Brand Monitoring: How to Keep Track of Your Brand Mentions

A large telescope set against a light teal backdrop. The telescope is a visual metaphor for the process of monitoring brand mentions on the internet, which is known as brand monitoring.
A large telescope set against a light teal backdrop. The telescope is a visual metaphor for the process of monitoring brand mentions on the internet, which is known as brand monitoring.

Brand monitoring is easy when your customers tag you in their posts or contact you directly about an issue. But in the real world, that’s just not how it always works.

Your customers are talking about your brand across a variety of channels, whether or not you realize it. What’s more, they have the potential to reach a massive audience every time they mention your name.

While you can’t control what they’re saying about you, you can keep tabs on their conversations – and even join them – when you are proactively monitoring your brand.

Let’s look at some specifics on brand monitoring and how you can keep track of your brand mentions.

Table of Contents

What Is Brand Monitoring?

The ultimate goal of brand monitoring (or media monitoring) is to be able to respond to any conversations about your brand. In some cases, you might be able to expand some positive publicity. Or in other cases, you can mitigate the spread of negative press and the damage it can cause to your brand.

Successful brand monitoring takes two formats: offline and online brand monitoring. Conversations are happening all over the place, so all possibilities should be on your radar.

Why Is Brand Monitoring Important?

Let’s say you own a restaurant. You overhear a customer saying they wish you offered a soup and salad option for a faster lunch. Later, you overhear another customer telling their friend your bathroom is always dirty when they come in to eat.

Even though they’re not talking to you directly, your customers are telling you exactly how they feel about their experience. You now have reliable data that can help you make changes in your business that will put your brand in a positive light. The role of brand monitoring is very similar.

Your customers are your best resource to figure out how people feel about your brand, what they like and don’t like about you, and what they want from you. That’s why brand monitoring is so crucial to any marketing or PR strategy. The more you can get inside your customers’ minds (and the minds of a prospective audience), the more you can stop guessing about how to grow your brand.

Customers are willingly sharing their feelings. Your job is to figure out where to look.

Social media is among the lowest-hanging fruit. You can scan your social media channels to check out the posts in which you’re tagged and the comments and reviews your audience has left behind.

You can also keep tabs on a keyword, such as your brand name. Just go to Google Alerts, type in the keyword, and get notifications every time your keyword pops up in the media.

social listening solution can do all of the above on your behalf. Use your media monitoring service to track brand mentions, collect analytics on user mentions and behaviors, and gain deeper insight into your audiences’ sentiments.

Check out this list of the top social monitoring tools if you're tired of manually scrolling through Twitter to find that post that mentioned you.

What Should You Monitor?

Knowing you should track your brand online is just the beginning. Next, decide what insight you need to track. Here’s what we suggest you track and how to use it in your marketing:

Brand Mentions

Anytime someone mentions your company name or your brand, that’s a brand mention.

LinkedIn brand mention.

It’s easy to track brand mentions with Google Alert. Just input your brand as the keyword and monitor your inbox for any mentions.

If you have a small brand with a niche audience, using branded keywords is relatively straightforward. Google scours the web and sends you an email every time it sees that someone else has mentioned your brand.

But if your brand is a household name, like McDonald's, you might not want to track brand mentions this way.

McDonald's gets thousands of brand mentions every day, and an email for each of them simply isn’t feasible. Brands should look into a professional media monitoring service that can track brand mentions on a large scale. Plus, services like Google Alerts do not monitor all of the places where your brand may be mentioned, like social media platforms, podcasts, TV broadcasts, print, radio, etc. That's where a media monitoring and social listening provider can help.

To see what this looks like in action, read our media monitoring guide.

Product Mentions

Similar to brand mentions are product mentions. These can be helpful to track if you want to track the buzz about a specific product you sell.

For example, Apple received more than 140,000 social media product mentions for the iPhone 8 and 150,000 product mentions for the iPhone X. In one day, the company saw more than 239,000 mentions of the word “Apple.” This was around the time the company was launching a new iteration of its ever-popular smartphone. Rumors had been swirling for weeks prior.

Tracking multi-channel product mentions can be a helpful strategy for new product launches. Speculation before the launch might just inspire a new idea, while feedback after the fact can help you make adjustments.

Enlist the help of social media monitoring tools to automate this insight. As a bonus, you can also get real-time insight and analytics with sophisticated tools.

