if our brand is part of a trending topic that has a specific hashtag.
In TodayLaunch, we can set up all of our multiple Twitter accounts as well as these specific #hashtags and @replies so that we don’t miss any mention on the Twitter network.
Monitoring On Facebook
Conversation on Facebook happens a bit more like a traditional blog comments section.
Fans can indicate that they like a post or the comment of another fan, or they can jump into the conversation and share a variety of content. We need to get involved in the conversations we start as well as those our fans start. They might mention us in a positive or negative way in their own account, where all of their friends can see, and we might not always have access to that. Responding to any mention we have access to is very important, and keeping conversation alive on our own page where we always have access is a good way to do that.
Many brands have multiple Facebook Pages to manage. Within one brand, different products, branches, or services are often given their own Facebook Page. Facebook lets you jump between pages we’re administrator of in order to manage each page separately. Using a tool like TodayLaunch, though, makes it easy to manage all of them from one location.
Facebook also offers users the ability to search their site, and specify where the search should take place. While we can’t find out what people say about our brand if it’s hidden behind privacy settings, anything that fits our search that is public will come up. Simply enter your search term, select where the search should happen, and then see the results.
Monitoring With Online Searches
Google Alerts are a great way to keep tabs on any mention of our brand online. Some conversations aren’t happening on traditional social networks. They’re happening on blogs, websites, and in news stories.
We’ll want to set up a search on the obvious things, such as our brand name and product names. We might also want to consider derivatives, or ways customers refer to our brand or products. Google Alerts let us set these searches, and then specify how and when we want the results to arrive. They can be sent to our inbox, or can be sent to an RSS reader. Keep in mind that each search is a new Google Alert, with its own separate email or feed to manage.
Using a tool like TodayLaunch lets us keep this broad-search monitoring in the same place as our other methods, avoids multiple emails for every search term, and offers repeated updates through the day.
Monitor On Your Blog
It goes without saying (hopefully) that we need to respond to comments on our blog in most situations. Customers often turn to blogs for support or complaints because they don’t know where else to go. A busy blog comment section can be difficult to stay on top of, so using the blogging software to alert us to each new comment is a must. Tools like TodayLaunch will integrate the ability to monitor WordPress blogs within the same interface.
Having a system and plan in place to learn what people are saying about our brand online is wise, and finding the best tools to help us accomplish this task easily means we’ll do a better job of it.
In TodayLaunch, the key thing to remember is “one monitor, many searches.”
- Instead of setting up a monitor for each search, think in terms of topics. (i.e. Monitor = topic)
- Set up many searches within each topic.
- Each monitor can handle several kinds of searches, and can handle any number of searches of each kind. Your Monitor can include Twitter searches, RSS feeds, blog searches, and news searches.