The Importance of Monitoring Your Brand (and Yourself) Online

by Ken Mueller on April 15, 2013 · 26 comments

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obit The Importance of Monitoring Your Brand (and Yourself) OnlineThe other day I died.

I felt OK. I got out of bed, fed the dog, and logged on to check my email. After deleting the irrelevant ones (which was most of them) I clicked on my “alert email” from TalkWalker, only to discover that I had died.

Well, OK, it wasn’t really me, but the email contained a notification of an obituary for someone else with my name. Yes, there are other Ken Muellers in the world.

I posted about my untimely demise on Facebook, and my friend Lynne asked:

“You keep your name on a Google Alert?”

Well, yes. I do. Or, I did. That is until Google announced they were sending the alerts packing, along with some of their other products, like Google Reader. But I’ve done that for years. And I’m not alone.

This is called brand monitoring, and it’s the one of the most important things any business or person can do. While I no longer use Google Alerts (and quite frankly, that product wasn’t working very well anymore), I do use TalkWalker, thanks to a recommendation from Gini Dietrich at Spin Sucks.

Oh, I don’t just monitor my own name. I have alerts set for my business name, the business name’s of my clients (and some of their competitors), as well as various important industry search terms for myself and my clients.

Monitoring your brand, whether it is your business or your personal brand, is crucial.

It’s through monitoring, or listening, that you learn what people are saying about you, both for better or for worse. It’s how you can learn about what you are doing right or doing wrong. It’s how you can learn what your competitors are up to.

In short, monitoring your brand can provide you with all sorts of useful information to help you with marketing, sales, PR, customer service, HR, and research & development. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Those TalkWalker alerts that I get in my email throughout the day are just one of the tools you can use for listening, because no tool will catch everything. Others include:

Twitter searches and lists (that you can use to create columns within Hootsuite or other Twitter clients)

Your social properties – This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, you better be paying attention to what people are saying there. Or not saying.

Review sites – Sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon, and the like are great resources for finding out what your customers think. Just make sure you wear your thickest skin. And claim your listings on those sites while you’re at it.

Brand monitoring apps – There are a ton of these that range from free to pretty darn expensive. Most small businesses and nonprofits will want to go for the free ones. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here’s a list of 10 Free Brand Monitoring Tools, another of Ten Must Have Free Tools for Brand Monitoring and Reputation Management,

Surveys – Then of course you can be proactive and seek out opinions. Good ol’ fashioned surveys might just do the trick, if constructed properly and distributed to the right people.

Search engine searches – Apart from the alerts, do regular searches in the search engines, as well as specialty searches of blogs, and more. Alerts and other tools don’t always turn up everything. In fact, just this past week, a combination of alerts and a Google search turned up some information about a client that has the potential to cause some problems. But because we are monitoring the brand online, we are aware of the situation, and can prepare for any potential fallout.

Another client, while monitoring their brand on Twitter, noticed a local blogger badmouthing them. During the ensuing public conversation, the individual admitted to not even having tried my client’s product. My client invited the person in, in exchange for an honest review on his blog if he enjoyed it, which he did. Proactive monitoring and engagement turned into some good press for my client.

So, yes. I do monitor what people are saying about me and my business. I monitor what is being said about my clients. I see the good and react accordingly. I see the bad and determine whether adjustments need to be made (or if they are merely the work of trolls and bullies).

Remember, you might need to filter through the results. Since I’m not the only Ken Mueller on the planet, I get all sorts of interesting results. But I also find instances of when my online work is being stolen or “borrowed” by others. And it can be funny at times. Don’t just rely on tools, because they might give you skewed results. You need to read through your findings and conduct your own sentiment analysis to separate the good from the bad.

But by all means, start monitoring your brand online.

Oh, and I’m still very much alive, thank you.

What tools do you use for monitoring what others are saying about you online?

 

 

 

 The Importance of Monitoring Your Brand (and Yourself) Online
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13 comments
anitahovey
anitahovey

I have a Google Alert set for my name, too... just makes good sense. There seems to be only one other Anita Hovey and she's an author, so it's pretty easy to filter. I didn't know that alerts were being shuttered... missed that announcement. Guess I'll check out this other one now...too bad.

dbvickery
dbvickery

You know I'm a huge monitoring fan. Having a monitoring product makes it so easy to see case studies where monitoring could have reduced the "escalation" of the bad case studies (preparing and addressing bad fallout)...and could have better amplified the good case studies (people taking pictures/video with your product or appreciating your services).

JamesDazouloute
JamesDazouloute

Great tips on monitoring your brand. And thank you for mentioning talkwalker. Dr.James Dazouloute

venueforadream
venueforadream

I'm in the process of coming up with a name for my *potential* new business and this article applies perfectly to this situation! Not only do I need to make sure that the company name is available, but I should also really check to see if there is any branding already associated with that name.  Thanks!

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

Good to see you are still with us this Monday morning Ken. I have also been using TalkWalker since @Gini Dietrich recommendation but haven't had much success. I keep getting crazy references which surprises me with my name (Anneliz- can't be too many of those). Do you recommend setting up alerts with both twitter handle name (blended) and proper name (separated)?  Thanks, great article with tremendous list of resources for personal branding as well as business reputation monitoring.

