Brand Management — Why Your Company Should Be Monitoring Social Media

Posted by Mandy Bly on Tue, Apr 19, 2016

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The Need for Brand Monitoring

We’re all familiar with the saying “any publicity is good publicity.” People are talking about your company, which gives you an edge, right? Unfortunately, this is a bad public relations myth. Negative statements online can harm your brand’s reputation and image.

It doesn’t matter if your company is small or large, if you have 20 online followers or 2,000 – monitoring the conversation about your business is vital. It only takes one troll to take down a bridge to a prospective customer. Having a thoughtful, responsive plan of action can help you defuse these situations as they arise.

 

Customer Service

According to a 2014 article from Search Engine Watch, 70% of surveyed Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to on Twitter, and 53% want a response within an hour. Companies should be ready to craft a response at all times (or at least during business hours) to address customers’ questions and concerns. Facebook even awards a “badge” to businesses that respond to 90% of messages within 15 minutes. A prompt reply shows that you are committed to creating a positive customer experience.

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Damage Control

Apart from general customer service, you should have a critical response plan in place to deal with sudden attacks on your brand. Even if they don’t reach out to you directly, people may still be talking about you on social media or other websites. Monitoring brand-specific keywords through platforms such as HubSpot, Hootsuite, or Mention can help you find and respond to potentially harmful posts. It is also a good idea to have pre-written replies ready for various types of interactions.

 

How Much Monitoring is Necessary?

Tracking online mentions is important for any company, but budgets and bandwidth may influence the amount of monitoring your team is able to do. Nevertheless, there are some simple ways you can protect your reputation. Here are three possible levels of monitoring.

 

1. Entry-level

Limited resources are a common barrier to brand monitoring, but there are still options. If nothing else, create Google Alerts for your company, key employees, and product names. This simple setup allows for a zero-cost, low-maintenance approach while still being tuned into the conversation.

 

2. Intermediate

If you are serious about leveraging social media or have particular concerns about reputation management, then investing in a monitoring platform will greatly benefit your team. Companies in controversial or sensitive industries – including firearms, medical devices, and personal care products – should also consider a more robust platform. Monitoring services range from $100 to $1000+ a month, depending on the capabilities offered; some features to look for include analytics/reporting, email notifications, and multi-language monitoring. Request a demo of any platform you’re considering to get a better idea of whether or not it will meet your needs.

 

3. Ideal

At this level, your company is a social media leader. You have integrated social media monitoring into your marketing platform and are using it to drive other aspects of your marketing strategy. Seeing multiple tweets asking the same question? Create a white paper or blog post that offers a solution. Customers complaining about quality issues on your Facebook page? Send an email that addresses the concern and offers a 20% discount. You’ll get the most value from social media monitoring when you use it not only to react but also to act.

 


Even if social media isn't yet a significant part of your marketing plan, it is still important to know what its users are saying about your company. Contact us for a free assessment of your online marketing presence.

Request a Free Assessment


 

 

Worst-Case Scenarios

How exactly should you respond when someone is dissatisfied (or downright angry) with your company? Check out these examples: 

 

Example 1: Someone accuses your employee or company of something appalling, such as racism.

 

Why you must know about it:

Whether the claim is warranted or just a troll causing a stir, you should at least be aware of what was said. Tracking the names of your company and key employees through Google Alerts or another service is vital to spotting these posts. When deciding if and how to respond, consider the timing and current culture. Is the accusation going to resonate with a lot of people right now?

 

How to respond:

If you know that the commenter is a former employee or someone you’ve dealt with in the past, first consider whether or not there’s any possibility that their complaints are true. While this is unlikely, it’s important to check. If you don’t recognize the commenter, research them. What topics do they post about? Who's in their circle? How far-reaching is their influence? If they're clearly an outlier and the comment is truly unjust (i.e. crazy), you can choose not to respond. Instead, continue posting positive, true news to push this comment out of view and move forward.

 

Example 2: A former employee is posting disparaging comments about your CEO. 

 

Why you must know about it:

Negative comments about the “face” of the company can hurt your brand’s reputation both internally and externally. The can negatively impact morale among current employees, your recruiting efforts, and possibly relationships with current and potential customers.

 

How to respond:

This use of social media may be in violation of the employee's contract; you would need to confirm that first and then take the necessary measures, such as asking them to remove the post. Otherwise, you can choose to do one or both of the following:

  1. Craft and post positive counter-messages, including:
    • News about philanthropic events or initiatives in which your company is involved
    • A campaign featuring current happy employees and customers
  2. Respond to the commenter with a gracious, concise message such as, “We’re very sorry you feel that way. You’re welcome to email or call us to discuss your concerns.”

 

Example 3: A customer posts a negative review of your product or service.

 

Why you must know about it:

In this new age of transparency and online shopping, customers turn to reviews before making any major purchase. This personal consumer behavior carries over into the B2B space, where reviews carry just as much weight. It’s important to regularly monitor review sites and keywords in order to know as soon as possible when someone shares a poor experience.

 

How to respond:

First, find out if the review is legitimate. Is the reviewer a real customer or a competitor/troll? If it's not legitimate, it's still important to respond so that potential customers see you as engaged and service-minded. A simple, strategic response could be, "We're having trouble finding you in our customer database. Please contact us at 1-800-XXXX so that we can resolve this for you.”

If it is legitimate, consider something like, "We're so sorry you're experiencing trouble. We are reaching out to you by phone and email today to see what we can do to fix this for you." Whether or not a negative review is justified, always approach it with the mindset of providing exemplary customer service. This allows you to control the message and how others perceive you.

 

Want to discuss your social media strategy? Send us a message, or give us a call at (585) 256-1640.

Topics: Social Media, Client Relations, Branding and Identity