How to monitor online mentions of your brand
In this article, we'll cover:
The internet is a world of comments, opinions and reviews. If you run a business or are a sole trader, the chances are some of those will be about you. The power of these comments is huge and a single piece of negative feedback can undo a long-held reputation – hence why you’ll want to monitor online mentions of your brand.
You can find out why online reputation matters in our accompanying guide, but the crux of it is this: almost everyone searches online for services they need, so when your business comes up in search results, you want everything to be positive.
The key to managing your online reputation is knowing how to monitor online mentions of your brand and responding accordingly. We’ll show you exactly how to do that in this guide, starting with social media…
How to track social media mentions
Social media mentions are posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn that include your business name, product or service names, website domain or your own name.
Typically, these mentions will be written by a customer who has used your services, or by someone seeking reviews of your business.
Occasionally, and unfortunately, they can also be posted by people looking to discredit you or your business with baseless claims.
For all of these reasons, it’s essential to monitor social mentions of your brand and respond accordingly. There are two ways you can do this, manually or automatically.
1. Manual mention monitoring
Manual monitoring involves logging into your social media accounts, going to the search bar and typing in your business name or associated terms.
The results will show any mentions in posts or hashtags. You can then click or tap on the posts and respond if needed (we’ll give you some guidance on this shortly).
The benefit of this method is it’s free to do (apart from your time). The drawback is you have to find the time every day to do it, and also remember to do it.
2. Automated mention monitoring
If you’d prefer someone to take care of the monitoring for you, but you don’t have the budget for an in-house social media expert, you could sign up to an online monitoring service.
There are a number of these to choose from. Popular ones include Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Social Mention, although there are plenty more to choose from.
You enter your business name, product or service names, and social account handles. The tool then automatically monitors social media for mentions 24/7. You’ll receive a notification when a mention is spotted.
Pretty much all of the services have a free trial or free account option. If you sign up for a paid account, which ranges from £10 to £2,500 a month across the different tools, you’ll get more enhanced monitoring and expert support.
For a basic automated option from a company that you likely already have an account with, try using Google Alerts.
What is social mention sentiment analysis?
Social media sentiment analysis is similar to tracking social media mentions, but it goes a step further. Rather than just highlighting when your brand is mentioned, it’s all about delving into what people are saying and how they are emotionally reacting to your brand or campaign.
Social media sentiment analysis, or social listening, has a number of benefits:
- Understand your audience better and what they think of your brand in a real-time way, then adjust your marketing accordingly.
- Deliver proactive customer service by knowing when people aren’t enjoying your service, enabling you to prepare a response.
- Gain clarity on what people like and don’t like about your products and services, then target your weaknesses.
To conduct social media sentiment analysis manually, you can look for positive words (‘love’, ‘awesome’, ‘best’, ‘great’) and negative words (‘hate’, ‘awful’, ‘worst’, ‘bad’) in the posts you find manually.
Or, if you choose to use a social media monitoring service, it will typically have a function that will analyse sentiment for you and issue a report.
Online complaint management systems
To really make sure you’re across all channels and responding to every complaint about your business, you can invest in a complaint management system.
These systems can monitor email, social, web form, live chat, and even telephone complaints – grouping them, grading them and sending them to the right person for a response.
In a small business, that might always be you. But the benefit here is you’ll be able to capture and deal with any negative energy towards your brand before it blows up and causes reputation damage.
You should see these interactions with disgruntled individuals or businesses as an opportunity to turn things around and create a really strong relationship.
Tips on how to respond
When responding to online mentions or complaints, the key is to be yourself and be genuine. If you have a brand (visual identity, tone of voice, mission, vision and values), then ‘being yourself’ is communicating in your tone of voice
If you haven’t done this work yet, then simply speak as you would face-to-face with a customer.
How to respond to negative feedback or complaints
Much as we like to hope we’ll never get negative feedback, the reality is there could always be one or two unhappy customers, no matter how hard you try to make their experience a positive one. Luckily, how you deal with negative feedback and complaints online can be a great advert for your business.
- First, you’ll want to acknowledge the individual’s problem and show that you’re taking it seriously.
- Leave your ego at the door. Be humble, professional and proactive.
- Explain that you want to get the situation sorted and the best way is to speak direct so you can handle it personally.
- Provide contact details if you’re happy to do so, or ask them when the best time is for you to call.
The ultimate goal is to show everyone reading you take complaints seriously and want to fix them, because you’re proud of the service you provide.
How to respond to positive feedback
The way you respond to positive comments comes down to your brand personality.
If you prefer to speak in a serious tone, then a simple thank you and mention of how much pride you take in your work is a good fit.
If you’re known for being a bit more light-hearted, then you can dial up the appreciation with a more emotive response and include an emoji or two.
The key is to make sure you’re responding. This shows the individual and those reading their comment that you care and you take your feedback seriously.
Why responding builds relationships
Monitoring online mentions of your brand has never been more important. Even if you get plenty of work from word-of-mouth, some less than positive online reviews can begin to undo the excellent reputation you’ve worked so hard for.
It doesn’t take a lot of work to monitor online mentions and understand the sentiment towards your brand. Just follow the steps in this guide to get a process in place that works for you.
Not only will monitoring mentions help you deal with complaints, but it will also enable you to leverage all of the positive comments and feedback you receive to reach more potential customers and grow your business.
Mention monitoring FAQs
How can I monitor social media mentions?
There are a couple of ways you can track mentions on the internet. You can manually search for your brand name, product or service names or related terms on social media sites or Google. Or you can sign up with one of a number of online social media mention services that can automate the task for you and issue notifications.
What is the best media monitoring tool?
That depends on what your business needs from a monitoring service. Popular media monitoring tools include Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Social Mention. However, there are many more to choose from and prices, features and support all vary across the different tools.
The best way to find the right media monitoring tool for your business is to read reviews and take advantage of the free trial periods that most offer to check you’re happy before committing to one long-term.
What are online mentions?
Online mentions are when people write something to do with your business somewhere on the internet. This could be your business name, your website domain name, the name of your products or services, or even your own name.
Online mentions can be positive, negative or neutral and can be found on social media platforms, review sites, forums and blogs.
How do you track reviews?
As a business, you should choose a review site on which you want to build your reputation. You simply have to set up an account, then send a link to customers to review your services. The site will notify you when a new review has been written.
To track reviews on other sites, you can either set up a Google Alert that monitors the internet (and specific websites) for a search term, such as your brand name. Or you can use an automated online mention service like Hootsuite or TweetDeck.
How do I keep track of Google reviews?
To keep track of Google reviews, you can set up a business account on Google (or claim your business if a listing already exists). This will allow you to track Google reviews when they land, as you’ll receive a notification.