With so many venues to monitor—including social media, blogs, publication sites, and offline outlets—it can be challenging for any company to keep abreast of everything being said about their brand. On any given day, organizations can find thousands—even millions—of mentions about their brands.
Many companies rely on basic tools such as Google Alerts. While that's terrific for getting updates based on the keywords you supply, does that give you the whole picture? Other resources can monitor a wider content set and even provide tools and metrics that provide guidance on prioritizing your communication and PR efforts.
Regardless of the tools you choose, it's critical to understand best practices for keeping up with your brand's reputation and messaging online. We've compiled the following list of best practices based on our experience with brand monitoring. Read on for proven ways to best track and shape public perception of your brand.
Understand the landscape at a high level. If your organization is new to monitoring, use a solution that tracks across as many social, online and offline channels as possible. Once you understand what percentage of news is coming from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and traditional online news vs. blogs, for example, you'll better know who is interested in your news and their top news sources.
Separate the signals from the noise.To zero in on what matters across all the conversations taking place online, identify the major sources of news related to your brand, industry, and customer issues.
Identify gaps. Track your competitors—who is interested in their news and where is there a missed opportunity? For instance, are they covering topics you’re not covering or gaining traction in a channel where you don’t spend time? Identify the hottest topics being discussed in relation to your organization, industry, and competitors. By capitalizing on trending issues, you can create relevant, engaging content and shape your brand reputation.
Define actionable goals. Outline goals when it comes to your online presence. For example, is it to expand visibility on Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or another channel? Remember, the ultimate goal is to be present where your target audience spends time.
Create internal benchmarks. There’s no one-size-fits-all metric. Instead select and focus on ones relevant to your goals. For instance, if you want to increase your presence on Twitter, your goal might be “gain 4,000 followers by year’s end” or “get X# of retweets.” If you want to appear in more places online, perhaps your goal is “be placed in blogs covering XYZ topics with X# of visitors/month.” If you want to boost awareness of a new product, your goal could be “generate X# of conversations about product launch X.”
Choose the right tools. You can select from free and paid (or subscription) resources to help you monitor your brand online. Here are considerations when evaluating your options:
Free services can return thousands of results, but may not help you understand what you're seeing. Subscription monitoring services often offer access to more sources; for example, content behind a firewall or radio and TV content that is not easily accessible. They also offer features to help you make sense of all the headlines and stories.
Many free tools are focused on a niche, such as a certain social network, and offer only basic reporting tools. This could require you to mine data from multiple resources and manually aggregate the results in order to build a complete profile of your brand. The best subscription services take a more holistic approach, covering both traditional and online media along with social networks. They usually provide advanced analytics and reporting to show your reach, pickup, and more, so you can confidently report on ROI.
Free services usually offer little customer support and limited support hours. Subscription monitoring services often maintain trained teams that help tailor the service to your needs.
A well-conceived, disciplined brand monitoring approach can inform many aspects of an organization’s strategy. By employing the right monitoring service and best practices, companies will be well positioned to track and shape perceptions of their brands and achieve their overall goals.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: TORREY MIRABITO
Torrey Mirabito, Director of Customer Engagement, brings nearly 9 years of monitoring and media database platform experience to her role at PR Newswire. She is primarily responsible for consulting clients on best practices for utilizing media monitoring, analysis and database solutions. A subject matter expert in the industry, Torrey has worked in many roles including training, support, curriculum development and sales.
PR NEWSWIRE SOLUTIONS
PR Newswire’s portfolio of services and solutions helps communicators of all stripes achieve their communications goals—from building awareness with new audiences and gaining media pickup, to managing reputation and inspiring investor confidence—by sharing, targeting, tracking and enhancing your unique content to make the most of your content investment. Our offerings include:
• Media Targeting & Monitoring— Reach influential journalists with our list-building tools and multichannel distribution network, and monitor conversations about your brand across global media, with metrics to uncover actionable media intelligence.
• Professional Services— Leverage the expertise of our Professional Services team for your custom media research projects.
- Configuration, implementation and roll-out of media monitoring solutions.
- Ongoing monitoring and in-depth reporting on your brand and key topics.
- On-demand research and analysis for campaigns, topics and issues.