Like it or not, people are already talking about your company and forming opinions about your business and products. A lot of these people have never even bought your service or product. Their opinion is solely based on what others think about your brand.
Just like a wave of positive reviews can tip the scale in your favor and help secure more business, negative comments and public outrage can potentially put the future of your business at risk.
So, what is brand monitoring? It’s an online strategy of systematically collecting data to analyze the online sentiment about your brand. When done right, it gives you insights on what people are saying about your brand and opens doors to engage with your customers. Here’s an example of brand monitoring put to good use.
Back in 2016, British banking giant Barclays introduced a new banking application called PingIt. Overall, the app was very popular and received favorable reviews and comments on social media. However, some customers were leaving negative comments because the app didn’t allow access to people below the age of 18.
This surely was a mistake as Barclays had student accounts and had plenty of soon-to-be-adult customers. Thanks to effective social media brand monitoring, Barclays quickly identified the problem and allowed access to their younger customer base within a week.
By being able to monitor what customers were saying about PingIt, Barclays achieved two very critical goals. Firstly, they prevented the wave of negative comments before it snowballed into a bigger issue. By reacting quickly they also managed to place themselves as a brand that listens to their customers.
Why Startups and Small Businesses Need Brand Monitoring?
If you are an owner of a small local business who has no idea about brand monitoring, then investing in brand monitoring tools can only do you good.
For most local businesses collecting feedback is restricted to customer service calls and interacting with walk-in customers, especially if it’s a brick and mortar. However, customers often leave their opinions on businesses on local listing sites, social media, and other online platforms. Without brand monitoring, small businesses have no way to collect these customer interactions, let alone analyze them, and take proper steps.
Monitoring brand performance also allows you to manage your reputation.
Let’s say you are a owner of a local pizza store with no capability to monitor customer sentiment. Now, while most customers are really happy with the pizzas you serve you somehow unknowingly managed to enrage a single customer. Maybe he or she didn’t like the tone of the delivery guy or maybe you forgot to add topping you added. Mistakes that can be made by even the most reputable pizza place.
A single disgruntled customer can conjure a storm of negative comments on social media. Remember, customers individually have nothing to lose and if they are motivated they can leave comments and ratings on several social media platforms. This can act as the kindling to the social media outrage that eventually impacts business. Without social media experts on your payroll (most local pizza joints don’t hire social media experts), you will remain completely oblivious until it starts affecting your business and you witness a reduction in the number of walk-ins.
So at the very least, brand monitoring for local businesses can help prevent social media outrage by reacting early. They can help family-owned businesses reputed in their respective circles to remain consistent with the brand image that they carefully built over the years.
3 Targets Small Businesses Can Achieve Using Brand Monitoring Tools
Apart from managing your reputation online, brand monitoring tools can help businesses achieve a long list of goals. Here are a few of them that apply to startups and small local businesses.
Quick Customer Service Resolutions: Customers often go to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social channels to communicate directly with a company. This is usually when they are delighted with the service or product or when they are unhappy. In both cases, a swift response is critical. Businesses can use brand monitoring tools such as SparkCentral to direct these messages to their customer service team. The tool collects customer requests, inquiries, and complaints on social media and makes them accessible from a single platform.
Identifying Customer Need: Customers will often express what’s wrong with the industry in which your business operates. From areas of improvements to useful suggestions, these can you zero in on the ever-changing need of your customer base. Using these data points businesses can either tweak their existing products or launch new ones.
Local Competition Monitoring: Brand monitoring can also be effectively used to spy on what the competitors are doing. Are they doing something differently that’s helping them gain loyal customers? Are they making mistakes that your business should learn from? Monitoring local competitors also allows you to compare how their social media campaigns and marketing tactics are performing with respect to yours.
Monitoring your brand is not only important for big businesses but they are equally relevant for small firms. It can help you give you an edge over your competitors who are yet to adopt brand monitoring. It can also help your business grow and evolve by gathering customer feedback and analyzing customer sentiment.
It’s important to hire a professional marketing company that specializes in brand monitoring and can recommend tools that apply to your business.
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