You worked hard to create your brand. You designed a logo, wrote a tagline, defined your audience and so much more. That’s why it’s so important to protect it and make sure it’s working for you, not against you. By monitoring what others are saying about you, you are able to collect valuable feedback that will help you adjust your brand in order to align its benefits perfectly with the needs of your audience.
Why monitor my reputation?
Your consumers’ opinions, thoughts and words can spread like wildfire, and people will listen. One bad review in the right place can lead to a hoard of angry picketers outside of your building wanting to stop your company in its tracks. Bad reviews are cancerous to your brand image.
Keeping tabs on what others are saying about you across social media platforms, on review sites, and offline will allow you to respond, nip issues in the bud and share wins. If left unchecked, a whole world of conversations will exist behind your back, good or bad, that you won’t be able to harness or learn from. The most successful companies are those that know what their customers are saying about them and react in a smart, effective way.
What tools are available?
There are a plethora of tools available to help you monitor you reputation in an easy, effective way. The three main areas to watch are social media sites, review sites and offline communication channels.
Social Media Sites
Because there are so many social platforms out there, finding a tool that allows you to monitor, compare and react to all of your networks from one simple dashboard will save you time and money. Creating alerts to notify you when your brand is mentioned and receiving weekly or monthly status reports is a low-cost, efficient way to analyze the effectiveness of your brand.
Top 5 social media monitoring tools:
- Google Alerts
Set up alerts for any important search terms, such as your company, brand name, executives’ names or competitors, to receive real-time notifications when that keyword is mentioned across social media, blogs, news, forums or web pages. This will help you not only keep an eye on your brand, but your competitors’ as well. The best part? It’s completely free.
Receive an overview of your brand, keep an eye on recent industry developments across a variety of platforms and see how your brand
reputation compares to that of your competitors’.
- Social Mention
Monitor multiple websites in one place and find out which keywords people use when talking about your company. It also displays information about your brand strength, the sentiment towards it, whether people are talking about your company repeatedly and your reach.
Get notifications when your brand is mentioned, track conversations that happen around your brand and compare those metrics with your internal data to create a comprehensive view of your brand.
Track your social media presence and manage your online reputation by looking at how your audience is responding to your messaging and branding efforts.
A huge percentage of consumers base purchasing decisions on reviews they read online every day. Sometimes consumers avoid a certain brand because it has poor reviews, or worse – no reviews at all. If your company doesn’t have any reviews online, then it may not be seen as a trusted or quality business. Start encouraging reviews by creating accounts on the more popular sites and asking past customers to write a couple for you. Once they start flowing, the benefits are twofold: you’ll get a good grasp of what your customers are thinking, and you’ll (hopefully) become a brand that future customers can trust.
Top 5 review monitoring tools:
Yelp is the best place to find the finest local businesses
and professionals. Almost half (44%) of patients seeking online
advice trust the reviews found here.
- Healthgrades Receive information about 3 million+ physicians, hospitals, and healthcare providers. About 43% of patients looking for a new doctor or treatment program come here first.
- Vitals This site allows patients to find and review doctors from across the country, including therapists, psychologists, and specialists.
Reach millions of patients, attract new patients and offer current patients premium services, like online
booking, all through one website.
- Ripoff Report
Monitor scams that are happening across the world to know whether your competitors are being called out for fraud and ensure that your brand isn’t.
Offline Communication Channels
Possibly the most important messaging that occurs is when one of your customers endorses or opposes your brand to their frieds and family. Personal recommendations are the most powerful motivators because they come from a trusted source who cares, not just some stranger on the internet. Monitoring offline interactions is much more challenging and time intensive, but if you do it right, it will pay off in a big way.
Top 5 offline monitoring tools:
- Word of mouth
Personal reviews, recommendations and complaints are a lot more powerful when they come directly from a trusted source. People listen to others’ opinions and will react to them more strongly than any advertisement you could create.
- Satisfied customers
It is vital that you deliver on the promise that you made while developing your brand – under-promising and over-delivering will lead to happy, satisfied customers that will return in the future.
- Surveys, polls, and comment cards Collecting tangible feedback is a concrete way to know exactly what your customers are thinking about your company. It can be as simple as a couple yes or no questions, or as complex as an essay. A highly detailed review will likely only be completed by a few customers, though, so you’ll have to decide whether quantity or quality will be more effective.
- Repeat customers
When a customer returns to your store or office because they were satisfied with your business and would like to work with you again, they are a testament that you are doing something right. They may even be spreading the
word about your company to their social networks.
- Focus groups
Sitting down with a group of potential customers and asking them about their thoughts and feelings in regards to your brand will provide you with real, honest and deep feedback that you can’t get in any other situation. You’re able to learn what is working, what isn’t working and whether they are even the correct target audience.
Where do I go from here?
Starting out on a new monitoring plan can be intimidating. There are so many websites, tools and channels, finding the perfect fit that encapsulates each one of your needs can be difficult. Try starting out small – choose one social media management tool and one review monitoring tool to identify when anyone mentions your brand. Once you get the hang of those, you’ll be able to better analyze what holes need filling in and how. You worked hard to get to this point, don’t stop now.