Make sure they are talking about you - But in a nice way!
The arrival of Web 2.0, has unleashed a proliferation of interactive channels and opportunities for increasing your brand's reach. But how do you get heard above the chatter of the global marketplace? And how can you protect your brand's reputation when so much of that interaction is between customers and other parties beyond your control?
The answer is to monitor the web and seek out the forums and networking sites where people discuss your products. By interacting with them you can find out what they think about your brand, what they like about it and what they want from it. You can also monitor rival brands and position yourselves as an alternative.
How do You Monitor your Brand On-line?
The tools for monitoring your brand online are freely available to anyone. Google Alerts can notify you when and where your business or brand name is being used on the web. Although this is sufficient for many, it won't pick up all mentions on the web, and even the reports you get can involve several days' delay. For complete, up to date coverage you should monitor and collate from additional sources.
For small businesses and private individuals the volume of information generated by monitoring will be manageable. However, larger companies or famous individuals will face a mountain of data, all of which will need to be filtered and categorised in order to assess what it all means for your brand, and where any urgent actions are required. The right tools are required to facilitate this and report in a meaningful way.
What do you do with All this Info?
Once you have the information you can use it to deal with any negatives and accentuate the positives. Your strategy will depend on the nature and source of the content. If a less than happy customer posts a comment on a blog or forum, you can intervene directly to deal with their issue, or maybe correct a misinformed statement.
More serious criticism may need vigorous intervention, either by getting the comment removed or at least get relegated in the search engines behind more positive comments or by notifying the ISP. You could even seek full legal redress by launching a case for defamation. However such actions would require careful consideration in conjunction with lawyers familiar with the ways of the internet.
On a more positive note, finding out where your products and services are being discussed may show you profitable ways to further promote your brand. Such a strategy requires care, however. Many people cherish the independence of the internet and overt sales messaging doesn't play well on some forums or social networks.