Word of mouth has always been a key element in the world of business and product promotion and while some might say that it’s an outdated concept made redundant by today’s modern technology the truth is that with all the social media outlets it’s even more important.
In today’s world if someone doesn’t like your product, customer service or hears of a possible health concern (like BPA in plastic bottles) instead of telling a couple of friends or family members they can complain via a multitude of social media platforms. With trending, re-tweeting, sharing and liking their complaint, concern or product review around the world and even perhaps published by major newspapers; making word of mouth arguably one of the most important branding elements.
In September 2013 one man paid for a promoted Tweet to complain about the British Airways service he received which recorded 13,612 clicks and was seen by over 73,000 people.
Another great example is the “bat kid” phenomenon event in San Francisco when The Make a Wish Foundation used various social media platforms to gather over 7,000 people together in the city to help make a little boy’s dream come true.
Bad news travels quickly but social media platforms and the internet also allow businesses more options for branding, opportunities to reach a larger clientele, the chance to nip potential issues in the bud and to connect on a personal level with their customers all of which can increase brand power.
Social Media Monitoring
How do you keep track with all the available platforms; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram etc.? There are many software programs out there that can help you sort out the good, the bad and even the ugly reviews/comments/opinions about your product or service. Take a look at this top 50 list of Social Media Monitoring tools some of which are free. A downside to some of these tools is that they generally only monitor one platform such as Twitter or Facebook, for example, but not all platforms and they don’t monitor general news articles or forums.
We were offered the chance to try out one of these platforms, Brandwatch, and see what we thought. Brandwatch searches the internet to find out what people are saying, or not saying, about your company, product and/or service. It captures both the positive and negative across a range of online sources is able to monitor social platforms, blogs, news articles and forums While this is a general review of the Brandwatch platform and a basic “how to get started” guide for people new to social media monitoring and potentially this product, some of the information could be transferable to other platforms and tools.
When you first log into your account you see a mostly blank screen:
Don’t panic, this is where we setup our projects which are the base layer for our brand searches. In this example we’re going to create a project called “Animals in Clothing”. Once the project has been created we need to setup our searches and in Brandwatch that means queries.
Setting up Dashboards
Once you’ve created your project you automatically get asked to create a dashboard:
You get several options when creating a new dashboard; Default (which gives you an overview of Data about your brand/topic of interest from all over the web), Facebook or Twitter (which provide insights on both owned and earned analytics) and Blank. The Blank dashboard allows you to build your overview from the ground up and is for more experienced users.
Our example “Animals in Clothing” used the Default Dashboard as we wanted a general overview. After choosing your dashboard type you get asked to create a query, we used “cats in hats”, nothing fancy as you can edit queries at any time. Once you’ve selected at least one query Brandwatch will populate your dashboard but it will take a few minutes (depending on the volume of mentions) to gather data for you.
This data was gathered over the period of a few months and using our three queries, it’s been filtered for the last 30 days of results.
To see more specific data you can click on any of the bars or links in the dashboard and by clicking on the blue twitter bar we can look at people’s tweets:
To look at the negative mentions specifically we clicked on the red negative bar to see what people were saying and where they were saying it:
The returned results from a general query (i.e. Cats in hats) are fairly general themselves because the platform, without more guidance from you, looks for negative words like hate, dislike etc. paired with your keywords/query. For the Brandwatch platform this data is returned based on hundreds of rules, or sentiment analysis, to determine whether a mention of your search term(s) is positive or negative in tone. Setting up more specific queries can help return more relevant data.
Setting up Queries
Once I’d setup our project and three queries (1. Cats in hats, 2. Dogs in fedoras and 3. Costumes for pets) I left the platform percolating for a few days and was surprised to receive an email from our Brandwatch contact who had rejigged my queries to make them more efficient. These are a few examples of the improved queries:
How specific can we get?
Setting up queries such as in the above examples allows you to be fairly specific about what you’re looking for. The NEAR/10 means it’s looking for the first string of phrases within 10 words of the second set of phrases; lowering the number improves the specificity of your phrasing, also remember to add in common spelling mistakes to queries so that you don’t miss results.
Once you’re up and running you can cut (filter) your data in numerous ways in order to drill down to specific responses and trends and even set up alerts so you get notified when activity spikes or drops.
Getting the best out of Social Monitoring Tools
As with every tool the challenge is getting it up and running and Brandwatch is no different. With any Social Monitoring software setup is key and monitoring the program to ensure you’re getting the results you need to make strategic decisions.
Getting the best out of any software or platform means jumping in with both feet, taking the time to play around with filters and tools and learning your way around the available help options with each different program.