A strong brand provides incredible value for any business–whether you’re focused on your agency or your clients. By consistently monitoring and managing a company’s reputation, you can ensure that its brand thrives.
Find out how brand monitoring can benefit your agency or clients, and discover some tools that let you track and respond to brand mentions more efficiently.
What Is Brand Monitoring?
Brand monitoring is the practice of checking various outlets to identify when, where, and how people mention a company or specific related terms.
This process gives you a more complete picture of how people view the brand. It also enhances your ability to respond to negative sentiments and keep the brand in good health. (You’ll also be able to see whether your goals of increasing brand awareness are being met.)
A comprehensive brand monitoring strategy typically involves keeping track of several channels, such as:
- Social media
- Websites and blogs
- Online forums
- Review sites
- Broadcast and print media
Why You Should Monitor Your Brand Reputation
Brand monitoring lets you listen in to what people are saying about your company.
If you’re a social media agency, you’ll also want to monitor to see how your social media campaigns and initiatives are going (and then be able to do social media reporting for your clients).
Yet it’s much more than just a cool opportunity to spy on customers!
Monitoring offers some seriously valuable benefits.
1. Gauge customer sentiment
Sure, you could send out a survey to learn what customers think of your brand. You could even poll prospects to see what’s holding them back from making a purchase.
But asking directly doesn’t always result in the most honest responses. Your audience may be stuck with limited multiple-choice responses, or they may not feel comfortable sharing their genuine thoughts.
With brand monitoring, you can assess customer sentiment without the filter. That means you can see what people are really saying about your brand or your clients, even when they don’t think you’re paying attention.
2. Communicate with customers
It’s true that brand monitoring involves lots of one-sided observation.
However, you don’t always have to be a passive participant.
Rather than just listening in, take the time to engage with customers who discuss your brand.
It’s easy to turn online brand monitoring into a two-way avenue for communication. Whether the conversation is positive or negative, you can join in the conversation on behalf of your agency or clients.
For example, when you use Agorapulse, you can monitor tweets and retweets on the Twitter social media platform. You’ll also be able to like, reply, or bookmark an item.
If you’re an agency, you can use Agorapulse to assign any follower content on your Twitter account to any admin. You can also leave notes for internal communication among team members.
3. Find influencers and UGC
Brand monitoring doesn’t have to result in closed conversations with individual customers.
In some cases, you can amplify brand mentions to generate even more value for your business.
Two of the most common ways to do this include:
- Social media influencers. Online brand monitoring can also lead you to discover influencers–or people who promote products and services to their own audiences. If you find influencers who are already promoting your agency or your clients’ brands, you may be able to build relationships and forge mutually beneficial partnerships.
- User-generated content (UGC). If you find that customers create content featuring your brand, you can reshare it with your audience. No matter how great your marketing content might be, UGC like photos, videos, blog posts, and reviews come across as more genuine, authentic, and trustworthy. In fact, UGC is five times more likely than branded content to convert prospects.
If you’re an agency, you can harness the power of influencers to help your clients’ businesses get more buzz and grow their following.
For example, influencer Doc Rock recently shared the new of Agorapulse’s partnership with Canva. Doc Rock doesn’t work for Agorapulse, and his enthusiasm and his influence for Agorapulse are earnest. So, his video will reach his 9.49K subscribers.
Consider how you can also reach influencers in the spaces you want to go, whether for your own brand or your agency clients.
4. Understand shortcomings
When you first start checking brand mentions, it’s natural to expect–or at least, hope for–positive conversations about your clients’ companies.
Even if your clients are universally loved, however, you’re bound to surface at least some negative engagement.
Rather than dismissing these comments as outliers, take the opportunity to learn from them:
- Do the comments reflect specific concerns? Your clients may be able to identify actual quality issues or points of friction with their service offerings.
- Do the conversations show a lack of communication? If customers complain online, they may not have other easy options for connecting with the brand.
- Can you act on the feedback? Share customer feedback with the appropriate team, so your agency or your clients can resolve any problems.
5. Avoid and manage crises
Some of the negative issues you uncover may be relatively minor complaints.
However, some may signal a major problem that could significantly impact the brand’s value over time.
When you engage in ongoing brand monitoring, you can identify potential crises early on, such as when the first few customer comments appear. If you act quickly, you can address any issues before they turn into something more serious.
For example, social media comments might alert you that your clients’ latest product has a concerning quality issue. By sharing feedback with client teams and proactively providing customers with a solution, you can avoid a crisis, maintain a good reputation, reinforce your clients’ credibility.
6. Improve marketing efforts
Brand monitoring can also help you understand the results of your marketing efforts and identify areas for improvement.
Here’s how to use this process to improve marketing:
- Monitor hashtags and related discussions to quantify the success of your marketing campaigns.
- Determine what channels your customers are using so you can allocate resources effectively.
- See how competitors are doing and what’s trending in your industry to inspire your own efforts.
How Do You Monitor Brand Reputation?
To manage brand reputation, you have to go where the conversations are happening. It’s different for every business. Whether that includes social media platforms, blogs, or any other channels listed above, monitoring a few key areas is helpful.
