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by Andy Williams on 3rd April 2013
Social media has changed the way the world communicates. People can now quite openly talk about your brand online, on very public platforms. As a result, it’s important now more than ever that you should be monitoring your brand. Today, I’m going to go through some of the basic techniques of brand monitoring, and these are things that you should be doing right now to keep an eye on your brand online.
I’m going to start with the first section here, which is: What should you monitor? So as I’ve touched on there, social media has now become a bit of a game changer. People are now quite openly having conversations, and if they’re talking about your brand, that conversation is online for everybody to see.
The first thing that you should keep an eye on is negative comments. Not everyone has the greatest experience with companies that are out there. They might have had a late delivery that might have ticked them off. They could have had bad customer service from anyone. This is something that people genuinely seem to go online and discuss and talk about.
So it’s important that you actually get involved in these conversations. Keep an eye on what people are saying on these platforms. If they’ve got negative things to say, jump in. See if it’s something that you could resolve. You could actually turn a really bad experience into a really good experience.
Because these are really public platforms, your customer service is there for all to see. If you give really good customer service, everyone else can see that. So in a roundabout way you’re also going to be promoting yourself.
Hopefully, not everyone has got really bad things to say about you. There could be some fantastic positive comments as well. But you need to keep an eye on these just as much as you do the negative comments.
If people are openly pushing your brand or pushing your products and they’re really promoting you and they really love your brand, make sure you reach out to them. If you don’t reach out to them and make contact with them or give them some sort of acknowledgement, they will stop talking about you. Effectively these guys are what’s known as brand angels. They are people who will champion your brand.
It’s important that you find out who your big content drivers are as well. These are the people who will be pushing content from your site or maybe pushing your products or your services from your site. Again, you need to know who these guys are, because if they really love your brand, if you are looking to release a new product or a new service, these could be the guys that you then reach out to and ask for help in getting the word out there.
Another area that you should also look at is your competition. Now it may not necessarily be that they’re talking badly about your brand or your company. They might have some really good things to say. But it’s important you know exactly what they’re saying about you, because these are after all your competition. So you need to know what they’re talking about. So keep an eye on that.
You also want to keep an eye on your trademark as well. If there are any infringements on this trademark, you need to act on it. So you need to stay on top of that as well.
Another area that could be a really big issue for yourself as well is counterfeit sites. This still goes on. Why it still goes on no one really knows other than it’s damaging for brand reputation and brand names. The big thing that you really need to look out for here is an actual duplication of your site. In light of recent Google updates, you don’t want any duplications of your site out there because it could be damaging to you.
What phrases should you be monitoring as well? Well, obviously, you should be monitoring your brand name. Your actual brand name depends on how much time this is going to take up. If you’ve got a really generic brand name, something like Sky, Virgin, or Next, for example, then obviously that’s going to be harder to monitor because these are generic terms in their own right. they’re not specific to a brand. People could use the word “next” in a number of ways other than the shop. If you’ve got a brand name, say like eBay or Disney, these are very specific to the brand. If you’re going to be monitoring those as terms, you pretty much are going to find what people are talking about the actual brand as opposed to other generic terms. The less generic your brand name, the less time it’s going to take for you to do this.
Also keep an eye on common misspellings of your brand. Not everyone gets it right when they’re typing into Google. Not everyone gets it right when they’re typing in URLs. There are going to be misspellings of your brand. It’s important that you keep up to date with this, because this could be an important conversation going on about your brand that you need to address or you need to jump in on.
Again trademarks, keeping on that, make sure no one is infringing on your trademark agreement. Again, keep an eye on your competition. Make sure that they’re not saying anything about you that you need to jump in and say. If they are championing your brand, give them a heads up back.
Abbreviations are another really important one as well. People may well be abbreviating your brand without you realizing, and if this catches on and everyone starts to use that abbreviation, it’s important that you know about it so that you can then monitor it and you can keep an eye on it. It might well be that you then want to use that abbreviation. It might be something that’s really caught on.
