One of the worst feelings as a small business owner or marketer is to realize your brand has been getting negative attention and you didn’t know about it.
Let’s say you finally get around to checking your TripAdvisor page and find that you had some customers who weren’t too happy. You would have loved to respond to them in a pleasant way to show your understanding and attempt to bring them back for another try.
However, you’re several years too late. The damage cannot be fixed, and who knows how many potential customers have used that negative review as a deciding factor in taking their business somewhere else.
Monitoring Tools You Can Use
So, how do you find out what people are saying about you in a timely manner? And when you do find out, what should you do about it?
How to be aware:
- Paid Apps – There are several good apps online that can help you out. Almost all the better ones are going to cost money. Trackur is the best one I’ve come across, but it’s pricey, $97 a month for the least expensive plan. It could be cheaper, though, than hiring an outside firm, and will save a ton of time.Topsy and Sprout Social are similar services. These apps offer free trials so you can try them to see if they’ll be helpful enough to purchase.
- Free Sites – There are some decent free social trackers out there, but the results aren’t nearly as good. You can try Socialmention.com, but it will often come up with outdated information or information about other people or organizations. Try putting quotes around your keywords for better results.
- Google Alerts – This is a classic resource, and for good reason. You can set it up to email your results as they happen.
- Search Manually – I know it’s not fun, but sometimes you have to just go looking. Check common review sites, like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and the reviews on your Google Maps page. Set yourself a calendar reminder to check once a week and do a Google search.
How you go about monitoring mentions also depends on your business. A company like CJ Pony Parts that sells Ford Mustang Parts isn’t going to have a TripAdvisor page, but they can search classic car forums and other car sites to read what people are saying about them.
What to do about it:
- When to respond – A common way of thinking is to only respond when something’s wrong. It’s nice to get in there and do some damage control, but don’t ignore the people who are raving about your product. Re-tweet them, thank them, and ask them how they’re enjoying it. They’ll love the attention and become an even bigger fan.
- How to respond – It’s easy to jump to the defensive if someone is bashing your company. As tempting as it is, avoid trying to prove them wrong, insisting that their food really was warm enough, or saying they would have gotten better service if they weren’t so rude in the first place. Be positive. Let them know you’re sorry they had a bad experience and offer to fix it, by giving a discount on their next purchase, or completely replacing the item. Give them your email address or phone number so they know they can reach out to a real person. You’d be amazed at how many will contact you, become repeat customers, and delete their original complaint.
- The Delete Key – If someone posts on your own social media site, it can be easy to just delete it. However, be careful, as some will take this as the ultimate insult and go on a rampage of bashing your brand all over the Internet. If the comment is obviously spambot from an automated computer, then simply delete it. Always respond to legitimate comments and try to rectify their problems.
Make monitoring your brand online a priority. Use apps, free sites, and Google to find what others are saying, and then respond appropriately. You’ll be surprised at how quickly good customer service translates into repeat sales and increased profits.