Drew's Note: As I try to do on many a Friday (or Thanksgiving Wednesday!), I'm pleased to bring you a guest post. Meet a thought leader who shares his insights every day. So without further ado…Todd Hogan.
Monitoring your brand online can be a serious effort – the number of channels and outlets you need to track, the anonymity of potential brand attackers or even promoters, the speed with which fallacious information can spread and ruin the value of what would have once been a carefully planned and thoughtful brand approach.
It all makes for a challenge if you want to build your brand and not watch it be built for you (to either your detriment OR benefit). I think that's what Drew was talking about in this post re: fear.
To do a good job keeping abreast of your brand and promoting your brand's champions or quickly responding to brand threats, you could use paid real time monitoring services like biz360 or radian6. They make sense if you do have a very large brand – they can be great tools. But what if you aren't ready to spend the big bucks yet still want to influence the direction your brand is taking online?
At real time search engines like Surchur (here are some others for you to check out) you can track the majority of what you'd find on the elite brand monitoring services – all for free. Here are 3 tips to using a real time search engine to keep your brand image well above board:
Daily monitoring: Because the real time web is just that – real time – and it moves very quickly, waiting a week or two to check on your brand can be a disaster.
It's much better to respond to a potential threat with a real conversation (a topic for another post) immediately rather than weeks after a comment, tweet or post has lambasted your latest campaign. Enter your brand in a real time search engine a la this Nike example and see your brand as it is happening on the web. You'll likely be surprised where your brand is turning up.
Keep on top of all media types: Blogs, tweets, news, videos – they can all be an outlet for customer expression, and a place for your brand to find life or possibly get squeezed.
That's why we recommend you do more than just look at Twitter Search or your favorite blog search engine. Your customers will communicate according to their preferences and never fit into the neat little box we'd all like. Make sure to find a real time search approach that gives you a view on as many online methods as possible.
Automate the process: Though many of us can be disciplined and take the time everyday to check our brand, it helps to put in place an automatic method for being brand informed.
If your favorite real time search engine has an RSS feed you can follow add that to your favorite RSS reader or homepage like Netvibes. Make that your start page so that every time you open your browser you'll get the chance to see how you?re being talked about on the web. You can see an example at surchur using our previous example of Nike by visiting this link and see how quickly you can get a summary with a feed reader or feed enabled homepage.
Take your brand seriously and build it by managing the real time discussions that are taking place about you – not letting your worst detractors destroy your image with a few random tweets, posts or comments. Also with Surchur's newly released social platform it's easier for our users to influence the search results by voting or commenting — engage the surchur community to vote your brand up and establish yourself as a positive contributor on the social web.
Todd Hogan is the founder of surchur.com and builds and manages a large portfolio of social media and search websites in collaboration with designers and developers around the world.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com