Another thing that you want to keep an eye on as well is your team members’ names. Here at Koozai, we have every single team member write a blog post every month, and also we do these videos. A lot of people have become familiar with our names as opposed to just Koozai. If you’ve got a lot of people within your team who are working on behalf of your brand and promoting themselves out there, it could well be that people are actually searching for their names as opposed to your brand. Either way, they’re attached to your brand. It’s important that you know what people are saying about these guys.
What sort of sites should you monitor then? Well, the obvious one, of course, is social media, the likes of Facebook and Twitter and Google+. These are where the main conversations are going to be taking place. Because they’re quite open and they’re quite public platforms, these are very easy for you to then interact on. Keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand, and we’ll be going through some of the tools later on that will allow you to look at that a lot more easily.
Industry related blogs. Are people talking about you? Are people writing about your products? Have you recently released a new service or a product that someone might have reviewed? Review sites are another place that people might be talking about your brand.
Forums are another one as well. This is harder for you to jump in and address, but obviously if someone is having a big conversation about your brand and you need to interject, then get yourself a login, get involved, get in there.
Photos as well. If you’ve got an e-commerce site and you’ve got a lot of products on there, you’re obviously going to have a lot of images as well. Are people sharing these images when they’re writing about you or they’re talking about you? If they’re talking about you, is it good or is it bad,? Is it something, again, that you need to interject with?
Videos as well. If you’ve got videos on your site, again like the images, people may well be using them as part of a blog post or an article where they might be talking about you. Keep an eye on those kinds of sites as well, because they’re the main ones that people are probably going to be talking about you on.
Also it’s important not to forget Google Analytics when you’re doing your brand monitoring. Google Analytics allows you to have the ability to see what people are searching for when they come to your site. So providing you look at the right data, mainly the keywords that people are coming in on your site with, you can see if these are negative or positive. If you start to see a lot of negative terms that are bringing traffic into your site, then that’s obviously something you need to address. The type of terminology that’s being used will give you an indication as to what the problem might be.
You can also set up alerts within Google Analytics that will alert you when the traffic has either gone up or gone down. Has the traffic gone up because you’ve recently released a product or a new service? Has it gone down because you’ve had some bad press, or maybe the other people around you are doing more work online and that’s actually pushed you down the rankings? Either way, this gives you an indication of what’s going on with your brand. So it’s important that you keep an eye on that. Google Analytics is a really big player on that, and of course it’s a free tool and it just gives you that bit of information to see how people are interacting with your site and what sort of terms they’re using in order to come to your site and to find your site. So make sure you keep an eye on that.
These are some of the basic areas that we should be looking into when we’re looking to monitor our brand and to see what’s going on. But what are some of the tools that you can actually use to make this a lot easier?
Well, if we’re looking at social, which is going to be the main game player for this, we’re looking at things like HootSuite, TweetDeck, which is kind of being phased out but you can still use it within Chrome.
There’s also Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a really good tool, and again it’s free. All you need to do is set up an alert for your brand, so every time something goes live that’s in relation to your brand or uses your brand name, you’ll get an alert for this from an email. You’re able to instantly jump on that. You are instantly able to follow the link, and you can see exactly what is being said about your brand.
HootSuite allows you to then just filter out exactly what people are saying about you. You can set up columns that are specific to brands. As we touched on, it could be team members names. You can filter down the information as you want to see it. This will, again, keep you in touch with what people are saying about you in real time. That’s really, really important.
There are a couple of paid search tools that you should be using. BrandsEye and Brandwatch are really good as well for keeping an eye on your brand, especially the social side of things.
There are some of the tools that are going to help you carry out all of this work. There are obviously more in-depth and more advanced tactics that you can use. But I think if you start going with this, this will start to give you an idea of what people are saying about your brand. It will start to give you a heads up on exactly what’s going on online and what you should be addressing.
That should have helped you get started with brand monitoring. If you want more information on brand monitoring, you can download our whitepaper from our site. If you want any other information about SEO, pay per click, or brand protection, then check us out on some of our social profiles that are coming up after this video.