12 Most Brand Saving Reasons for Social Media Monitoring

12 Most Brand Saving Reasons for Social Media Monitoring

I am digressing from my normal 12 Most post (sports-related, coffee-related or self-deprecating) to discuss a hot topic: social media monitoring. We all see businesses, and we may be the culprits ourselves, that are getting caught up with the herd jumping into social media.

But other than “because everybody is doing it” rationale, do we take the time to ask “why?” And if we come up with good answers to the “why,” do we recognize that we should monitor the impact of our efforts?

In fact, we should be monitoring our brands right now… and here are 12 reasons why!

1. People are talking about you

Pull up a browser and do a Google Search on your brand name. Then open up Twitter, and search your brand name. Holy cow, people are talking about you! If you are a restaurant or hotel, perhaps people are doing user reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor. Maybe your products compel users to write reviews on sites like Amazon, CNet, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.

Then ask yourself the hard question: Are you part of the conversation?

2. People aren’t talking about you

What if you did the above searches and got Texas-sized cricket sounds as a result? What if the only mentions of your brand are your own self-promotion? Perhaps the worst-case scenario isn’t having negative feedback; instead, it’s discovering we are not even relevant to consumers! This result does not mean you breathe a sigh of relief. It means you get busy doing what it takes to become a relevant value-add for your consumers!

3. Your advocates are singing your praises

How often have you given a restaurant a shoutout for a great meal, or perhaps you praised a retailer for taking care of a sticky customer service issue? Did they respond to you? If not, shame on them! They missed the opportunity to thank you, to extend the dialogue, and to show consumers they are listening and responding.

Here is an anecdote for you: I was showing our Pulse Analytics social media monitoring tool to a restaurant. As part of the demo, I found a patron-uploaded YouTube video showing an infant that would do a “French Fry” dance to get another french fry. I asked the people in the room, “don’t you think you can use this?” Rather than spend large marketing dollars on traditional media, you could get this family to allow you to share their video on your Facebook wall and YouTube channel. In fact, you could use the video as inspiration for an “Infant Dance-off for French Fries!” And it might cost you the equivalent of a couple of “dinners for four!”

4. Your detractors are having a field day

Picture this: a young father with a sleeping infant on his shoulder. He has the door to this retailer propped open with one foot, and he is trying to pop the baby stroller across the threshold without waking the baby. Two employees are leaning against the clothing racks watching the whole struggle, and they do nothing to help! When the father finally makes it into the store, he doesn’t confront the sales clerks, and he doesn’t lodge a complaint with the onsite customer service. Instead, he sets the baby down in the stroller and proceeds to tweet his disgust for the world to see!

The serendipity is that we were giving a product demo to this retailer when the father’s tweet came across in a live feed. We were embarrassed by the profanity, and we offered to put a filter in place. One of the executives simply replied, “nope, we want to know exactly what people are saying about us”. And shouldn’t YOU have the same attitude about your brand? We need to find a way to turn detractors into advocates by acknowledging their issues and actively seeking to resolve them. Negative reviews and rants equal lost customers as that negativity propagates through the social graph. Don’t be this guy (a fun growtoon by Mark Schaefer).

5. Your competitors’ detractors are having a field day

I am a proponent of focusing on what your company does well and then promoting those strengths. However, there is nothing wrong with monitoring our competitors for both strengths and weaknesses. If we see the opportunity to showcase our own products and services as suitable alternatives for the consumers, then that is good business. We can even tailor our marketing and engagement to highlight our differentiators based upon the intelligence gleaned from social media channels.

6. People expect you to find them and respond… immediately

In an age where the two most responsive airlines responded to tweets in less than 15 minutes during Hurricane Irene induced delays, people expect to voice their concerns on their preferred social media channels. They then expect you to find them, engage them where they are, acknowledge their issues, and resolve the issues to their satisfaction.

7. You’ve been thinking of a new product/service idea

I recently read Erik Deckers’ and Jason Falls’ No Bullshit Social Media. It was an excellent “read”, and one outstanding concept they addressed was crowd-sourced product development. Think about it: who knows more about your products and your industry than your own customers? You could invite suggestions via a blog post and Facebook wall post, host Twitter chat sessions or Google+ Hangouts to brainstorm ideas, or even publish a YouTube video with an invitation to add comments regarding a proposed new product or service.

Monitoring helps you frame ideas because your customers are already talking about what they *wish* you provided now!

8. You hate to be the bearer of bad news

None of us want to be the doctor that has to talk to next-of-kin after a failed surgery. None of us want to admit we did not meet financial expectations or we need to issue a product recall. But if you have bad news, be proactive! It is better for that news to come from you where you can manage the emotional backlash with your company’s best long-term interests in mind. You can use social media channels as both an early warning system and an early notification system. Active monitoring and engagement will then allow you to manage “trouble spots” regarding disgruntled customers or negative reviews.

Using tools that both perform sentiment analysis and allow you to aggregate mentions across topics can also help you identify trends that might be precursors to bad news (like the need for a product recall).

9. That Return on Relationship (ROR) thing is the real deal

We can’t just stop at the monitoring and measuring step. We need to actively engage with our followers and customers. I use paid subscriptions to Pandora Radio, Sirius XM and NetFlix because I cannot stand interruptive advertising (unless it is an instant classic beer commercial or something with a gecko or a duck). We do not want our followers to stop engaging with our brand because we are only pushing our own agenda. We need to find our customers, and then establish a two-way communication to reap the Return on Relationship.

I’ll let the man who popularized the ROR phrase, Ted Rubin, explain it in his own words.

