Building a brand is just like earning a reputation where you need to prove you’re trustworthy again and again until people actually start listening to you. Whether you’re building a personal brand, a product brand, or you’re doing branding for a company, you’re in for a long-term commitment.
“Markets are conversations” — cluetrain manifesto
But the marketing landscape has changed. If once media channels were crowded by companies striving to deliver their branded messages to their customers, now those same customers have the upper hand in the social media bubble.
Quoting Scott Cook: “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is”
I know what you’re thinking. We digital marketers have a passion for high-growth stories and cool hacks, so you’re telling yourself you can probably “fake it till you make it”. A little bit of buzzword-filled advertising campaigns. Some fancy interview articles. A corporate blog. And that’s it.
Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
These techniques are the same mass communication techniques used by traditional media titans, that ultimately ended up like the dinosaurs. If you think you can simply fool your customers into believing that your product is good and your brand trustworthy, you’re wrong.
(Just think about the last time you checked tripadvisor, amazon, ebay, for reviews)
The best way to estabilish your reputation in the field it’s trough content. But content is just a mean to an end. This end is improving the customer’s life. In fact, you should put value (aka solving a customer problem) at the center of every single interaction that the customer faces with your brand. Switch from being product-centric to being customer-centric to drive value!
Then, you should have a continuous kpi-driven monitoring process to keep an eye on where you’re at and how your reputation is growing.
These are the 3 foundamental steps you can follow to run a quick test to evaluate your business brand reputation.
- Looking for direct mentions of your brand among social conversations
- Analyzing the entity of those mentions
- Design an action plan and start intervening
First things first: let’s see who’s talking about you, defining your brand reputation. The simplest thing would be to take a look at the mentions of your brand on social media. But you would be missing every single message that’s not tagging you properly (a simple “@” makes all the difference in the world!). That’s why you should use a Social Media Monitoring tool to deepen your scope and get under your radar even those who aren’t mentioning you directly.
Quick Tip: if you want to have broader view over your competitors, you could do a careful selection of them, explore their mentions too, and have a glimplse of the share of voice in your niche.
KPIs of this phase:
- N° of brand mentions
- Quality of brand mentions (sentiment, etc.)
- Share of Voice
The second step is to go a step further into analyzing the data. Right now you should be looking for patterns. Remember that you are here to get actionable insights on how to improve your business brand reputation. The idea is to start with an helicopter view of the data, and then go deep and laser focused on single segments, attitudes, personas. How do you do that? Well, considering engagement metrics along as those mentions.
What kind of content are they creating or engaging with, when they talk about you? How do other people interact with those mentions? Are those messages generating conversations around you? And what’s the mood there?
KPIs of this phase:
- N° of interactions
- Types of interactions (like / comment / share / click on link)
- Quality of interactions (sentiment in comments)
- Audience demographics
- Audience interests
Now it’s time for some action!
The insights you’ve gathered so far can be awesome material to integrate within your marketing plan and customer service procedures. For example you could start actively engaging opinion leaders for future influencer marketing campaigns. You could revise your content distribution plan to better reach those who appreciate it better. You could focus on crisis management where you’re reputation is weaker. You could decide to be more present on some social media channels (where mentions are frequently happening) and deliver real time customer delightment.
A final recommendation: don’t mindlessly measure every single thing. Ask yourself how each of the previous kpis relates to your current business goals. Stick to a meaningful plan based on what you want to achieve. Remember that measuring takes time, but data is good only as much as it is actionable. Choose the wrong kpis and you might actually slow down both your growth and your team.
No matter how big is your company: when done right, Social Media Monitoring is an activity that pays for itself by letting you calculate clear ROI for each action, bringing immediate results. Here’s a FREE set of success stories that will inspire your next strategies.
You’ll find a brief selection of case studies, and for each, a list of takeaways. Each takeaway is an actionable tip that you can apply, starting today, to the way you do marketing on social media.