By Corrie Oberdin • 5 September, 2014
Since the dawn of the internet, people have been talking about businesses online. Whether they share a positive experience, warn of bad experiences, or ask questions about what others think, individuals have multiple reasons for mentioning or discussing a business.
Prior to the advent of social media, most brands would have to hunt down what individuals thought about them via search, or by utilizing tracking systems like Radian 6. Now that the majority of companies have social media accounts, many customer comments come to them in the form of Facebook comments, or Twitter or Instagram mentions. However, you shouldn’t just stop at what people say TO you. For many companies, what is being said about the business on other platforms can be just as important as what is being on your social media channels. In order to capture a holistic view of how consumers view your business – both what they say to you and what they say when they think you aren’t listening, we advocate that brands look at customer sentiment on their own channels and else.
So why should you track consumer sentiment across the online space on a regular basis? Here are five good reasons:
1. Understand customer issues before they become problems – In addition to mentioning your brand or posting on social channels, customers can also post on their own blogs, on message boards or on Twitter without mentioning your social account. By identifying these conversations early, your organization can get a handle of potential issues early on.
2. Figure out what you do well – When you run a social media channel devoted to customer service, it can easily seem like the negatives outweigh the positives. By looking at online reviews on other sites, or customer comments from those not seeking assistance, your organization can identify what you do well – as well as what you need to improve on.
3. Identify major themes – Tracking online discussions on a regular basis can help your organization identify major themes or trends that can help you develop new products, phase out older products, identify new services or plan your marketing calendar for the year. Suppose your organization markets heavily between March – September, but you realize by tracking online discussion that customers are talking about your services from February – October – by tracking discussion regularly, you may identify additional marketing opportunities outside of your current marketing calendar.
4. Watch where you stand – In addition to tracking sentiment and themes, tracking volume can help your organization understand the level of awareness about you, how online discussion tracks with your marketing campaigns, and where discussion is taking places – and you can measure how discussion changes month over month, and year over year, to identify how your organization is doing across a variety of key performance indicators.
5. Monitor the competition – Finally, the beauty of online discussion is that you don’t only have to track just your company – identify a small number of competitors, and track them as well. You can gain a clearer picture of where you stand in your industry, in various locations, and identify your strengths (and weaknesses) as compared to your competition.
Does your organization track brand mentions? What have you learned in the process?