How to Monitor What Others Are Saying About Your Brand

monitor brand mentions

Monitor your mentions

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 You can try Socialmention.com, but it will often come up with outdated information or information about other people or organizations.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 respondA 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 respondIt’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.

Monitor brand scott huntingtonScott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and social media enthusiast. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington. 

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Comments

  1. Agree completely that it’s essential to monitor what others say about you. Personally use Google Alerts.

    When it comes to responding the same thing applies to this as to everything you write on social media i.e. search engines record everything and forget nothing. There are no set rules for when and how to reply – or not reply. It varies from case to case. But getting on the defensive is a no-no.

  2. Great advice and it can’t be repeated too often. Brands do amazing things for businesses, but they are also fragile. If you don’t manage and track them all the time it’s easy for them to get damaged by neglect. When you consider how much harm can be done if your brand gets tarnished, it seems ridiculously easy to monitor it with the tools mentioned above.

  3. Nice post, Scott – thanks for hosting this guest, Jeannette!

    I use good old Google alerts… however, it’s hard when your brand is your name; i mean – nobody really says my whole name when talking about me and there are so many Dianas out there LOL

    On a more serious note – online reputation management is of crucial importance – i am surprised why so many businesses don;t see that way (yet). I agree with your tips and advice, Scott – but it is not always so black and white.

    There are sometimes cases when there is a person who is intentionally mean for no reason – they just like to argue and badmouth you or anybody. We should learn to spot those people and while we still need to address such comments – we should do so trying to acknowledge the complaint and end the conversation because otherwise, the rant would just feed itself.

    The more you respond and try to explain or compensate, the more powerful the person would feel and the worse things he would say – and the whole situation would turn into a fiasco simply because the person has bad intentions and there’s nothing on earth you could do to put a positive spin on it 😀

    Bottom line – choose your battles. Sometimes it’s best if you just say you are sorry they had bad experience, offer to fix it and don’t engage further…

    • Great points, Diana! I’m actually in the middle of writing an article about some of that… how some people are just looking for a fight. You’re right, no matter how you respond (even if you’re 100% correct) there’s no changing their mind.

  4. Good advice, Scott. I like reading about the monitoring tools.

    I had a conversation with a business owner yesterday – he seems to prefer to avoid social media. I did not think that was a good idea, but I did not convince him. I’ll need some new arguments/convincing ideas.

    • Some people just won’t listen no matter what you tell them, but I’d suggest looking up some success stories and showing them to him, explaining how social media can make them money. When you put it in $$$’s, that will often help them understand!

  5. That is such a good point, Dan. A lot of people think they’re doing the right thing by defending themselves on TripAdvisor, when really they’re just hurting themselves even more. There’s an art on how to respond!

  6. Good reminders Scott. I also think we need to look at the context of any mentions, especially complaints instead of jumping in to reply. Today you can’t ignore monitoring and I am surprised that some companies still don’t. After all when you think about it is is very cheap market research.

    • Hi Susan. Yeah, it’s always good to look at the context before you respond. I’ve also found that on TripAdvisor it’s helpful to go and look at other reviews they’ve posted. Sometimes you’ll find that they ONLY go online to blast negative reviews!

    • Susan — Interesting to consider both bad and good comments as market research. That’s exactly what it is — you’re getting feedback from the marketplace.

  7. This was a very good reminder for me to review what others may be saying about my brand, good or bad. Both offer opportunities to find improvement or to know how I’m being viewed. You just never know. Not taking a little time to monitor that could be a serious mistake for sure. 🙂

  8. I find it interesting that we worry so much how our site looks but forget to monitor what others are saying about us. At the moment I use Google alerts, but I think it is a good investment to try Trackur. As they say if someone is doesn’t like something they will tell 100 people and if they do they will tell one person. It is so important to nip negative comments in the bud.

    I have noticed that on TripAdvisor for example if someone had a bad experience at a hotel, it impresses me that the management took the time to respond. Unless everyone had a bad experience, I will ignore it and think I am impressed that the management took the time to respond. Good can be done by responding to negative comments.

    Enjoyed this post

    • Arleen — I use Google alerts for myself and clients. But I notice, strangely enough, that Google doesn’t pick up everything said about you or your company. In fact, I find Google misses a lot.

  9. I love Google alerts and because my brand, as an author, for me this is especially germane. Particularly when it comes to book reviews, but those can be difficult to manage. I had a very bad review of my book posted by someone I knew whose intentions were to hurt me. Thankfully, Amazon removed the post…without my even contacting them…with a warning to the comment-er that essentially said…’these reviews are for the book; they are not to be used to launch personal attacks on any author. Your post has been removed.’ Sometimes when it’s out of your control, it’s nice to know that somebody else might step up.

    • Jacquie — I didn’t know that Amazon monitors reviews that closely. It’s comforting for authors to know that Amazon has their backs and will remove personal attacks which, of course, they should.

    • Hi Jacqueline! I thought I had replied to you yesterday, but I guess it didn’t go through. Sorry about the late response! Yeah, that’s awesome that Amazon keeps tabs on things like that. Pretty scary that your competitors can post negative reviews about you and most of the time get away with it. I’ve also seen some places look really fishy about posting fake positive reviews about themselves.

  10. I’ve only used Google alerts up to this point, and it comes in very handy that’s for sure. At least with JeriWB and Jeri Walker-Bickett as alerts I don’t have to weed through results for people with the same name. I’ve found though that many of my guest posts never get picked up and report back to me an alert. I wonder if they means the sites aren’t being crawled by Google?

  11. I am a little amazed that people would not monitor what people are saying about their brand. It is make or break, so using these tools to gather the information and respond accordingly is absolutely necessary.

    • Good call Becc. Although, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t even monitor their own brand’s Facebook page. I constantly seen unanswered questions… even simple things like “Are you open Saturday?” Gotta answer that stuff!

  12. When do you know if a negative comment should be ignored? For example, what do you do when you’re being trolled? When is it okay to delete a comment rather than stoop to the level of the attacker?

    • Rebekah — If the negative comment has merit — it’s a service issue that should be addressed — then it’s in your best interests to respond to the comment. But if the comment is simply meant to trash the company, or is a personal attack on an individual, then I would delete the comment. You don’t want to give someone a platform who doesn’t deserve it.

      • Thanks for your prompt reply! That makes sense. It might be tempting to get lured into a back-and-forth battle with someone trying to disparage you, but I’m sure the last thing you’d want is prospective customers seeing that on your social media page.

    • I think you have to monitor it on a case-by-case basis. I’ll often click on the person’s name and see if they’re trolling around other places or if it’s someone that has a genuine problem. Sometimes it can be pretty easy, as in they’re blasting your comment section with “I made $2000 a week from working at home, see how you can at http://www.spam.com

      You never want to start arguing with the negative commenter though. That’s what they usually want, and it will just blow up.

  13. Hi Scott and Jeannette,
    Being aware of our online reputation is critical and it’s something that we need to be conscious of. Like others here, I rely on Google Alerts. I agree with you that for those businesses that sell products and services that are reviewed, you have to check sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp. I also agree that there’s nothing like doing a manual search every once in a while to see what people are saying.

    • Thanks for the comment, Sherryl! I’ve also found it can be interesting to do a Google image search, especially if you’ve created your own content. I found images I own all over the internet; many times the sites claimed them as their own!