How to protect your reputation with social listening?
This post was updated on March 30, 2020.
You need to protect your online reputation and that task is not a piece of cake. The proliferation of social media platforms makes it easy to miss a question, complaint, or a negative review. Every unanswered question or remark could damage your online reputation. How do you protect brand reputation in the world that is always online?
To effectively protect your online reputation, 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 online reputation effectively.
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.
In our always-connected world, people google your business before making any purchasing decision. They base their opinions on the content they find, online reviews, your website design, and results from search engine.
Your job is to make sure that the information they find works in your favour.
You can do that in two ways. You can build your online reputation by providing useful content, running social media campaigns, working with influencers and providing exquisite customer care.
But you should also actively listen to what people have to say about you, your services and products. This part is called social listening. It’s one of the ways to protect your online reputation, decrease churn, and raise brand awareness.
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 online 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, posts on forums, and reviews on social media.
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 positive online content. You can also react to negative content before it escalates into a full-blown crisis.
To help you spot the content worthy of your attention, set up notifications and alerts.
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 and what actions you need to undertake to protect online reputation.
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
Once you click “Create project”, Brand24 starts gathering all publicly available mentions about your company. The search results are gathered across whole Internet. Brand24 offers a wide range of online sources:
- major social media platforms, for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube
- news sites
- forums, reviews, blogs
- publicly available newsletters
- all other publicly available online sources.
From that moment on, you know what is happening around your brand. Brand monitoring happens in real-time, so you will get all the information you need in time. You will be able to react swiftly to any content posted online.
Social listening tips for brand protection
Which social listening features can you use daily to protect your online reputation? There are a few aspects of media monitoring that are extremely effective when it comes to online reputation management.
Analyse content sentiment
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 crisis in the making. You can easily manage crisis with our tips and tricks.
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.
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 company response on review sites. The more personal touch you can offer, the better for your brand building strategy.
Sentiment analysis will help you get to the core of every issue you may have. You get the information right at the source — you listen to what people like and dislike. Not only will it help your online reputation, it will also be useful for product development and other departments within your company.
To make the full use of sentiment analysis, you need to know about any negative content right away.
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.
Thanks to speedy notifications you can react right away. 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.
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 are women from large cities, so that Polka can develop a content 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 – “How to respond to social mention positive, negative, neutral“.
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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