Let’s start with what is pretty much a given. People are talking about your brand online whether you are monitoring (and listening) to these mentions or not.

If your company has a social media presence (and you’d have to dig pretty deep to find a brand without one) you will need to be actively monitoring direct and indirect mentions that are relevant to your business.

Monitoring mentions on social networks, blogs, forums, review sites, online news sites and beyond is critical to the success of your online marketing efforts.

Consumers are sharing positive experiences and opinions on social media. They are sharing negative experiences and complaints. They may tag your brand to direct a comment. They may not bother. They are reading and sharing your content and engaging with your campaigns.

Influencers are busy sharing your content, swaying buying decisions and shaping what people think about your brand. Journalists are writing up stories about your business (good and bad).

If you are not bothering to monitor these mentions or you’re doing it half-heartedly, then you really are missing out on invaluable data and insight. Brand monitoring is the cornerstone of effective digital marketing – including your content marketing.

What is brand monitoring?

Brand monitoring is essentially tracking and analysing mentions around the web and on social media networks about your business, products and services (some business also track mentions about high profile executives).

It also includes monitoring mentions about your competitors, and relevant industry keywords to keep you on top of the big trends and news events that could impact your business. As we mentioned earlier you’ll also need to track mentions by key influencers.

It’s important to point out here that tracking mentions is just the beginning

This is where things can sometimes get confusing. Tracking mentions will give you lots of data to analyse. But you are only seeing your brand’s online footprint in 2D. If you are just number crunching then you will be missing out on valuable insight. Insight on what your audience thinks about your business and your competitors, and why they do the things they do. To see the bigger picture in 3D you also need to listen, get your social media game plan on, get involved and take action.

Dive into your data

Diving deeper into your data gives you real-time actionable insight on how your brand is perceived, what it’s like to be a customer, what works well, what needs fixing or improving and what to do next. Your audience will never be lost for words. So you need to have a plan to actively listen and engage.

10 reasons brand monitoring is important

  1. Measure the results of your marketing campaigns
  2. Understand what content works best and why
  3. Know your audience better
  4. Increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience
  5. Solve customer problems
  6. Improve your products and spot new opportunities
  7. Improve customer care on social channels
  8. Protect your reputation
  9. Effectively manage a crisis
  10. Keep an eye on your competitors

What should you monitor?

This will depend on the types of online tools that you are using (we get on to this later), what they scrape and the channels that are important to you. But you may want to start with the following:

  • Print media
  • Online news / publications / journals
  • Social media platforms
  • Blogs, forums, review sites
  • Broadcast media

What should you track?

Brand mentions (don’t forget to include your hashtags)
Product mentions (again include any hashtags)
Key campaign messages
Industry-related keywords / publications / influencers
Competitor mentions for benchmarking

This is important. As we mentioned earlier, people will be chatting away about your brand without bothering to include your @handles. You need to be monitoring all mentions for a 360-degree view of what’s being said, so you’ll need track indirect mentions too.

Direct – “@bigstarcopy”

Indirect – “Big Star Copywriting” “Big Star Copywriters” “BigStar Copy”

See where we’re going here. Think about the various ways people talk about your brand, including misspellings.

What about content creation and copywriting?

“We’ll notice that buyers are impressed when content tells them how we solve their problems, and that too much emphasis on benefits doesn’t work. It will become clear that buyers are the experts on what they want to know and that we simply need to invest in listening to them” – Adele Revella, Buyer Persona Institute

This is one of Adele’s top content marketing predictions and for our money it’s spot on. If you are actively monitoring mentions that matter to your business then you are discovering topics to write about that matter to your customers.

As a content creator you should be monitoring your mentions because...

Audience interests - by monitoring your brand pages, indirect mentions, industry keywords and so on you’ll be able to find new topics to write about that customers care about.

Engagement metrics - using a brand monitoring tool will give you valuable engagement metrics for you identify what types of content are driving results – retweets, likes shares etc and you’ll see who is interacting with your content.

When to post - an online tool will help you understand when your audience is most active online to help you work out when’s the best time to post. There is an argument that your competitors will probably also be posting at these times too. So it could be worth tapping into your bohemian urges and posting at totally different times to stand out.

