We used to say all publicity is good publicity. The internet has kind of ruined that.
On the internet, people are talking about you right now. Whether you know it or not, a customer has left a review of one of your products on one of the many sites (authorized or not) that’s selling it, and they are not always happy.
Chances are, without some serious brand monitoring efforts, you’ll never see that review. But plenty of other potential customers will.
I’m not saying this to scare you. I’m saying it because I’ve gone into so many meetings with manufacturers and shown them online reviews that they’ve never seen, on e-commerce sites they never authorized to sell their products. (More on how to solve that here.) Bottom line: If you’re not staying on top of what people are saying, what you don’t know can hurt you — and your business.
So, back to brand monitoring. What does it entail, how important is it really, and how do you go about it? These are questions I answer for my manufacturer clients all the time. Here are a few of my answers, as well as five valuable brand monitoring tools I recommend to make this initiative easy and effective.
What Do I Need To Do?
Brand monitoring involves real-time surveillance and analytics of any and all discussions about your business and products. It also entails social listening — being aware of what consumers are saying about you on social forums such as Facebook or Reddit. Sounds simple, but when you think about the size of the internet, it can turn into an undertaking.
Do I Have To?
You do not. But you absolutely should — or you should get a strategic marketing partner who will do it for you.
Acquiring social data — and learning from it — isn’t the secret purveyance of marketers with some exclusive knowledge set. Anyone can do it. For manufacturers who take initiative and monitor their own brands, there are numerous benefits that come from knowing when your name comes up in conversation on Facebook, a blog, or the news:
- Discover potential advocates with whom your brand can partner.
- Address reputational risks or potential controversies early.
- Hear authentic stories in which your product made a difference.
- Identify on which social platforms people are most likely to discuss your brand.
- Uncover and prohibit product diversion.
- Learn which competitors are outperforming you — and what their advantages are.
5 Free Online Brand Monitoring Tools
Fortunately, brand monitoring can be executed cost-effectively and still provide relevant information about your business and the success of your products. These are five free brand monitoring tools I recommend to animal health manufacturers looking to regain control of their brand.
Google Alerts allows you to set up email alerts for any online mention of your brand or one of your products (or other related topics). Take your surveillance to the next level by setting up alerts to monitor your competitors’ brands online too.
This notification system is similar to Google Alerts, except that it also scours social media. Access to public posts on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter (to name a few) can offer insights into who’s noticing your products and whether their feedback is positive or not.
BuzzSumo sorts through the contents of your website and provides insights into engagements with, shares of, and links to each piece. This brand monitoring tool is particularly helpful in determining on which social media channel your content is performing the best, which helps you prioritize certain platforms and campaigns over others.
Technorati searches millions of blogs for mentions of your product or business. This is a helpful asset for identifying potential brand advocates or influencers. Reach out to anyone who has been blogging about you and request that they link back with a citation to your site to increase traffic.
Google Analytics gives you insight into your potential customers’ actions on your site and how they got there. Referral traffic reports can show you where people may be finding your brand elsewhere on the web and what caused them to search for you.
As a master distributor, EPiQ Animal Health acts as a strategic marketing partner and consultant for animal health manufacturers looking to monitor and grow their brand. Contact an EPiQ Animal Health representative today to learn how partnering with EPiQ can help you succeed in the market.