Monitoring Brand Conversations: Social Media Best Practices

By on June 1, 2011
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Monitoring the conversations about your business brand is an integral part of your social media strategy. It allows you to communicate with new people, and to a certain extent, dispel any negative press that your business is receiving.

It’s also a great way to let people know that you are part of the social media conversation, and that you care about their opinions. But what are the rules involved when monitoring brand conversations online? Let’s take a look at some best practices.


#1: Listening, Acting and Monitoring

It’s one thing to read endless comments, posts or more about your business – but it all means nothing unless you’re contributing. Therein lies the problem. How do you contribute to the conversation without dominating it? It’s all about being humble, friendly and ready to address concerns. Whether people are saying negative or positive things about your brand, your goal should always be to sound professional and helpful.

That means always being clued in on where and what people are saying. Monitor blog conversations with Google Alerts, Twitter posts with TwitterSearch, message boards with BoardTracker – and closely analyse social bookmarking sites to find people that are speaking about your brand. Once you find them, introduce yourself, and offer them assistance, suggestions or polite conversation.

Don’t under any circumstances be defensive, hostile or accusatory. This only sheds bad light on your business, and on your brand identity. Remember that people’s perceptions of your brand is what gives you brand power these days, and each time you hurt that, you are effectively devaluing your own brand.


#2: Be a Learning Sponge

The whole reason you’re listening in on brand conversation, is to learn from it. Good or bad, the most successful businesses use every last scrap of feedback to improve or better their brand online. While you are interacting, take to heart what people are telling you – even if you don’t like it. Make notes, build relationships and find solutions to the problems that arise as quickly as possible.

Nothing is more satisfying than returning to a heated conversation about your brand, and announcing that you’ve fixed the problem. Score one for your brand identity online! It’s also a good idea to use this market research as a supportive tool in greater market research plans. People that discuss your brand online are usually either really impressed, or horrified, and you can see how uneven that is for research purposes.


#3: Analyze The Places You Monitor

When you can actively see where people are talking about your business the most, you can integrate a plan to work on that site more often. This will change, but your job is to always be around when it does.


#4: Formulate a Monitoring Plan

Once you’ve finalized where to look and how often – you can come up with a check-in strategy to effectively manage those conversations. This means getting to work on creating standard policies for your brand online. What should you or your employees do when something bad is floating around Twitter? What should you do if there’s a massive wave of positive conversation on blogs all around the internet?

Define your policies, come up with plans of action and see them through down to the last letter. If you do this, it’s a great start to implementing social media monitoring best practices for your business.

How do you monitor your brand online and why? We want to know, so leave your comment now!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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