4 Tools/Techniques to Help You Monitor Your Brand
So what are people saying about your brand in the social sphere? Do you know? Have you researched and listened to what is being said? If you have not, do not worry…it’s not too late to get started. Start today. But, before you get started, let’s talk about a few things to consider helping you monitor your brand with ease.
First thing’s first, know what keywords you are going to research. Will you merely start with your brand, product and service, or will you look for other words often associated with your brand? A good place to find how people know and speak of your brand is to look at the keywords and phrases they use to find your website. You can find these metrics in the analytics package you are using with your website. If you are not using an analytics package like Google Analytics, Webtrends, GetClicky, or etc. then brainstorm keywords and phrases that you may have heard clients/customers use in discussions you have held with them. Wherever you turn to research your brand monitoring keywords, be sure to write them down or type them up!
Secondly, decide where you want to monitor your brand. Do you want to research what is being said in every far corner of the internet to start, or does it make more sense to start with a few select arenas in the social sphere? Maybe it makes the most sense to start with only Facebook and Twitter, or perhaps only blogs. Only you know what you are capable of comfortably adding to your current workload.
Third, prepare yourself, manage your expectations and determine how and if you will respond to what is being said about your brand. Not everything you monitor about your brand online will be positive or neutral, with these two also comes the negative. Negative feedback, like positive can be good. Negative feedback often motivates innovation in product and service development and improvement. If your brand is being talked about in the social sphere and you brand/business has a presence in the space where the discussion and conversations are taking place, will you get involved?
Finally, in addition the three previous considerations, you will need to decide what tools you will put in your brand monitoring toolbox. There are a myriad of tools to choose from! There are websites, applications, software, email alerts galore! That’s just to name a few. We are going to take a look at a snap shot of brand monitoring tools.
The first tool we are going to examine is actually an email alert system from Google. You can sign up for Google Alerts () quickly, easily and relatively painlessly! Using those keywords and phrases from your preliminary research you can elect to have any instance of those keywords and phrases in combination with your brand, product and service as Google finds them online sent straight to your inbox. For example, Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) is a regional airport located in Central Pennsylvania. HIA knows that our brand is often primary searched for and referred to as “Harrisburg Airport,” “HIA airport” and “MDT airport” So I am signed up to receive Google Alerts for not only our full company name, but also the three keyword phrases listed.
Any time Google indexes any mention in search results of the four alerts I am signed up for, I receive an email notification in my inbox. The notification is a direct hyperlink to the article, website, blog, product review, etc wherein the keyword or phrase appeared. I can click on the link and be taken directly to the location of the brand mention.
By receiving the email alerts you set up with Google Alerts you will be able to have access to brand and keyword/phrases mentions as soon as they are indexed by Google in search results.
An additional tool in HIA’s brand monitoring toolbox is SocialMention. We use this website to search across the social sphere to see what’s being said about not only our brand, but out competitors well. SocialMention can be accessed directly from the tool’s website or you can download the widget and add it to your website to have a convenient access to buzz about your brand right from your blog, corporate site, etc. Or, also available is the search plugin which allows you to select SocialMention from within your browser’s search options.
HIA uses SocialMention for monitoring conversations about our brand on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, in blogs, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr and more. It is straight forward to use. Simply type the brand, product, service name or keywords/phrase into the search field, select where you would like to search the social sphere for the search term(s) you have entered and click the search button.
Earlier we discussed what breadth and depth of the web you wanted to monitor your brand. SocialMention provides to the ability to be as narrow or as broad in your brand monitoring as you would like. HIA makes a habit of searching all of the search categories, but if you are limited on time and resources, narrowing your search breadth and depth may be a good place to start.
SocialMention will return to you, based on your search criteria, all of the mentions of your brand or keyword/phrase across the web. Within the search results you will be provided with a number of statistics, not just the instances of brand/keyword mentions. Based upon SocialMention’s search metrics they will provide you sentiment ratings, top keywords used in conjunction with your brand, top users (those mentioning it the most) of your brand name, strength, passion, reach and more. While these provided metrics are not completely scientific they are a good reference point for understanding the nature of the types of conversations and comments surrounding your brand.
Within SocialMention’s search results you click the links and are taken to exactly where your brand mention occurred on the web. This facilitates direct response to the person or party mentioning your brand or keyword/phrase.
When it comes to narrowing down where we are monitoring our brand, for example, on Twitter, HIA turns to Tweetdeck for assistance. Tweetdeck is referred to as a dashboard, as it offers you a simple way to view multiple conversations and searches from one location and not multiple browser windows. HIA uses the Tweetdeck dashboard in multiple locations: laptop, desktop, smartphone and tablet.
Tweetdeck is a multifunction tool. It allows you to save Twitter keyword searches, hashtag searches, monitor your Twitter followers tweets, Twitter lists, @ replies, as well as permitting you to tweet from your account(s) too. You are not just limited to tweeting with Tweetdeck, you can also update Facebook profiles and LinkedIn accounts.
The power of Tweetdeck (and similar types of dashboards: HootSuite, CoTweet, Seesmic, etc) is the ability to see tweets (conversations, comments, feedback) regarding your brand and keyword/phrases in real-time. You can monitor your brand mentions as they happen and respond just as quickly too!
Harrisburg International Airport uses Technorati to monitor the blogosphere for what bloggers are posting about our brand. Technorati is an online tool that searches a blog directory of nearly 1.3 million blogs for all mentions of the brand or keyword/phrases that you enter in the search field.
When the search results are compiled you have a listing of posts for perusal to again determine what kinds of product and service reviews, comments, feedbacks, stories and more are being shared regarding your brand. Using Technorati for monitoring your brand via blogs allows you to post comments and feedback on the blog posts. Yet another tool that permits you to join in the conversation about your brand.
The search results you garner from Technorati blog searches can be a powerful tool in finding and building a network of blogger brand ambassadors. When you find your brand mentioned in a blog post, take the time to read it, and comment. If questions are raised about your brand, product or service in the comments on a blog post, feel free to answer the questions. Many bloggers who take the time to write about your brand will welcome your participation in the comments/conversation. Use these opportunities for involvement to build your network of brand ambassadors, as often these folks are some of your biggest fans and advocates!
The four FREE tools outlined are small sampling of what is available for brand monitoring. There are innumerable options both free and paid services. HIA has demoed a number of the paid services (JitterJam, Vocus, Radian6, and Hubspot) and found them to be expansive in their reporting and capabilities as monitoring tools. When deciding which monitoring tools are best for your brand’s needs, take into account all of the considerations we discussed: what are you monitoring, where you are monitoring, how you are monitoring and the why you are monitoring. These considerations will help you plan for and hopefully succeed in brand monitoring and give you a roadmap for how and where to participate in the conversations about your brand in the social sphere.
What tools have you considered for brand monitoring? Are you currently engaged in brand monitoring? Is it helping you have a better understanding of how people perceive your brand, products or services?