Brand perception is everything online. Understanding what consumers in your category think of your brand (and what they think of your competitors) will help you head off all kinds of crises. Social listening captures brand passion and tons of other relevant chatter to create a complete picture and help protect your brand’s health!
Step 1: Understanding How Posts Affect Brand Health
Those who love or hate your brand have lots to say about it online. And understanding how that conversation typically looks when everything is “normal” is important. This way, you’ll have something to benchmark against if/when disaster strikes.
There are key Attributes, Emotions and Behaviors you’ll want to monitor:
Not to mention, the overall Net Sentiment (a score from -100 to 100) your brand is generating online:
But how does this look when your competitors are thrown in the mix?
Step 2: Reviewing Competitor Conversation
Why bother with competitor conversation when you’re focusing on brand health? Every brand faces challenges, and learning from a competitor’s mistakes is preventative too. And it not only helps you avoid similar struggles, but allows you to identify competitor weaknesses. Weaknesses that you may be able to turn to your advantage.
Clicking on any word in the Attributes, Emotions or Behaviors above, for example, any brand has access to another brand’s public sentiment data. It’s all there for your analysis and informed action. The same can be done with Popular Items (including terms, hashtags, people and emojis) and Influencers:
But you can – and should – get more proactive than reactive, by having a handle on the big picture.
Step 3: Competitor Comparisons to Support Brand Health
And when you want a better comparison between your brand and others, you can create side-by-side comparisons to do exactly that.
Each column (below) displays top insights filtered by a selected theme, tag, or product hierarchy. You can add up to 10 matrixed items, and use the Mentions or Posts toggle to focus on either posts or mentions when analyzing and exporting:
And can click an insight to view metric summaries and sound bite samples:
Brand passion is another amazing way to view where you stand on multiple fronts:
A passion index offers a great visual of where your brand stands in the competitive mix.
But – before we get too wrapped up in the big picture, let’s drop back down to the basics. And nothing is more basic than customer care.
Step 4: Brand Health Protection 101: Identify Customer Care Issues
When exploring what people are saying about your brand/category (Step 1), you likely found lots to consider. How do you know which items to pursue and which to take under advisement to watch for future developments?
The share of voice a conversation item is capturing is one indicator, of course. As is understanding who is driving the conversation.
But don’t let customer service reactions be your only online activity here. The loudest, most aggressive voices can be a huge distraction if you let them. Though sometimes those voices can also be a saving grace.
For example, UK clothing brand, Oh Polly, made waves in May for creating a separate Instagram account for its plus-sized models. The response online was swift and severe as it was picked up by popular YouTuber and online influencer, Alissa Ashley:
The brand’s separate Instagram has been shuttered and the brand immediately apologized, but imagine if it hadn’t been spotted and shared by an influencer. Would the conversation have been as obvious to Oh Polly?
The rumbling and growing discontent would have been evident in a Next Generation AI-powered social analytics tool, but likely invisible otherwise. And this is the sort of flub that should give brand managers a cold sweat.
Identifying ubiquitous issues and resolving those will cut down the customer services complaints dramatically. This will make the rest of it much more manageable. And it will help you notice when something out of the ordinary is on the rise.
Customer care really just scratches the surface of what you need to understand about brand conversation though. As mentioned, you need to take a much more proactive approach. You do this by understanding the Love.
Step 5: What Do Customers Love About Your Brand?
It’s tempting to focus on challenges and spend your online time speaking to those, but that would be a mistake. There’s likely lots you’re doing well online, and doing more of that makes sense too!
Remember, you want to create an experience that supports potential consumers lifestyle. You’re not just selling a product or service to some random person, you’re creating value. Listen to what people love and become part of that experience.
And the only way you can do that is by understanding what that value is and effectively communicating it to your audiences. Influencers are great for this . . .
Step 6: Make Love Connections to Support Brand Health
Finding powerful voices online and creating partnerships with these folks is important. You may not have anything you want them to “sell” for you, but having them boost your brand image can be much more powerful in the long-run.
The agreement with an unofficial influencer may be one that offers a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties.
If you become known as the brand that saves puppies or supports marginalized communities, it creates an uphill battle for detractors to surmount if/when they attempt to smear you. It’s an influencer insurance policy, of sorts.
Social listening can provide lots of opportunities for empowering possibilities, or to just uncover something a celebrity may like about your brand.
For example, exploring Disney sentiment, they may be interested in what folks are labeling their favorite things – and which posts are resonating with other Disney lovers. It’s neat to see that Taylor Swift’s favorite ride is Space Mountain – that’s a potential partnership. And keeping an eye on Kim Possible for a potential “girl power” reimagining may not be a bad idea.
But the thing is, neither of these will be immediately obvious. (Well, a Taylor Swift collaboration might be!)
And celebrity pairings aside, you’ll capture amazing intel in real-time, but you’ll want to follow specific trends to see where they lead or you’ll be jumping from one thing to the next without creating any real value for your brand. And certainly not anything that helps protect its long-term brand health, and that should always be in the back of your mind, regardless of the intel-gathering purpose.
Step 7: Keep a Close Watch on Brand Health Over Time
Much like a New Year’s Day resolution, many brands set out to protect brand health with the best intentions and let things slip as they’re lulled in to a false sense of safety. But brand crises are never convenient, nor expected. Constant, close watch of conversations, trends, who is talking and where they’re saying it – all of that is a brand’s best line of defense.
In NetBase, you can set alerts to make you mindful of shifts, spikes and dips – but devoting time to exploring social sentiment visualizations around your brand each day is time well spent. We very clearly show you what is happening, in real-time, but logging in to look is a must!
Reach out and we’ll show you how it’s done.