Social media has presented a unique opportunity for direct customer engagement that is unlike anything we have seen before. Face to face or phone communication were once the norm, and then came email. But social media is direct, very personal, and the perfect chance to deal with conflicts and promote a brand at the same time.
With that opportunity comes a certain level of risk, however. Unhappy customers and even competition can slander your name in an instant, with nothing more than a single post. More than once a brand has found themselves scrambling to deal with a problem that spiraled into a disaster, thanks to the access of users to one another through social websites.
From Conflicts To Disasters
One great example of this is the infamous Dominoes Pizza scandal in 2009. Two employees at a branch in North Carolina posted a video on YouTube of them doing disgusting things to food that was to be sent out to customers. The video immediately gained traction and was passed all over the internet through sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Even though it had reached viral status, Dominoes was slow to respond. By the time they began to react, the video had been viewed by more than a million people. As they were releasing statements, the press had gotten hold of the story and the video became even more popular. Customers began to second guess the company and sales dropped overnight.
This case is only one of many that show companies being too slow on the uptake. Because even if you jump on a conflict before it becomes an epic disaster, you are still doing things the wrong way. Every brand should be monitoring their reputation before these problems occur.
The Positives Of Brand Monitoring
Social media isn't just good for alerting companies to problems. They are also a good way to engage positively with customers. One brand that knows the value of this process is Taco Bell. They don't just look out for problems to deal with. Their Twitter account goes looking for any mentions of themselves, full stop.
Once they find these comments, they happily reply. Often these are witty, sarcastic, or heart felt comments that get more retweets than almost any other brand on Twitter. They are the perfect example of doing things the right way.
Tools For Monitoring Brand Mentions
There are a lot of tools out there that do this, and you can find them with a simple Google search. But there are two new kids on the block that are getting some attention. While they haven't been around long, they are definitely worth checking out.
Mention is not just a social media monitor. It is an app that connects all of your devices so you can monitor your brand at home, at the office, on the go... anywhere - which means an immediate reaction from you and anyone else in your agency.
Great for startups in particular, it is a convenient alternative to bulkier social media dashboards that are more about analytics than brand mentions. Here's a sample of their email alert:
They have an interesting pricing structure, with free, lite ($6.99), Pro ($19.99), or enterprise ($64.99), all on a monthly invoice.
But that just covers a single user, so each person in your company who is monitoring will have to have their own account. The positive to this is that most services like this have a bulk number that costs a lot more that you probably don't need. This way you get the features you need, for only the number of people who need them, for a lower price.
This is a much simpler (free) tool. You have Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as options. You put in the names, keywords, and then specify what you want monitored (links, status, photos or videos). You can get both analytics and mentions, and it will alert you via email when there is a mention.
Their email updates look pretty neat as well:
Do you know of any good tools for monitoring brand mentions? Have an example of someone doing it wrong, or right? Let us know in the comments!
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Ann Smarty is a blogger and SEO consultant and professional blogger. Check out Ann's personal project My Blog Guest - the forum meant to connect guest bloggers to blog owner for plenty of mutual benefits. Ann also provides guest blogging services.