Monitoring your brand is an essential part of marketing & should be a key piece of your business strategy. But what happens in times of uncertainty? How can you monitor (& how do you respond to) what’s being said about you online during a crisis?
What is Brand Monitoring?
Brand monitoring is the process of tracking what’s being said about you & your business through various channels. These channels include review sites, industry blogs, and even social media (though the monitoring of social networks exclusively is called Social Listening).
At its core, brand monitoring gives companies the opportunity to observe the thoughts and feelings of prospects & customers, even when they aren’t directly mentioning them.
How to Navigate in Uncertainty
When faced with uncertainty there is a tendency for businesses to hold back and/or retreat. This is the opposite of what should be happening. In times of crisis, whether internal or external, increase reputation management to the max!
Now is the time for you to show up, have a voice, provide value, and let your fans, followers, and customers know that you care. This year, more than ever, businesses are in need of a wake-up call when it comes to how we handle current events.
Don’t Panic – Regardless of what’s going on your goal *as a brand* is to remain calm in all client or customer-facing situations. Believe it or not, stress is highly noticeable, even online, so you want to make sure you’ve got your game-face on no matter what.
Read the Room – Brand monitoring is one of the most powerful assets your business can possess. When you know how people are reacting, you can adjust your tone accordingly. Before you do anything you need to take a deep breath, step back, and listen.
Step up Your Monitoring Tools – In a general sense, you want to always track the following:
- Business name as well as any variations or abbreviations of it.
- Branded keywords including product names, geo-specific phrases & hashtags.
- Industry trends & phrases are important even if they’re not directly tied to your business.
- Public figures such as c-level executives or brand ambassadors.
- Inbound links from anywhere on the web.
But in a crisis, you also want to be sure to track keywords and phrases related to current events and your industry. Stay up-to-date on news relating to your business & also news in general.
Open Communication – The entire point of monitoring your brand online is not just to see what people are saying about you, but to respond to it. Make sure you’re reaching out, as professionally as possible, if you see an issue starting to arise.
Be open. Be honest. Show you care.
Keep Checking In – As news shifts, so should you. Revisit the steps above as often as needed for optimal brand monitoring & reputation management.
Adjust Your Strategy
Sometimes, uncertainty can become so overwhelming that businesses shut down completely. This is a mistake. Often, the biggest opportunities come in times of crisis.
Take time to find ways you can adjust your strategy around what is happening. Adjust your messaging to be more sympathetic to what your audience is experiencing.
It’s normal to be worried about your brand’s social presence, wondering what, if anything, you should say. A blog from Your Social Team sums it up perfectly:
“Of course it’s okay to mention [the crisis], it doesn’t need to be the elephant in the room. But make sure you do not add to the noise, or worse, help spread misinformation. Leave updates to the authorities and journalists.”Your Social Team
Don’t ignore what’s happening, but don’t let it consume your social pages, either.
Perhaps you’ve begun to generate leads online but are unsure of what to say during this time. Now is your time to show you care and deliver value.
Consider investing in Marketing Automation which helps create the right conversations at the right time for your different audiences. It can be a great way to stay connected, share updates, or deliver value through your knowledge, products, and services.
The goal of marketing automation is to help you nurture leads into sales, but it can also help you retain your current clients through smart and thoughtful communications.
Tools for Brand Listening
Once you’ve decided to step up your social listening game there are a few tools you’ll need in your arsenal.
- Google Alerts – a content monitoring service that allows you to get alerts for your business sent directly to your email.
- Zapier – Zapier has many incredible benefits but one of the coolest is the ability to monitor brand mentions on Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube, just to name a few.
- Ahrefs – If you’re serious about monitoring inbound links then you’ll need Ahrefs, a high-powered SEO tool that tracks mentions throughout the web.
- Hootsuite – More of an asset for social listening, Hootsuite allows users to set up different channels for social media tracking including hashtags & mentions.
And of course, having a digital marketing partner can also help. At Smart Girl Digital, we can provide you with the tools you need for brand monitoring & the guidance you need in a crisis. To get your business back on track, schedule a free discovery call today!