8 great ways to do it
Long ago, brands used to be created by clever people working for advertising agencies who dreamed up catchy brand slogans and campaigns in rooms filled with cigarette smoke.
Today, the issue of trying to create and control your brand’s image is rather more challenging. This is largely because the internet has given consumers multiple platforms to voice their opinions about a product – platforms such as Twitter and Facebook – with no barrier to entry (or cost). The modern consumer, in many ways, has become a co-creator of brands.
This makes it essential for companies to monitor social media in order to understand the perception of its brand. Here are some tips about how to do this.
1. Be objective
Social media monitoring tools can collect and collate social media mentions of your brand quickly and effectively. But before you invest money in buying the necessary software it is important to get into an objective mind-set. Don’t just search for evidence of the perceptions you expect or want people to have about your product. Collect positive and negative social media mentions so that you can make informed choices about your social media campaign.
2. Ask the right questions
Have a clearly defined list of questions before you begin researching the perception of your brand across social media channels. These questions could include:
- Which of your competitors’ names crop up the most frequently when your brand is mentioned?
- Is there anything which has caused spikes in the volume of mentions relating to your brand?
- What aspect of your product attracts the most positive sentiments on social media?
3. Categorise social media mentions
To make sense of the vast amount of data that social media monitoring tools can generate you will have to start categorising. One way to do this is to categorise mentions according to author (for instance, potential customer/competitor/respected industry reviewer). There are, of course, many other ways of categorising mentions but luckily a sophisticated social media monitoring package will do this for you.
4. Use a large data set
Using a small data set won’t give you a true reflection of the perception of your product. Use as large a data set as you can and you will see the bigger picture.
5. Find out what the myths about your brand are
It is worryingly easy for myths about your brand to develop through online ‘Chinese whispers’. An example of this could be that your product is considered to be too pricey for the average consumer when in fact its price compares favourably with that of other competitors. Finding out what these myths are can help you correct them and favourably shift your brand’s perception.
6. Find out who your friends are
Identify which customers are the most active when it comes to recommending your product or services to other people. Establish which social media channels are most favourable to your product so that you can engage with the people who are spreading positive words about your brand.
7. Look at the broader picture
Analysis of your brand might point to the fact that your product or service is well-respected within your industry. However, a look at the broader picture might reveal that there is a lack of respect for your industry. This is a factor which will have to be taken into consideration when drawing up your social media strategy.
8. Use your findings
And finally, remember to act on the evidence you have worked so hard to collect. Social content can make and shift brand perception. When you look at social media channels to establish the picture people have of your brand you might not see what you expected to see. You might not see what you want to see. But once you have a clear picture of your brand’s image then you can start to try and change it and mould it to your liking.
James Christie writes for social media monitoring company Brandwatch. To find out more tips access Brandwatch’s ebook ‘A guide to understanding your brand through social media’.
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