Please note, this post was written by Catherine Pryce before she left the company.
What is buzz monitoring?
A buzz monitoring tool allows you to quickly identify where your brand name is being mentioned online and by whom. The same tools can be used to track keywords associated with your products, services or competitors, as well as any other words or phrases associated with your industry.
Google Alerts is an example of a very basic buzz monitoring tool but it has its limitations compared to the more sophisticated tools now available, such as Radian6 for example.
Why is buzz monitoring important?
Social networks, blogs, forums and review sites offer an open invitation for prospects and customers to say both positive and negative things about your company, depending on their experience in dealing with you. You cannot control what is being said; there is no point in trying. Instead, you should view these conversations as opportunities. Those spreading positive messages about you need to be nurtured; they are your brand advocates. Unhappy customers are offering valuable feedback that you might not otherwise have heard allowing you to learn and improve.
It is also important to consider that any content mentioning your company name, whether it is created by you or your customers, is likely to be found in search engine results. Furthermore, this is increasingly in real-time with information from Twitter, for example, found at the top of the search results page.
Therefore, if a disgruntled customer vents their anger on Twitter, it will not only be seen by their followers on this specific social network but may also feature in Google’s actual search results! Therefore, these days, search engine optimisation (SEO) involves monitoring and managing your reputation just as much as it involves the traditional optimisation factors, such as keywords and links.
What can you monitor?
Buzz monitoring tools continuously scan online spaces, including blogs, forums and social networks, such as Twitter for mentions of specified search terms and phrases, for example your company name. This allows you to quickly and efficiently discover the following…
- The websites where your audience is most active; allowing you to dedicate your time and resource to the right blogs, forums and social networks
- Your brand advocates; these are the customers spreading positive messages about your company to their network of friends, peers and social contacts. Being aware of, and engaging with these people, presents a multitude of benefits
- Negative sentiment; unfortunately, you can’t satisfy every customer and neither will you get it right every time. Disgruntled customers are increasingly turning to blogs, forums, review sites and social networks to share their experiences, which in turn can be seen by hundreds, maybe thousands of others. Engaging with these people and putting things right (in a very open and public manner) can reap rewards for forward thinking companies
- Sales opportunities; imagine if you could be alerted every time somebody was looking for information or advice on a product or service you sell. Being alerted in this way allows you to respond with useful information to answer a prospects question, which in turn helps position you as an expert. With the right approach this can have a positive impact on leads and sales
- The conversations happening around your industry; by understanding the desires, issues and concerns faced by your target audience you can in turn create useful content, which again helps position you as an expert or authority
What you must consider is that prospects and customers ARE talking online about your business or at the very least about your industry. The use of a buzz monitoring tool allows you to see these conversations as they happen, which in turn allows you to react and contribute to what’s being said. Buzz monitoring tools are infinitely more powerful than Google Alerts as they are more thorough and work in real-time alerting you to the conversations happening right now.
It is also worth adding that buzz monitoring should form one part of a properly planned social media strategy. In particular, guidelines and policies should be established for responding to comments, good and bad.
Next time, I’ll be exploring the problems that companies encounter with buzz monitoring tools when they have a generic company name, such as ‘Boots’.’