J_Hong3
J_Hong3

Hello Ken, 

Thank you for this article and for supporting Talkwalker Alerts!

Julie

SDLjames
SDLjames

It is always unearthing to find another obituary for yourself and a little vanity monitoring has more positives than the negatives and outweighs the awkward and embarrassing notion of vanity monitoring itself. Reputation is everything, afterall! 

As an employee of a vendor of a premium social media monitoring tool ( http://www.sdlsm2.com ) it comes as no surprise that I advocate the need to monitor but it really is something that businesses should be doing to protect themselves, to get ahead of the competition - let alone keep an eye on the competition and to measure the efforts of any social output that the business may generate itself.  

James Ainsworth

Social Media Manager

SDL - Social Intelligence. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@dbvickery That's definitely the case. Just had a situation last night where a client was monitoring and someone posted a rather negative comment. My client responded, and the person who posted the comment then deleted theirs, I presume because they realized their complaint wasn't very justified. And I've seen that happen a number of times where quick responses, as the result of monitoring, makes the problem go away fast!

Latest blog post: The New MySpace: JT’s Folly

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@venueforadream Definitely. When you start a business, you should always do due diligence and search to see how it comes up. If someone else is using the name, it doesn't mean you can't, depending on a lot of situations. But, if there is any baggage or dirty laundry associated with that name, you'd want to steer clear. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@annelizhannan @Gini Dietrich I would set up any that you can, even with variations. One of my clients has an apostrophe s at the end. I do alerts with and without, knowing that people will use both. For me, I do Ken and Kenneth for my first name, since they both get used. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@J_Hong3 No problem, Julie, so far loving your product. And clearly you are doing a good job of monitoring your own brand!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@SDLjames Thanks, James, and yes, reputation is crucial, particularly in the online space.

J_Hong3
J_Hong3

@KenMueller Great to hear. Talkwalker also provide a social media monitoring suite for search, analysis and reputation management, of which the alerts are a feature. So yes, I do have the right tool to monitor my brand ;) 

Trackbacks

  1. [...] “You keep your name on a Google Alert?” Well, yes. I do. Or, I did. That is until Google announced they were sending the alerts packing, along with some of their other products, like Google Reader. But I’ve done that for years. And I’m not alone. This is called brand monitoring, and it’s the one of the most important things any business or person can do. While I no longer use Google Alerts (and quite frankly, that product wasn’t working very well anymore), I do use TalkWalker , thanks to a recommendation from Gini Dietrich at Spin Sucks . Oh, I don’t just monitor my own name. I have alerts set for my business name, the business name’s of my clients (and some of their competitors), as well as various important industry search terms for myself and my clients. Monitoring your brand , whether it is your business or your personal brand , is crucial. It’s through monitoring, or listening, that you learn what people are saying about you , both for better or for worse . It’s how you can learn about what you are doing right or doing wrong. It’s how you can learn what your competitors are up to. In short, monitoring your brand can provide you with all sorts of useful information to help you with marketing, sales, PR, customer service, HR, and research & development. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Those TalkWalker alerts that I get in my email throughout the day are just one of the tools you can use for listening, because no tool will catch everything. Others include: Twitter searches and lists (that you can use to create columns within Hootsuite or other Twitter clients) Your social properties – This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, you better be paying attention to what people are saying there. Or not saying. Review sites – Sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon, and the like are great resources for finding out what your customers think. Just make sure you wear your thickest skin. And claim your listings on those sites while you’re at it. Brand monitoring apps – There are a ton of these that range from free to pretty darn expensive. Most small businesses and nonprofits will want to go for the free ones. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here’s a list of 10 Free Brand Monitoring Tools , another of Ten Must Have Free Tools for Brand Monitoring and Reputation Management , Surveys – Then of course you can be proactive and seek out opinions. Good ol’ fashioned surveys might just do the trick, if constructed properly and distributed to the right people. Search engine searches – Apart from the alerts, do regular searches in the search engines, as well as specialty searches of blogs, and more. Alerts and other tools don’t always turn up everything. In fact, just this past week, a combination of alerts and a Google search turned up some information about a client that has the potential to cause some problems. But because we are monitoring the brand online, we are aware of the situation, and can prepare for any potential fallout . Another client, while monitoring their brand on Twitter, noticed a local blogger badmouthing them. During the ensuing public conversation, the individual admitted to not even having tried my client’s product. pay for performanc ppc My client invited the person in, in exchange for an honest review on his blog if he enjoyed it, which he did. Proactive monitoring and engagement turned into some good press for my client. So, yes. I do monitor what people are saying about me and my business. I monitor what is being said about my clients. I see the good and react accordingly. I see the bad and determine whether adjustments need to be made (or if they are merely the work of trolls and bullies ). Remember, you might need to filter through the results. Since I’m not the only Ken Mueller on the planet, I get all sorts of interesting results. But I also find instances of when my online work is being stolen or “borrowed” by others. And it can be funny at times . Don’t just rely on tools, because they might give you skewed results. You need to read through your findings and conduct your own sentiment analysis to separate the good from the bad. But by all means, start monitoring your brand online. Oh, and I’m still very much alive, thank you. What tools do you use for monitoring what others are saying about you online?  For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://inklingmedia.net/2013/04/15/the-importance-of-monitoring-your-brand-and-yourself-online/ [...]

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