If you don’t know what you are doing, measuring your brand online is like sticking a finger in the air and trying to gauge the direction of the wind. It just isn’t as easy as it looks. However, once you understand the tools required to make it happen, brand monitoring becomes 2nd nature. The trick then, is knowing what to monitor and how to do it.
In the past, people relied on Google alerts to send notifications of brand mentions, which usually came in the form of links. Although this is a great way to measure trackbacks and general sentiment, I don’t feel that it offers a complete picture. Not only that, but the results are delayed, meaning that if you get trashed on a forum or in a blog post, then you won’t be able to react until it’s too late. This is why Twitter is changing the way the game is played.
With Twitter, you can track your brand mentions in real time, using a variety of excellent tools. You can track via keyword or hashtag along with the standard mention/RT tracking on the homepage. If you have Twitter integrated onto your blog, then you can add even more firepower to your arsenal by using Tweetbacks and RT’s as comments, which might flesh out an otherwise empty post footer.
The beauty of Twitter tracking tools is that they tell a much greater story than Google does.
- Most of the people that read your blog don’t have one of their own, so commenting on Twitter is the only way they can voice their approval/displeasure.
- It is much quicker to post a comment on Twitter than it is to create a blog post. Also, since RT’s and mentions are part of the game, people want to talk with you…not just at you.
- The results are real time, which means that you can respond to a fire before it becomes a wildfire.
Twitter is where most of the conversation takes place, and if you aren’t there watching, then you are missing out on valuable information about your business. Rather than holding your finger in the air, you are armed with instruments that can provide you with detailed analysis of what you are doing well, and what you need to improve upon.
There are 3 particular tools that I’m fond of, but you don’t have to stick with these. Just take what we do here and find a way to make it work within the scope of your favorite Twitter application.
- TweetDeck panes: From my experience gazing at laptop screens during the Blogworld Expo, it seems that TweetDeck is by far the most popular Twitter desktop client. It makes sense, because TweetDeck is robust and easy to use. The simple way to set up monitoring in Tweetdeck is to add a few search panes for the keywords and hashtags that represent your brand. For instance, I have a search going for #twitterrockstar and Twitter Rockstar to see what people are saying about my Twitter course.
- Hootsuite tabs: Hootsuite is slowly growing into a fabulous web client that has all of the features of TweetDeck without having to download an application, which is perfect places where you can’t download (like at work). You can handle multiple accounts here as well, but the best feature of Hootsuite in my opinion is being able to set up a tab for each brand. I set up tabs for Twitter Rockstar, Beyond Blogging, Nathan Hangen, and any other product or name that I want to track. Since everything is saved to my account, it’s always ready and waiting for me when I log in.
- Tweetizen: Tweetizen was developed by Adarsh Pallian and is a great way to not only track your brand, but to show it off to others. Tweetizen allows you to create a “group,” which you can use to track keywords or hashtags, but the difference here is that you can embed the results in any web page. This is great for product pages or launch pages so that you can build hype for your brand without having to force it on your own. Get the conversation going and watch it take off. You can also filter Tweets via user, which means if you want to plant Tweets (which I don’t recommend doing), you can easily do that.
I use all 3 of these tools on a regular basis for my own brand, and that of my clients. As a business owner or consultant, you simply cannot afford not to ignore what others are saying about you and your brand. Create a daily practice of listening with both ears open and then respond where necessary. Nurture those devoted fans, and earn the trust of the negative ones. Do this for yourself and you’ll be ahead of the game. Do it for another business…and you will look like a rockstar.