Time and money are often cited as the most important resources in business. That may be true to get the ball rolling, but they’re meaningless when your brand suffers from poor public reception.
Do you really know how your brand is perceived? If you don’t practice brand monitoring with religious devotion, the answer is most likely no.
Do yourself a favor then and get going. The sooner you start brand monitoring the sooner you’ll be able to improve your public and professional standing as a company.
What is brand monitoring?
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We’ve all experienced brand monitoring in our personal lives. It’s knowing how you’re perceived in your workplace, your university, your friend group. What people think of us matters the world when we’re trying to get ahead personally or creatively or simply in trying to find friendship and love. We all know how difficult life is when people think ill of us.
The same applies to brands. Brand health is the public capital, which determines both visibility and sales numbers. It’s why brand monitoring is so important and effective. It means we have to keep our eyes open to every possible mention across every possible media. Through it, you create an accurate perception of your brand. Then it’s a matter of how to act!
Brand monitoring vs. Social media listening. What are the differences?
Brand monitoring is the all-encompassing data collection. It’s about constant vigilance. Leaving no digital stone unturned. Setting your gaze upon even the most distant corners of the Internet and noting every single mention of your brand name. It’s also paying attention to mentions in print, on radio and television.
Social media listening on the other hand focuses on data gathered through social media and other online spaces like forums and review sites, and what it means. It’s the analysis of all individuals mentions and interactions that matters. After arriving at the right conclusion, social media listening is interested in how to use that information for the brand’s advantage.
How can brand monitoring help your business?
Maintain good reputation
Reputation is everything. It bears repeating. No brand can survive, if their reputation has been torn to shreds. Just ask Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which had a rough start to 2021 thanks to its indelicate way of handling the discovery of shrimp tails in a box of cereals. That’s not even the biggest PR disaster to happen in the year. But it shows how important brand reputation is and continuous brand monitoring ensures your reputation is cemented. Wendy’s is perhaps the finest example of how a company can tap into current Internet culture to secure its position among Gen Z.
There are multiple tools available to companies from Awario to Sprout Social. But smaller brands can turn to RSS feed readers as a great way to get results at a smaller cost. Readers like Inoreader can track Google Alerts and provide users with a wealth of content through its discovery feature, so you can search through their databases. Add to your subscriptions effortlessly through Chrome extensions.
Analyze and engage your customers
Having people talk about you is good. Knowing how and why is better. Brand monitoring equips you with the right mindset and approach to understanding your audience. You need to look beyond your social mentions to figure out brand sentiment. That’s why you need a really strong keyword research by your side and the right tool for monitoring. Hootsuite is one of the best ones out there.
Keep a close eye on engagement levels and the general sentiment. When either or both suddenly dip abruptly, then you’re doing something wrong. This can be a slight problem as changing up your content strategy and messaging or as serious as a full blown PR crisis. Ideally, you want to have consistently high and/or improving brand sentiment.
Whatever the case, remember this – always, always, always take the time to respond to praise and complaints. Customers want to be seen, heard and serviced.
Competitors are the spice of life. Brands are at their most creative and innovative when they’ve got a strong competitor to push them. Fighting for that top spot in whatever you do takes time and ingenuity when you face worthy opponents. That’s why competitor analysis is foundational to the success of any marketing strategy and the health of your brand.
Consider your competitors as a litmus test for campaigns, messaging and customer interaction. If a competitor wins, learn what are the components of their victory and how you can learn and adapt. If a competitor loses, identify what led to their failure and what you can draw as a conclusion to avoid. Seize the moment to step up and outshine them.
Of course, competitors are also benchmarks. See how you measure up through analytical tools and what performance markers you need to hit in order to move forward. Mediatoolkit is a good choice for the share of voice between you and your competitors.
Create more relevant content
Content is king. Brands are built upon quality content.
You can’t generate engagement without generating content. But what content is the right content? That’s the question. There are two schools of thought on best approaches.
One – use your insight into customer behavior, habits and interests in order to create useful content that solves their needs. These could be anything from a fun infographic to tutorials a la Hubspot.
Two – use your customer base as content generators and share what they create for your brand. Did you perhaps inspire a fun meme, gif or artwork? Some companies might be too serious to be on board, but you should consider sharing and having fun with it. Your audience will love you for it. Another way would be to ask your customers to take pictures with your product, which you then share on your socials. This works particularly well on Instagram. If you can get a trend on TikTok going, even better!