Caring for your brand means embracing the art and science of brand monitoring.
We’re talking vigilance.
We’re talking dedication.
We’re talking an endless appetite for information.
Luckily for anyone interested in brand monitoring, it’s never been easier to observe, analyze and optimize the conversation around your brand. And with these tips and tools, you’re off to a great start.
Bonus: Download a free guide to learn how to use social media listening to boost sales and conversions today. No tricks or boring tips—just simple, easy-to-follow instructions that really work.
What is brand monitoring?
Brand monitoring is the act of looking out for mentions and discussions of your brand. That goes for all forms of media: from Twitter to TV spots to sassy bumper stickers.
It’s a holistic look at what is being said out there in the world about you, but also about your industry and your competition.
Brand monitoring vs. social media monitoring
Social media monitoring is part of brand monitoring. As you may have guessed, though, it just focuses on the social media coverage relevant to your brand.
That could include monitoring for brand or product mentions (tagged or not), related hashtags and keywords, or industry trends.
Just look at all these people talking about Crocs. Though none of them tagged @Crocs, Twitter is, well, atwitter about the universe’s most controversial soft clog.
Hopefully Crocs is watching for untagged brand name mentions or they could miss all this weirdly affirming hot chatter.
It also includes watching for conversations about your competitors… any conversations that are relevant to your business, really. (Are you a spy now?! Fun! It’s lucky you look so good in a catsuit.)
Social media monitoring is a chance to track valuable social metrics and measure brand awareness. This info is super helpful to track ROI or test social campaigns, but you can also use this key data to pinpoint trends and insights.
Brand monitoring vs. social listening
…which brings us to social listening. Once you actually have all that juicy data from your social media monitoring, you’ll move on to actually thinking about what all those mentions mean.
Social listening is the practice of analyzing the intel you get from social media monitoring. What’s the overall online mood? How are people feeling about you?
For example, on Instagram, there are millions of people posting about doggos… but do the majority of them actually like doggos? Further research reveals: yes.
Once you know how people are feeling, you can develop an action plan. “Social strategizing” might be a better way to think of it: now that you know what you know, what are you going to do about it?
…and can doggos be involved in some way? Asking for a friend.
Brand monitoring vs. social mentions
A social mention is, essentially, a name drop.
Someone has mentioned a person or brand on social media. It could be positive (“@SimonsSoups are delicious!”), negative (“I wouldn’t feed @SimonsSoups to my bird!”) or somewhere in between. (“@SimonsSoups are wet.”)
Set up a stream on your Hootsuite dashboard to track those juicy name drops. You don’t want to miss a chance to respond or repost… or retaliate, I guess, if you’re feeling feisty. (e.g: “Birds actually happen to LOVE our soup.”)
Why is brand monitoring important?
If you are a monk or Tilda Swinton, you might have achieved a level of enlightenment that means you don’t care what other people think of you. But for most brands, reputation and public perception matter.
Maintain your reputation
Brand monitoring keeps you in the know and ready to pounce on problems (or boost praise!) After all, if someone tweets a compliment but you don’t notice, did it even really happen?
By keeping at eye on the conversation, you can react without delay. Take a cue from the official PopTarts account, which hastily responded to a fan in a perfectly snarky, perfectly on-brand way for suggesting a TacoBell flavoured product.
I hope it was worth it Dillon pic.twitter.com/ITEZVV5I3C
— Pop-Tarts (@PopTartsUS) March 10, 2020
Analyze customer sentiment
You don’t just want to know if people are talking about you: you want to know how they’re talking about you. Brand monitoring allows you to take the pulse to see how customers are feeling and assess the social sentiment.
While you unfortunately can’t send a middle-school-style note that says “If you like me circle one, yes/no/maybe,” this may be the next best thing.
PS: Watch for sudden dives or peaks in sentiment, and make sure you figure out the source of them. If something you’ve posted has resulted in a sudden dive in brand sentiment, you may have a PR crisis on your hands, in which case our guide to managing a social media crisis may be worth a read.
Engaging your customers
When you’re brand monitoring, you’re watching for more than just tagged social mentions. You also want to spot those under-the-radar comments and respond.
Add a search stream for your brand name or hashtags on your Hootsuite dashboard so you don’t miss a single conversation about yourself.