1. Company, product, and service names (and variations)
For most businesses, online brand monitoring starts with tracking company names as well as product and service offerings.
Since many customers and prospects initiate discussions by mentioning the company or its offerings, taking this first step helps you find a lot of your mentions.
Remember that your audience doesn’t always talk about your brand the way your team does. People may abbreviate your company name, misspell it, or refer to it by a nickname. You need to know the various ways people refer to your brand–and then include those variations in your tracking.
For example, Agorapulse often gets spelled as AgoraPulse or customers refer to it as Agora or AP.
2. Founders and employees
Naturally, any discussions about people who are integral to the company can influence brand reputation.
If your company’s founder is a public figure or if some employees have their own sizable followings, you should also monitor their names and usernames.
When you run marketing campaigns that include hashtags, it’s essential to track their performance.
Not only can these metrics help you gauge the success of the campaign, but they can also offer insight into how people are talking about your brand.
By monitoring campaign hashtags, you might also discover some high-quality UGC or identify potential influencer partnerships.
4. Website traffic
Most companies monitor website metrics like visitor numbers, popular pages, and conversion values.
However, website analytics can also show where your traffic is coming from, which can be critical for managing brand reputation.
Identifying traffic sources can alert you to active conversations about your brand.
From there, you can learn more about the context and take action as appropriate:
- Did an influencer publish a positive review of your brand? You may want to comment on the review and share it on your social media pages. If the influencer has enough social authority, you may want to forge a longer-term relationship.
- Has a disgruntled customer complained about your brand on a review site? You may want to respond and offer a resolution or encourage the customer to contact your team privately.
If you’re an agency, you can ask those questions of your clients’ brands as well.
5. Competitors and peers
Tracking your competitors can also help you maintain an optimal reputation.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to monitor what your competitors are doing. Use the same guidelines that you used to develop a list of your own brand name variations, but do it for your competitors instead.
You can learn:
- What customers love about your competitors, which can inspire you to improve your own processes, products, or services.
- What people hate about your competitors, which can give you opportunities to win over unhappy customers.
- Which new products or services your competitors are teasing, which can inform your own offerings.
6. Industry keywords
Neither your agency nor your clients operate independently of external forces.
Every brand is part of an industry that has its own set of trends, news, and influencers. By monitoring industry terms and hashtags, you can better understand important changes that may affect your brand, including your products, services, campaigns, or reputation.
How Do I Check Brand Mentions?
Setting up your brand monitor process is easy with a social listening solution like Agorapulse.
Follow the steps below to start checking brand mentions for your agency and also for your agency clients.
1. Set up social monitoring
By default, Agorapulse automatically tracks any direct mentions–which happen when someone posts to @yourusername on social media. But you’ll need to add any other brand monitoring searches manually.
In the Listening tab, click the Create a New Search button to begin.
Then enter your search parameters, which may include brand nicknames, product names website URLs, or competitor names.
You can fine-tune your social listening search as much as you’d like.
2. Locate new brand mentions
After setting up some searches, you can start to find brand mentions in Agorapulse’s Listening dashboard.
Any new brand mentions automatically appear in the To Review tab.
3. Respond to brand mentions
You can click on any brand mention to engage with it directly from the Agorapulse dashboard. That means you can like, share, or reply to any mention without leaving Agorapulse. You can formulate a personalized reply or tap into your saved replies to reuse a standard response.
4. Involve your team
Some brand mentions are likely to warrant straightforward responses.
You can simply respond and click Review to clear the item from your inbox.
Others may require more thoughtful responses, such as serious customer complaints or in-depth questions. You can assign these items to any member of your team without leaving the Agorapulse dashboard.
5. Keep track of key mentions
Likewise, some mentions might create a bigger impact than others.
If you identify potential influencers, problem customers, or great UGC, you won’t want to lose track of the post.
If you use Agorapulse, you can bookmark any mention and give it a custom label to keep it on your team’s radar.
For example, you might want to label particularly positive or negative mentions or posts that require follow-up.
6. Monitor engaged customers
With Agorapulse, you can do more than just keep track of specific mentions. You can also keep an eye on who’s talking about your brand.
From the dashboard, you can click on any brand mention to learn more about the user behind the tweet.
You can use their follower count and the number of times they’ve mentioned your brand to assess their social authority quickly.
Agorapulse automatically labels users who interact with your brand, but you can add custom labels to any user yourself. Then you can track them in the customer relationship management (CRM) tab, where you can modify labels, review prior mentions, or leave internal comments for your team.
7. Report on brand mentions
To build a successful brand monitoring process, take time to glean insights from them. Include your custom labels on your Agorapulse reports to help your team quantify mentions and gauge brand sentiment. Then use your analysis to improve your approach or enhance your campaigns going forward.
If you’re an agency with clients who struggle to stay on top of all their mentions and online conversations, you can help clients manage brand reputation, gather customer insights, and stay on top of industry news. Your social listening efforts can also allow clients to monitor competitors and stand out from their peers, all while helping you make money as a social media agency.
Check out our free trial of Agorapulse to help you monitor what the online world is saying about your brand or your agency clients.