Brand success depends on understanding every nuance you can about your audience and how they see you. For best results, be sure you include the following tactics in your social media brand tracking efforts:

1. Nail down brand perception

Perception is reality, so you’ve got to know how consumers see your brand. Some questions to ask:

  • How do people see you – versus how you think you are perceived?
  • Is your social branding incongruous with your other branding, leaving consumers confused?
  • Is your persona just WRONG for the audience you have – or is your audience wrong for the persona you want to have?

Adjust your audience segmenting approach to find/cultivate the audience interested in what you’re offering – whatever that is. Remember to look beyond the obvious by using shared passion amongst consumers, and show your brand’s human side in all interactions.

2. Scope out the competition

What do people think or expect in your category? To deliver a stand-out customer experience – whether the expected, or something that breaks out – you have to know the parameters of your playing field.

Use brand tracking to understand how competitors are perceived and what consumers expect in the overall landscape of your category. If another brand is crushing you – why are they? If you’re at the top, what insights can you uncover to ensure you stay there?

Competitive analysis isn’t about becoming a carbon copy, however. If consumer expectations don’t line up with how you’re marketing your brand just change your strategy. Either adjust your branding to fit in with the rest of the pack – or commit to delivering on your brand’s distinctions to carve out a new niche with consumers who want something that goes against the grain.

3. Root out clues to support all brand endeavors

Is your new product idea going to be a hit – or should you go back to the drawing board? What people think matters – and social consumers aren’t shy about telling you. Use brand tracking tools to uncover burning consumer desires – and make product creation about granting wishes versus making something new for the sake of it.

4. Delight and defend with social customer service

Social media has become the front line for customer service issues. Instead of reaching out to your brand directly, they tag you (or don’t) as they vent publicly on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

When consumers complain are you aware soon enough? Do you respond quickly? Don’t assume anything – look at consumers’ conversations to know for sure. You may think you’re responding well, but they may have a different opinion.

It’s crucial to nip negative sentiment in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem. And you’ve got to monitor for reputational threats – including logo misappropriation – so the likes of disgruntled former employees and internet trolls can’t ruin all your marketing efforts with a single viral post.

5. Use consumers to expand your reach

Whatever your marketing budget, consumers who love your brand help you expand it by sharing your message to their own audiences. Find the ones who:

  • Are most passionate about your brand
  • Are active on social media
  • Have 500 followers or more

Incentivize their sharing by offering whatever your social insights tell you they’ll most appreciate.

6. Tweak content and channels based on social data

Is your content on point? Are you engaging on the right channels? Your customers and your competitors’ customers will tell you everything you need to know as long as you’re paying attention.

Use brand tracking to find the channels where your fans actively engage, and to understand the content driving them to interact and share.

Whatever you think you know – be prepared to be surprised.

7. Build and manage the perfect marketing campaigns

Even if your campaigns regularly succeed, you can enhance them further by letting consumer insights inspire your creative. Historical data is great to remind you what worked in the past, but real-time data gives you a much better starting point.

It also lets you follow along in the moment and adjust as needed. There’s no reason to wait out a failing campaign – course correct based on social feedback and succeed every time.

Put consumers in charge and you can’t go wrong

The biggest takeaway is this: Brand tracking is less about your brand than it is about consumers – and their opinion, perception, and response to your brand.

Remember sentiment is the context in all your insights – so don’t assume 1 million mentions mean you rule the world. If more of them are negative than are positive, you’re in trouble.

Also critical: Brand tracking never stops at your brand. Follow consumer insights down the rabbit hole to unlock the secrets of their hearts, and their view of your competitors. The only way you’ll go wrong is if you make it all about you.

Want to hear more brand tracking strategies? Join us at NetBase LIVE in NY and LA this October! Register here!

Image from NOAA Photo Library

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