We’ve all been there. You’re having a great time at a social event until you realize, to your horror, you’re stuck in the corner having a conversation with that guy…the guy who talks incessantly about himself and admires the sound of his own voice. His shameless self-promotion is almost (but not quite) as irritating as his ability to stonewall you into silence the moment you try to interject.
Do not, under any circumstances, let that guy near your brand.
Monitoring your brand online is paramount to the success of your business’s marketing strategy and potential growth. But vigilant monitoring hinges on one’s ability to listen, not add to the noise. Listening is key.
Why Monitoring Matters
Social media and the Internet provide you with a gateway into the minds of existing and potential customers, industry thought leaders and your competitors. They’re all talking, and they’ll continue to talk, whether or not you’re listening.
If you choose to listen, this is what you may hear:
- Insights about your brand
- Discussions about trending topics in your industry
- Perspectives about competing brands
You can use this information to:
- Optimize your service offerings to meet the continuously changing needs of consumers
- Detect industry trends to take a proactive approach in developing new strategies
- Capitalize on the gaps in your competitors’ service to win new business
Listening is the first step to monitoring your brand. The next step, and perhaps equally as important, is determining when it’s appropriate to join in the conversation.
Maybe you remember the Domino’s YouTube video disaster from 2009. Two Domino’s employees posted a repulsive video in which a worker defiles ingredients during food preparation. Domino’s learned of the video and fired the employees responsible, but they decided not to act aggressively in hopes that the situation would settle itself quietly.
Within a mere 36 hours, the video—containing an employee sticking cheese up his nose before placing it on a sandwich—went viral via outlets like Twitter. Customers were outraged, repulsed and vowed to never order from Domino’s again. As the New York Times said, “Social media has the reach and speed to turn tiny incidents into marketing crises.”
The company removed the video and issued a statement of apology, but the damage was done: consumer ratings plummeted.
Domino’s brand equity was severely damaged because of one YouTube video and the company’s decision to remain silent. During this PR nightmare, Domino’s finally set up a Twitter account in an effort to connect with customers and rebuild trust.
This is a compelling, albeit unfortunate, example other businesses can learn from. Domino’s missed multiple opportunities to listen and react, thus causing near irreparable damage to their brand.
Tools of the Trade
There are a number of Internet and social media aggregators that make monitoring your brand a scalable task. Their purpose is to track definable terms (i.e. keywords) as they appear on the web, giving you the opportunity to provide quick, appropriate responses to what’s being said about our brand.
Here are four of the most powerful monitoring tools.
Google Alerts is widely known as one of the best free tools for monitoring web content. Simply enter a search term, set a few preferences, and you’ll be notified via email any time Google indexes content containing your keywords.
Similar to Google Alerts, except designed specifically for social media, Social Mention is a free search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from outlets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg and FriendFeed, to name a few. You can further target your analyses by monitoring blogs, videos and even bookmarks. When any of your keywords are mentioned across these platforms, you’ll be notified via email.
Addictomatic is another monitoring tool that is relatively simple to use. Just enter a keyword to generate a page that lists any mentions of your keyword across the Internet. After your search, personalize the results dashboard and then bookmark the page, which allows you to easily refer back to it anytime.
HootSuite is a robust social media management tool connecting you to multiple social media platforms from one location. It’s also uniquely structured to track conversations across all of these networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, WordPress and FourSqaure. By using the Keyword Tracking tool, you can maintain a running list of user-generated, keyword-specific content across each platform.
Even with these tools, monitoring your online brand is no simple task. It’s often difficult to determine when to engage in a conversation and which monitoring tools will best meet the needs of your business.
To learn more about monitoring your brand, take our Internet Marketing Implementation course.