Monitoring your brand online

Track the open web with Google Alerts

One way to ensure you are aware of mentions of you or your brand is to set up a Google Alert.

This tool has been around for some time, but many are still yet to adopt it, or leverage it correctly.

Visit Google alerts and you can use Google to monitor for news about your brand or industry. To ensure the results are relevant enter your search term  (the brand name or industry terms you’d like to see information for) and click show options.

You can select how often you whish to receive the alerts, “as-it-happens” or  a weekly digest. I find the as-it-happens setting ideal for responding to mentions in the news and gives me a chance to respond with immediacy, thanking the author for the mention.

From there you can choose “only the best results” and limit the country results to your country of interest. This is helpful for neighborhoods that take their name from the United Kingdom or other locations in the old world. There are a number of areas called Canterbury around the world, for example.

Build your brand and interact with your industry

One novel ways to use Google Alerts is for mentions of key themes that you wish to create content around, or be considered a thought leader for.

I have filters set up to monitor for specific exact terms that I use to inform me of movements in the industry . You could do the same, for example to monitor the green construction industry, with a search like: “SIPS” or “passive house” or “Blower door” or “airtight construction” .

Limit the results to your country and you will very quickly find those that are outspoken online in the industry and potentially the local online influencers. Cross referencing their social media profiles with a tool like Klout and you can have a basic understanding of their influence online, or at least you will know if many people find the content they share relevant.

You can then effectively surround yourself with online experts, build your knowledge and inform yourself to create interesting content that we know resonates with the industry.

A video introduction to Google Alerts

A few other searches you could try are:

  • competitor’s brand mentions – keep an eye on their activities
  • legislative terms for your industry – be the first to comment on a law change
  • misspelt brand terms – this is handy if you have a brand that’s hard to spell
  • negative industry terms – just to keep an eye on potential acquisition opportunities
  • unhappy customer terms – you can then use social selling techniques to introduce your brand
  • some fun terms to receive jokes or fun videos clips on a Friday.

Monitoring blog mentions and Twitter

Google may not catch all mentions of your brand and obviously doesn’t index closed social network posts or dark social media (Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Wechat for example).

Socialmention.com is a great free tool that provides a pretty accurate record of blog and Twitter mentions. They have a daily email alert service that you can subscribe to,or an RSS  feed that you can use to monitor your mentions.

Socialmention also provides some breakdown of popular hashtags associated with the posts and a register of the top profiles that have mentioned the term by frequency.

Again you could leverage this for industry insights and share relevant content with your audience.

Hopefully these tools can improve your interactions with customers and industry peers. I’d love to hear of any other tools people have used successfully.

Are you listening brands? Really listening?

Customers are communicating. are we listening?

As marketing makes a slow progression from campaign based messaging to constant engagement in social media via mobile devices – we need to revisit our communication techniques.

Social is bringing us back to one-to-one communcation. People can now talk to people as faces of a brand. We can get resolution and great customer service from a mere tweet. Heck even two years ago Four Season Palo Alto set the bar for customer service on social media and (some) brands have kicked it up a level from there already.

And maybe they are being selective – responding to customers based on their status/connections/influence – but they’re listening and responding.

Monitor you brand mentions for free, at least!

Google alerts are a great first step for any brand to monitor brand mentions and what people are saying. socialmention.com lets you take it a little further and can also give you sentiment analysis. Get Agile! These alerts can give you a window on potentially sensitive news, disgruntled clients and maybe opportunities to take advantage of in your sector. News jacking when done right is highly effective.

Yet anyone who has featured on Interbrands top brands list or has thousands of engaged fans on Facebook MUST start thinking about Radian 6, Brandwatch, SM2 (more info on social media monitoring) or Sysomos. Tools that index and record every mention and can filter share of voice on topics and rank influencers. With these tools you can also build out a picture and backlog of issues, pain points, problems and hopefully delights your customers are mentioning. Understanding and prioritising these for action in terms of research and development is the goal of many big data buffs.

For us as marketers

  • we have feedback on our messages
  • we have topics for blogging
  • we can mitigate issues and educate the confused
  • we have data to support our strategy and formulate tactics

Listening to comments online ensures content marketing resonates.

Providing content, entertainment, news, information and services that have percieved value to our customers will keep them engaged and build their afinity with our brands. We’re becoming their favorite TV show or news source but instead of just broadcasting we can listen and make an informed response.

Bloomberg thinks ‘Jeff Bezos Can Make Newspapers Profitable’ – http://bloom.bg/197BN1Y
My take is that this is an aquire-hire. He’s gearing up for the future and brand journalism. Jeff knows we want more from our brands than their product or service.

Content marketing can also build a valuable resource of information on getting the most out of our products and services. Amassing a wealth of valuable information on a variety of topics means potential clients will find you first on Google. It promotes self service and lowers the dreaded reliance on automated phone customer services. “Press one, if you’re already more irate hearing this message”. Although they’re ‘recorded for training purposes’ I CAN’T GOOGLE THEM!

But getting back to listening, we need to find the correct balance between one-to-one responses and providing value to as many customers as possible.

We can prioritise a backlog and calendar of maketing communications. One that addresses them at each stage of the customer journey and their hottest topics. Continuous communication that ultimately adds value to our customers, stakeholders, partners and community.