You want to know what people are saying about your brand. Perhaps it’s particular products or services too. There are three main channels you’ll definitely want to monitor when managing your brand’s reputation online which are: Social Media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Market Places (i.e. Amazon, eBay and Alibaba).
There are some impressive tools out there to help you do this but what exactly you should be looking for? For each of the named channels mentioned above, here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to focus on:
A sudden spike in traffic means your brand is suddenly getting a lot of attention. This could be planned or unplanned, either way you need to know and you will want to monitor it.
Planned – Usually a positive uplift due to a campaign you’re running which is predesigned. This could be in response to an email campaign, a social media campaign, Advertising, PR or all of the above. The John Lewis advert from 2015 did monitor their success and you can see some of the results here
Unplanned – Less likely to be positive but could still be due to a good piece of PR which has finally found its way to the main stream press. More of a concern, and perhaps more likely, is what could be considered as a major crisis that needs addressing ASAP. How will you know if you’re not monitoring Social Media? If the crisis happens on a Friday evening then by the time Monday morning comes round, it may well be far too late. Social Media moves fast, too fast to keep up if you’re not watching it.
Read the Eurostar article here
Sentiment helps determine whether people are angry at your brand or whether they’re talking about your brand with affection. Words and phrases like ‘hate’, ‘rip off’ and ‘fed up’ are all indicators something may be awry. This, along with an uplift in traffic, is an indication that your brand is being talked about negatively. The image below shows a positive sentiment ratio 21:1 for the keyword ‘NATO’ (in Latvian) during a NATO exercise in Latvia
Account type and numbers – A sudden uplift in the number of Twitter Accounts in a geographic location is an indicator in itself that perhaps something is about to happen, or is happening. To be ignorant means you cannot plan a response. ‘Information is power’ and having pre-defined scenarios with pre-approved responses is extremely powerful. Before Russia moved in to take the Crimea in 2014, there was a substantial increase in new Russian Twitter accounts created. If you would like more information on this please contact us.
Competitors – It is not just your brand you should consider monitoring. You can also monitor competitor brands. In this way you can determine their weakness and where there is a clear gap in the market where you can win market share.
Links – As well as traffic, you can monitor the links that are sending the traffic to a website. You can do this for your own website and your competitors.
This is important for two reasons; 1) links improve the ranking of a website in the search engine results like Google and Yandex, and 2) they can also indicate whether the number of links pointing to a website are ‘natural’ or ‘un-natural’. In the case of Gillian McKeith, there was some negative media which had a number of un-natural links evidence that a concerted effort (which would have required funding) was in play.
It should also be noted that your website might be acquiring links it does not want. For example, it is deemed good SEO practice to have some outgoing links as well as incoming links. Online gambling sites will send out links for this reason, those links go to other websites that will suffer due to their spammy nature. Another example is porn sites linking to your site, because you sell awesome nail art, search engines don’t like porn sites and this can negatively affect your nail art website ranking.
Search Engine Ranking Position (SERP) – Keeping an eye on the SERP for pre-defined keywords or key phrases enables you to track change and measure success of your own media and website portfolio. If you perform well in the SERPs you will want to protect your position and be aware of any efforts to dismantle you from it.
Blogs & Forums – are key to providing links to more mainstream websites because it is telling search engines your website is being ‘talked about’ and therefore trending. Nurturing and acquiring links improves better SERP. This in turn promotes your articles and online exposure to the digital community. As a brand you will want to know whether the blogs and forum conversations are favourable and which one’s are not being favourable so you can build a strategy to address any potential issues.
Click to Impressions Ratio – Impressions are the number of times your website is presented in search engine results. The more your website and its content is presented in search results means the greater exposure it has to the online audience. The click to impression ratio will define whether your audience finds your content relevant or interesting.
Price – Just to be clear anti-competition law dictates you are not allowed to fix your pricing. However, it is important to note that maintaining your brand reputation online means you need to ensure your pricing strategy isn’t diluted when it comes to market places.
Sellers – You may not want your brand to appear on Amazon. It is therefore imperative you know who is selling your products on market places. Often brands will operate as ‘ghost’ brands online. For example: The Nutri Centre used to operate a store called Ultimate Health. This was so they would not dilute their main customer-facing brand with cheap pricing, but still have access to over 20 million ‘active’ shoppers* in the UK who use Amazon.
Content – Often your brands and products may not be properly presented on market places. The content and the images could be awful. The good news is you can control your Intellectual Property on market places. Even better is that eBay and Amazon take it very seriously.
Reviews – Product reviews are paramount to sales on market places. Many consumers base their purchasing decision on reviews…and who can blame them. However, it is fair to say that often products are misunderstood; consumers don’t take the time to understand how, when and where they should be used and leave negative feedback. Accumulating positive reviews is not as difficult as you might think. Negative reviews can also be extremely informative and particularly useful for improving a products performance.
Customer Feedback – This one is for sellers on market places. You can turn around your customer feedback score. Relton Associates has turned 92% to 100% in less then 4 months. Customer Service metrics are not product based, but delivery and service focused as shown in the image below.
In essence – listening to what is being said about your brand and understanding what your customers want can help you formulate a marketing plan which is absolutely ‘spot-on’. An impressive marketing campaign which addresses stigmas or issues because you’ve done the correct research can afford you the admiration of your target audience and help you win them back. With this in mind, I’ll just leave this image here:
* taken from Amazon’s own website in 2016, the content on this page has now changed but can be viewed here