What tools can I use to help monitor my brand?

It’s almost impossible to keep track of what’s being said about your brand around the web and on social media channels without a dedicated online tool – even for those businesses with relatively low volumes.

Using an all-in-one tool to monitor everything that matters is critical to the success of your customer and brand strategy

In an omnichannel world, businesses need a connected solution to deliver a connected experience. As departmental lines continue to blur, smart businesses use an online tool with multiple user cases.

Marketing and customer care teams can collaborate and share data and insight on what customers experience, their behaviours, expectations, needs and wants. As we mentioned, the data can also be used to inform content marketing and influencer marketing strategies too.

PR teams work hard to get their story out so they need a tool to track earned media, manage online reputations and quickly respond in a crisis.

Compliance teams need peace of mind that social media messaging is compliant.

Product teams can use customer feedback to innovate and improve.

The user list is long. Everyone needs to demonstrate ROI to keep budget holders on side.

There are a mind boggling number of online tools to monitor your brand

Vendor competition is fierce and with so much choice, finding the right online tool for your business can be a daunting task. We’ve picked three of our favourites – each let you monitor social media channels as well as online news, blogs, forums and more.

  1. Brandwatch Analytics

Why we like it:

Brandwatch Analytics does it all. Businesses can monitor and analyse billions of mentions across the web. The platform has been built for multiple user cases. You can track mentions on social channels, as well as online news, forums and blogs etc. Users are able to monitor mentions on their own social media channels, hashtags and build search queries to collect data on specific keywords or topics too.

What makes it different:

Brandwatch’s AI assistant ‘Iris’ spots trends in your data in just seconds. Users get an instant insight into why there is a peak in mentions which is great for beginners that are just learning how to analyse their data and be alert to messages and posts that start to trend.

How much does it cost?

SMEs with limited support needs can sign up for the Pro package starting at around £800 per month. Mentions are capped at 10,000 per month. Unlimited users can access all analytics features and make unlimited search queries.

Find out more

brandwatch.com

  1. Hootsuite Insights

Why we like it:

Hootsuite Insights is also a great solution for multiple user cases. Users can manage all of their social media accounts in a single platform. Hootsuite crawls 25+ social networks so it’s got everything covered. For that all-important earned media coverage, you can also monitor news sites, blogs and forums etc.

What makes it different:

The solution has powerful content creation features to keep your content-hungry audience satiated.

How much does it cost?

The free package for one user includes three social media profiles and online help. Paid plans start with the Professional package which costs £25 per month for one user, 10 social media profiles, unlimited post scheduling and in-dash live chat support.

Find out more

hootsuite.com

  1. Talkwalker

Why we like it:

Talkwalker monitors online, print, broadcast and social media mentions. For brands that want to track owned and earned media it’s a complete solution. You can listen to conversations on 10 social networks and over 150 million websites. This means you can measure and compare both owned and earned media performance in one platform.

What makes it different:

The platform includes visual listening technology and users can analyse text and images together in one place.

How much does it cost?

Plans start at £6,240 per year for the Basic plan which is ideal for brands with low volumes or those that just want to focus on their owned channels.

Find out more

talkwalker.com

One to keep in mind for SMEs

For SMEs looking for a tool to monitor their social media presence, Brand24 has been busy doing some interesting things. You get all the basic features to monitor your social mentions and integration with Slack and live customer testimonials, which you can add direct to your website.

Finally…

Social media and web monitoring tools are one of the fastest growing marketing technologies, helping brands monitor, listen and participate in the conversations that are taking place online. If you are still trying to manage all your posts, comments and engagement without a tool – things can quickly get chaotic and you’ll be missing important mentions. Your customers will expect you to be listening and engaging.

When you consider that 96% of people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles, are you really listening to everything that matters?

What next?

How do you monitor your online presence? How do you use the information you get? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2019 but has since been completely updated so it stays relevant, accurate and valuable to our readers.

Want to talk about making content marketing work for your brand? Give us a call on 01803 865025 or drop us a line.

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