Staff Mentions

Do you have Instagram influencers, micro-influencers, or well-known figures on your payroll? Is your C-suite fairly famous? If so, you might want to track mentions of their names.

Influential people doing good things can shine a spotlight on the companies they represent, even if their activities aren't brand-related.

For example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates appears in the news all the time for his charitable contributions. Even if Microsoft isn’t mentioned, Gates’ generous actions can still reflect favorably on the company.

Direct mentions aren’t the only way people can call attention to your online reputation. Sometimes, they can simply link to your website and not mention your name or product at all.

Links to your website from a third-party source are called backlinks. Link building can be extremely helpful for helping you rank higher on SERPs and driving website traffic. Tracking these links is essential to brand monitoring so you can see which online publications are talking about you and sending you traffic.

From there, you can respond accordingly. Send an outreach email to build a relationship with the publishers who mentioned you in a positive light. Or, start a conversation if you got negative reviews to see what you can do to improve the situation.

All-in-one SEO tools like Ahrefs can monitor your backlink profile on your behalf to see who’s linking to you and where those links go.

Ahrefs backlink checker.

Industry-Specific Publications

Wouldn’t you love to know if your new app appeared in TechCrunch or got recommended by someone on the Forbes tech council? 

Unlinked mentions are where your brand is mentioned but not linked to. Monitoring industry-specific publications ensures you can capitalize on this free press and share it with your own audience.

Brand Monitoring vs. Social Monitoring

Brand monitoring isn’t to be confused with social media monitoring. Rather, social media monitoring can be considered as part of an overarching multichannel monitoring strategy.

That’s because brand monitoring takes place across a variety of channels, not just social media. It’s a blend of social media monitoring, social listening, and brand monitoring on non-social media channels to get a more comprehensive picture of what people are talking about and why.

When performed in real-time, brand monitoring can be a powerful force in helping you take control of conversations and perceptions in a timely manner.

Best Practices for Monitoring Brand Mentions

We’ve talked about the what and why of brand monitoring. Now, how do you go about building a brand mention marketing strategy? Let’s review our best practices for monitoring your brand reputation:

Create Alerts Using Name Variations

Coca-Cola cans and glasses.

How do people refer to your brand? Do they always spell it correctly? Does your product or brand have a nickname (e.g., Coca-Cola vs Coke)?

It’s a good idea to set up alerts in your brand monitoring tools for any name variations. People may be talking about you and you’d never know it if they misspell your brand or refer to you as something other than your corporate persona.

Track Industry Buzzwords

People might not mention your company or product but have feelings about your industry as a whole or an influencer you use. For starters, this might help you anticipate any negative publicity and give you a chance to set the record straight.

It can also inspire some of the content you create.

For example, let’s say you sell cloud phone systems. If someone mentions how terrible the call quality is on cloud phone systems, you might create blog posts explaining how call quality is determined and ways to improve it.

Set Up Alerts for Negative Brand Mentions

Facebook alert.

While brands want to hear all the good things that people are saying about them, negative mentions require a timelier response. You can set up your alerts to track brand mentions that center around a certain problem.

Using this formula, [brand name] + [specific issue], your negative brand mention alert might like something like this:

Company XYZ Broken Item

Once you get an alert, you can respond quickly and hopefully repair any negative customer perceptions.

You can also use this strategy to track negative mentions about a competitor. Learn what they’re not doing well and make it a point to be better at those things.

Know What to Do Next

Once you set up brand mentions, it’s important to know how to take the next step. Knowing how to respond to mentions, good or bad, is key in taking control of your brand image.

Zulily invite.

Clothing company Zulily is highly responsive to social media posts on Facebook and reaches out quickly with a resolution. In the example below, the customer service team showed the customer the best way to contact them for more information regarding an order’s status.

Getting Started With Brand Monitoring

Knowing what's being said about your company and where it is being said are essential components of a brand management strategy. Armed with this type of information, you can proactively defend off a crisis or identify influencers sharing UGC around your products.

And although you might not always like what you hear, rest assured you need to hear it so you can take charge of building the brand image you deserve.

If you'd like assistance setting up your brand monitoring strategy, get in touch with us below. As the #1 media monitoring platform in the world, we can help make sure you never miss a mention.

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