Those who have the term ‘marketing‘ anywhere in their job title know that the last few years have been an exercise in on-the-job learning, re-educating ourselves about the existence and importance of clicks, impressions, likes, shares, and mentions, to name but a few. Some view the new paradigm in marketing as a minefield to be cautiously navigated, with one misstep meaning the difference between accolades and the unemployment line. The more forward thinking marketers see this vast landscape as a new world, ripe with opportunities to shape and deliver their company’s brand.
Today, we will talk about one opportunity in particular: Brand Mentions. Reading this, you will learn how:
- Brand mentions are one of the most important (and least predictable) components to your marketing strategy.
- To monitor brand mentions.
- To recover customers using genuine brand mention interactions.
- Brand mentions are a great barometer for reputation management.
Start Small, Go Big
First, let’s get this part out of the way: A brand mention is anytime a customer shares information online about your company and directly cites your company’s name in that post, tweet, blog, review, etc. Unsolicited comments, because they are unsolicited, can be one of the biggest drivers of trust your company could receive. Of course, that is if the unsolicited comment is affirmative of your product and/or service. It’s a different story if the comment is negative. (Don’t forget to register your brand on a site like LegalZoom)
The folks over at HelpScout.net put out an excellent and exhaustive list of ‘75 Customer Service Stats and Quotes You Can’t Afford To Ignore‘ that details a lot of things many of us, seemingly intuitively, already know. It also points out some great opportunities for tightening up the service and marketing sides of your business.
For instance, we all know that a bad experience reaches more than twice as many individuals as a good experience. That statistic is all the more damning when you introduce the online space, where individuals have a social reach that typically exceeds what would even be possible from in-person interactions only.
People are out there talking about your company. Do you know what they are saying?
An Ear To The Digital Ground
Knowing people are talking about you but not knowing what they are saying, in our day-to-day lives, can be frustrating. The same situation in the life of our company can be downright dangerous. Learning how to get in on the conversation is the first step to protecting your company, building your brand, and deftly managing its reputation.
Andrew Dennis recently wrote for SearchEngineLand.com an excellent piece about how to best leverage individual brand mentions from a marketing and link-building perspective. In it, he highlighted a handful of great resources that can be used to effectively monitor how it is that your company is being discussed out there in the great big World Wide Web.
Google and their ever-improving algorithms are placing brand mentions and other user-initiated interactions into a more prominent position when it comes to site rankings based on both popularity and authority. It is only fitting that one of the first tools for monitoring your online brand mentions would come from the search engine behemoth, themselves. Even better, Google Alerts are a free option that presents you with e-mailed updates when certain selected terms find their way on to the Internet.
Certain online marketing SAAS platforms, like HubSpot or Mention, offer monitoring alerts that point you to conversations surrounding your brand occurring in real-time. These providers also present brand mentions in terms of actionable analytics, historical performance and relevance, and outreach opportunities.
Now that you know how to find your brand mentions in the online sphere, we can discuss your next steps once you are turned on to a conversation about your brand, both good and bad.
Keep Calm and Communicate On
There is no guarantee now that you have found people having discussions about your brand that you will necessarily like what they have to say. Negative brand mentions are initially off putting, but they present the greatest opportunity to reclaim a dissatisfied customer than in most any other online scenario. We’ll discuss turning negatives into positives shortly.
In a perfect world, every brand mention you encounter would be a glowing validation of your company, its products, and the service you provide. Nurturing positive brand mentions can go a long way to personalizing your company to existing and potential customers, driving brand loyalty through the roof. Positive brand mentions can be favorited, liked, retweeted, shared, posted, etc. Taking just a little extra time to reach out to the individual who took time to mention your company reaffirms to the customer the value which you hold for them. It also provides you with a cost-free avenue to reap the opinions and feedback of your most loyal brand advocates.
Additionally, if a positive brand mention is made on a personal/professional blog or within a news story, you should feel absolutely comfortable with reaching out to the author, site, or publication and proposing link sharing with them. Link sharing between reputable sites builds the online authority of both entities.
Understandably, not every mention of your brand is going to be a glowing endorsement of your company. Remaining unaware of, or willfully ignorant to, negative brand mentions can be perilous, even for large, established brands. Not every negative brand mention is a crisis, however. Remember, the individual who is unhappy is (wait for it) a person. Engage in a personable and respectful dialogue with the individual and you may be surprised at how quickly you can turn that frown upside down. Our human nature drives us not only to want to be heard, but to be heard by the right people. A recovered customer, because of the import you give to their feelings, can often turn into one of your most vocal and supportive brand advocates.
The Theory of Reputation
Today’s “Always On” society has brand marketers working harder, longer, and faster than they did even 10 years ago. Platforms like Yelp!, Facebook, and Twitter, paired with blogs and online publications, have shown us just how fast a customer service fail or marketing misstep can snowball out of control. Providing yourself with the knowledge and tools to proactively protect your brand reputation just makes sense.
For an online marketing strategy to be effective, today’s business owner has to abandon the “set it and forget it” mentality that led many in the early days to pay $1000s to establish a web presence and then let it exist in a purely static state. Active engagement is required in order to build your brand with your customers.
If you have practiced other strategies geared toward reputation management, keep the conversation going and share your experience in the comments section below.
Intellibright was founded to provide their many partners, both mid-sized and large, a recognition of the value in promoting a strong online presence in driving traffic, leads and sales. Our founder, Ron R. Browning, came from top-tier financial services companies where he was singularly responsible for ad spend budgets in excess of $1M. Intellibright provides and maintains fully optimized web presences, based on strict data parameters derived from deep SEO/SEM research, targeted advertising, and regularly updated original content. If you have questions about how Intellibright might help your company with their online marketing needs, call or click today!