Source fresh content
Did someone write a story about you, or post an Instagram story about how they wish they could get married to your brand?
Assuming it’s positive, now you’ve got new content to share on your stream. All you had to do was watch and wait for it to float by, like a juicy carp (I’ve been playing a lot of Animal Crossing, okay?).
Dancer Mark Kanemura’s ode to Carly Rae Jepsen caught her attention and earned a share from the singer (a share with 97,000 views now and counting). Who knows who could be out there lip synching in a wig for your brand if you’re not looking?
Watching your competitors
Peeping on your competition to see what they’re doing right, and wrong, is part of holistic brand monitoring.
The lessons from their victories or successes can be yours, too. As the old proverb goes: Keep your friends close and your competition on your Hootsuite dashboard.
Brand monitoring: what to track
You’ve got your eagle-eye on all of the key channels — print and digital publications, social media platforms, broadcast media, online forums and review sites.
But what are you looking for, exactly?
Mentions of your brand and products
This is the most obvious and most important element to keep watch for: direct mentions and tags of your brand name or products. Are people talking about you? What are they saying? Did they mention you?
Keep watch for posts or content that use your brand name (plus variations or misspellings!) outside of a direct tag. Hashtags or marketing slogans can be on this search list, too.
Executives or other public-facing staffers might find themselves the centre of publicity at one point of another… and you’ll want to be ready.
When the CEO of LeCroix made an off-color comment, the internet lashed out. If that was your brand’s CEO, wouldn’t you want to know what people were saying? You can’t put the genie back in the bottle (or the sparkling pamplemousse water back in the can, as it were) but you can get on the damage control ASAP.
Peep your website’s analytics to track incoming links. These could lead you to a reference out there on the world wide web that you didn’t even know was there.
Industry insiders and lingo
No brand is an island (that’s how the saying goes, right?). Is there a crisis brewing that could spillover into your reputation? Can you piggyback off a trending topic?
The conversations in your industry may impact you too — positively or negatively! — so keep yourself in the loop about the bigger conversation.
If you were in the fitness industry, you’d definitely wouldn’t want to miss this trending Bloomberg post about the future of gyms. It’s a clear opportunity to pipe up about an issue that’s extremely relevant to your business. (That wasn’t supposed to be an arm-day joke — pipes? get it? — but I don’t regret it.)
???????? Is this the new normal?
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) May 18, 2020
10 brand monitoring tools
In ye olden days, brand monitors had to scour newspapers and intercept every town crier to manually keep up with things. Thank goodness we live in ye current days, where a bevvy of digital brand monitoring tools are at our fingertips.
Hootsuite Streams allow you to keep track of mentions, keywords and hashtags on multiple platforms, all in one place. Civilized!
2. Hootsuite Insights powered by Brandwatch
Want even more of that hot goss? Hootsuite Insights provides data from 1.3 trillion social posts in real time. Save keywords and Boolean strings to discover trends and patterns, and visualize brand sentiment with word clouds and meters.
3. Google Alerts
Pick your keywords and get email alerts whenever it’s used somewhere on the web. It’s like Google is your email pen pal… though one who’s a little surface-level: no analysis here!
Source: Google Alerts
4. Google Search Console
It’s pretty basic, but Google Search Console is good for tracking search traffic and performance, so you can track those inbound links at-a-glance.
Use BuzzSumo to find out which of your content has been shared on social media: just enter your domain to see where it’s been popping up online. This is a good tool for finding influencers for your industry, too.
Want an SEO audit of your blog, or a list of the keywords being used by your competition? SEMRush is on the case.
See all your incoming links and the anchor text for interesting insight into who is talking about you (and, more importantly, what they’re saying).
I’m sure broadcast and print media would love you to be poring over every publication and show, but there are only so many hours in the day (and you’re probably using them to play Animal Crossing, I get it!).
LN’s Newsdesk tracks brand mentions across traditional media outlets and even analyzes what it finds.
Mentionlytics is a complete web and social media monitoring solution. Use it to discover everything that is being said about your brand, your competitors, or any keyword on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and all web sources (news, blogs, etc.).
Bonus: you can also view your Mentionlytics results in the Hootsuite dashboard.
Hootsuite makes it easy to monitor keywords and conversations related to your brand on social media, so you can focus on taking action on the insights available. Try it free today.