10. You don’t know what you don’t know

It is time for another anecdote: We were presenting our monitoring solution to a clothing retailer. These folks had a healthy brand. They were known for style, quality and good value. They had a great handle on the topics they needed to track, but it looked like they would just be baby-sitting a smoothly running machine. However, the monitoring tool did pick up on a concept they were not tracking — some consumers refused to buy from them because they did not offer free shipping! Here was a pothole they did not know about, and it had substantial enough traction in the social graph to warrant attention.

11. History is a great teacher

One of my earlier blog posts discussed the following equation: Good Numbers + Bad Decisions = Loss. It highlighted several case studies where large, successful, well-loved brands suffered crippling scrutiny and consumer backlash due to social media missteps. Read those case studies, and then evaluate your current processes for monitoring and corporate social media policy. It is always better to learn from others’ mistakes versus our own!

12. Your competitors are doing it

I still prefer focusing on being the best you can be regardless of your competition. Do things right, and the competition will stay in your rearview mirror. However, just like a rearview mirror allows you to monitor the people trying to pass you, social media monitoring allows you to monitor the health, relevance, and competitive edge of your competitors’ brands.

Monitor sentiment on your competitors. Measure your brand’s Share of Voice and Supporters in the social graph against your competitors’. And be well-informed and opportunistic!

So let’s hear your stories in the comments. Has monitoring already helped you out of a sticky situation or identified a marketing opportunity? Do you see the benefits of monitoring for your marketing, customer service, and even your product development group? Do you strictly monitor, or do you also actively engage and perform sentiment analysis?

Featured image courtesy of David Blackwell. via Creative Commons.

Brian Vickery

http://brianvickery.com

I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am very excited about our Pulse Analytics SaaS social media monitoring solution for measuring consumer sentiment and supporting social engagement. I enjoy teaching and coaching. I graduated UT-Austin.

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14 comments
shannagordon
shannagordon

Great top 12 list. Another one I would add which is sort of a continuation of number 8 is that you need to monitor for risk or threats to your organization. You wouldn't leave your really expensive home without turning the alarm on, would you? There are lots of people out their who make it their day jobs to hate on large brands and organizations and sometimes take it to the extreme to ruin them or hurt then in many ways and oddly enough sometimes they brag about acts of violence or planned protests or attacks before they do it.

jennykaypollock
jennykaypollock

Brian great list. Number 9 resonated me ROR is so important. Thanks for sharing! 

DannyCrane
DannyCrane

A very interesting and useful presentation. It can be a good alternative for a large part of social media monitoring tools. If you’re interested in the latest thinking on media monitoring, media analysis and social media measurement through Google+, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs, then a good solution is www.socialwatching.com. I use this tool for a while.

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

You know BV, I can't think of ONE reason NOT to monitor your social media! And what people are or are not saying about you, your brand, or your company!

dabarlow
dabarlow

Hum, Thinking you and Nick @NickKellet need to get together if haven't all ready done so. Thanks Brian!

PDarigan
PDarigan

Great list @dbvickery - Particularly #3 Advocates.

 

Working in social media for a major UK non-profit, I'm constantly amazed by our online advocates - They are great people, they do amazing things, and they have a great amount of pride in the organisation. Whenever possible we try to amplify their messages by re-posting them (generally re-tweeting tweets on Twitter, or drawing attention to their posts on our Facebook pages). If we didn't actively monitor and engage, much of the great work done by our members would pass under the radar, and that would be a real shame

 

As for the post as a whole - Yes! Monitor, monitor and monitor some more. Collect data, identify and solve any issues and share the love when you find positive comments. Thankfully there is a great amount of support and buy-in for social media at my org.

susansilver
susansilver

I like #10 on this list. I don't think there is ever too much data, usually we don't have enough to make conclusions. If you start listening you are going to find a few things you can do right now to make your customers happier or get more sales. 

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @shannagordon It is always shocking when folks make it their personal mission to disrupt your organization or its reputation. So absolutely, it is important to monitor and respond quickly. The fine line is engaging legitimate concerns vs feeding trolls.

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @jennykaypollock Thanks, Jenny - I think @Ted Rubin does a great job expounding upon the Return on Relationship topic, and I know I appreciate the many online friends who seem to naturally take it to heart. People want to hang out, share life and do business with people they like if they have the option!

 

Leave the bullhorns at home...;)

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @DannyCrane Thanks for your reply, Danny. Social Media Monitoring can span the spectrum from free tools (HootSuite and Google Alerts are two of my favorites) to more robust enterprise-level paid services. I do tend to favor our own Pulse Analytics product since it monitors, measures sentiment, supports engagement and correlation between Google Analytics on your corporate website and "marketing spend".

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @BruceSallan Thanks, Bruce - I would agree. @markwschaefer did a great growtoon where the boss tried to turn his personal computer off with the hopes that it would stop the bad feedback.

 

The strategy didn't work ;) - so time to monitor and then engage!

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @dabarlow  @NickKellet I see I'm already following Nick, so anytime we have to talk about social media monitoring, I'm all for it! And of course, I do tend to talk about it from a Pulse Analytics perspective. We've added some awesome functionality with the release scheduled for next week to even better correlate mention volume/sentiment with website traffic *and* marketing spend.

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @PDarigan  Nice comments, Paul. It is definitely rewarding when you have an organization that understands the power of social media as well as the leverage you can create for your organization with monitoring.

 

Nice to see you enabling your great people and even amplifying their message.

dbvickery
dbvickery

 @susansilver Absolutely, Susan. Listening can help you take care of the immediate needs and be customer focused. Listening over time, across several channels, and aggregating across different "dimensions" helps you shape/tweak brand strategy, target marketing spend for biggest impact, correlate results with website traffic, and even crowd-source product development (the No BS Social Media by Deckers/Falls had a great example of this last one).

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