This post was updated on March 30, 2020.
Protecting your online brand reputation is not a piece of cake. The proliferation of social media channels makes it easy to miss a question, complaint, or a negative review. Every unanswered question or remark could damage your brand reputation. How do you protect brand reputation in the world that is always online?
To prevent your brand reputation from tarnishing, you have to listen.
Listen to what your customers say about your company, what your competitors are up to, and how your messages affect your brand reputation.
In this post, we will talk about how to protect your brand against issues that might damage your reputation.
Here’s what’s ahead of us today:
What is brand protection?
Brand protection is a broad term, as it affects many different aspects of your business presence. Brand reputation assets include your logo, other visual characteristics, packaging, online presence, and any other distinctive marks of your company.
Since we’re experts in social listening, we prepared a short guide on how to protect your brand’s online reputation with social listening.
How to protect your brand online?
Why is social listening essential when it comes to brand protection?
The majority of our life happens online now. We look for recommendations from other customers, compare offers, or leave our opinions online.
Before almost every purchase, we tend to research the product or service we are interested in.
We browse blogs, read opinions on Tripadvisor and Yelp and posts on forums.
A high number of unfavourable comments, unanswered questions, and negative mentions about your brand could prevent you from attracting and retaining new customers.
Social listening can help you spot the early signs of a brand reputation crisis.
Prevention is better than cure: the easiest and safest way of protecting yourself is to prevent a crisis from happening in the first place.
Having the right social listening tools allows you to identify and track mentions in real-time. You can discover any suspicious social media activity, as well as react to both positive and negative comments.
You can also receive alerts which immediately bring any dubious activity to your attention.
Social media channels can get you a lot of exposure — both for better and for worse.
Take a look at the graph below. The spike could indicate a positive or negative event.
Social listening helps you discover exactly what you’re dealing with.
How to protect your brand reputation with social listening?
It starts with creating a project.
In the first step, enter the keywords you’d like to monitor.
You’ll get the best results by monitoring:
- the name of your company
- the name of your product
- the name of your product or service
- your branded hashtag
- your campaign-specific hashtag
- your company slogan
- the name of your CEO or other highly recognisable employees
In the next steps, you can determine the language you want to collect mentions in.
Once you click “Create project”, Brand24 starts gathering all publicly available mentions about your company.
Let’s start protecting your brand reputation with social listening!
Social listening features for brand protection
Now comes the fun part — using social listening to protect your brand reputation.
What exactly should you take into account?
Sentiment analysis will tell you how your customers feel about your brand.
Remember that spike on the graph above and how we said it might mean good things, but it can also signify awful news?
Sentiment analysis tells you which one it is. A high number of interactions with negative sentiment indicates a social media crisis in the making.
Positive sentiment, on the other hand, is a signal of a successful social media presence.
Brand24 automatically assigns sentiment to posts: neutral, positive, or negative.
All data mining tools still have problems with attaching the right sentiment when people are ironic. We give you an option to choose the right sentiment manually. And our AI team is working hard on improving this feature!
The best part is that you can turn negative sentiment into positive if you react in time. Your customers love to see your reply to their comments. According to a study by Jay Baer and Edison Research, 53% of customers expect a response on review sites.
Everyone loves to be treated with respect. Listen and pay attention to your clients’ problems, and they will appreciate it.
Storm alerts and Slack integration
Another useful feature that will help you protect your brand reputation is storm alerts and Slack integration.
Any time there is an unusual surge in the number of mentions of your chosen keywords, you get an email.
Many social media crises start the same way. Someone is not happy with a product and posts about it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Then other people comment on a post, starting the snowball effect.
Instant notifications give you time to react. When you see a notification, you can investigate the matter and respond to the crisis before it escalates.
You can protect your reputation and meet the highest customer standards. I call it a win-win situation.
The context of a discussion
The last useful feature of Brand24 (when it comes to brand protection, of course. There are plenty of other features you will use, for example while working with influencers) is the context of a discussion.
It’s a graphic illustration all the words people use together with your chosen keywords. You can see whether your brand has positive or negative associations.
Here’s an interesting example.
Jamie Oliver, the cook, is associated with such words as “ban,” “sugar,” and “healthy.” Jamie is known for his fight against child obesity; that’s why not all of the terms in his context of discussion are positive.
The context of a discussion gives two vital pieces of information.
Firstly, you get a general impression of where your customers might be. That’s a valuable market insight — for example, Polka Bikes, which is a bike company, is searched together with words like “Warsaw” or “women cycling.”
Its primary customer group is women from large cities, so that Polka can develop a marketing campaign targeting this specific group.
Secondly, you will know what people think about your brand. In the case of Jamie Oliver, not all mentions are positive, but it’s due to his controversial campaign. We can assume his campaigns are getting some traction and will bring the desired results.
How to react to negative comments?
You received a notification, and someone is not happy with your product or service. That happens to the best of the best, so don’t panic.
Instead, you should put a brand reputation management plan into action.
First of all, time is of the essence. The faster you react, the better the chance you’ll be able to turn the tables around.
Secondly, listen to your clients and investigate the matter. Sometimes, it’s just a miscommunication, sometimes it’s your fault, and sometimes the customer is to blame.
No matter what, you have to stay calm. Try to solve the problem at hand. And if there isn’t any problem to solve, acknowledge the negative experience your customer had.
If you need any more information, take a look at the blog posts my colleague Chia wrote.
Why is brand protection important?
Brand protection helps you take care of your most valuable resources; it protects the identity of your brand. Without a brand protection plan in place, you could suffer irreparable damage to your reputation.
How to spot a crisis in the making?
First of all, know what a crisis is. We overuse the word nowadays. According to Jay Baer, a social media crisis occurs when we’re witnessing:
- an information asymmetry (when the company doesn’t know more about the problem than the public);
- a decisive change from the norm (if suddenly you’ll get a ton of negative reviews – that’s a crisis);
- a material business impact (if something negatively impacts the core or a crucial part of your business).
That’s a pretty accurate characteristic and an amazing opportunity for an application of social listening tools. By continually monitoring your brand throughout the Internet, you can spot the first signs of the problems mentioned above and get ahead of them.
Shielding your brand from reputation crisis gives you a competitive advantage over other businesses.
A marketplace is already a crowded place. The strength of your brand reputation can make all the difference for your potential customers.
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