Companies and social media platforms have found themselves at the intersection of Personal and Professional Streets. Concerned about how their brands are being affected by social media coverage, many have invested in brand monitoring tools. Because even the savviest CMOs realize if you’re not out there monitoring and positioning your brands’ online uniqueness, you’re just dropping the ball into the hands of the competition – and they'll run with it.
“Based on conversations with our clients we have found that brand monitoring is effective not only for all types of businesses, but offers a lot of side benefits,” said Ben Twichell, head of marketing at Mention, Inc., a brand monitoring firm. “Lead generation, social media tracking, crisis management, customer success, competitive analysis and influencer marketing.”
Who Cares About Your Company Brand? You Should
Think about it – from a company’s CEO to its lowest cubicle dwellers we all have something of value, right? Our own personal brands. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but in the days before Facebook and AOL, the term ‘brand’ really was thought of more in the context of business, not the employee or customer.
But as you cut through all these brand semantics and trim the concept of personal branding down to its bone, what you’re left with is reputation – because your brand is your reputation, and vice versa. It’s important to monitor your brands on the web. Here are several simple rules you should always keep in mind:
- Control your brand: Appearing as an expert goes a long way towards building your brand – send pitches, hone your experience, give people previews of your content by sending them to sites where you’ve appeared or are industry favorites.
- Keep things updated: Many companies ignore their “About Us” page, but they really shouldn’t. This is where the world first clicks when meeting you. Make your company more exciting and accessible with this page. Have recent news and updated employee information available. Nothing says incompetence like dated news and email addresses for employees that have long since moved on from you.
- Monitor Your Rep: Have you checked your company’s social mentions lately? There are numerous sites where unhappy souls go to bluster about companies and employees. Unanswered complaints can ruin an institution’s image and scare off would-be PPCs. Use a brand monitoring tool to keep watch about what’s being said about your company and those who working for you.
Social Media and Brand Management: Perfect Together
With the dawn of social media, companies, employees, bloggers and anyone else with a knack for the written language can stake themselves a claim on the brand monitoring map. Like branding, social media is all about relationships and the conversations you generate.
The rules for brand messaging on new media versus the older, traditional channels haven’t really altered that much – but the game’s gotten a lot more diverse. The social media scene in particular has shortened the time companies have to respond to complaints and accusations. These reactions need to be addressed and your message controlled in a matter of minutes instead of days or not at all. Also, you can’t just monitor Facebook or Twitter and think your rep is secure. You’ve got to have your people participating in the conversations out there by making regular tweets and posts, and replying to customer messages on your company’s website.
“There is no set rule on how to unleash a brand on consumers,” says Lida Citroen, Principal with LIDA360, an international branding specialty firm. “Some things to remember when introducing a new brand: The brand is an emotional expectation of an experience. Brands make us believe, feel and personally connect to something. A brand is not a logo or slogan – those items extend the brand's promise through graphics or narrative.”
Just Tell the Story
Stories are the most effective forms of social exposure and brand monitoring. Think of it like this; sales are closed through storytelling, friends are made by sharing stories, in fact you’re missing out on the value of your personal brand if it isn’t put in the context of a narrative. There are two ways to talk about your company: through self-promoting or bragging.
This is a tight wire to tread when establishing your brand, even tighter when it comes to monitoring. But, here are some simple do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when branding:
- Self-promoting is telling friends you’re engaged; bragging is telling friends how much you spent on that rock on her finger.
- Self-promoting is announcing the birth of your son; bragging is announcing the birth of all eight of your kids at a press conference.
- Self-promoting is announcing your advancement to company president; bragging is demanding the undying loyalty of all your former co-workers.
- Self-promoting is ‘I just wrote a novel;’bragging is a vanity plate that reads “Gr8 Writer.”
Make a Name for Yourself
Building your brand means creating connections with industry experts. When branding yourself, prepare to get mentioned and prepare to nurture those relationships with other thought leaders that will follow. You also need to keep in mind to ‘amplify’ your content to the media through post-targeting – understanding your goals and having content support your goals to maximize your brand advocacy.
Building your brand, whether personal or corporate, means writing things that reflect what you’re passionate about sharing. Building enough notoriety so that you can interview thought leaders and utilize their experience for your personal brand. Online brand monitoring experts can help in maintaining the name you have.
“Branding is always important. A brand sets a promise between a business and its consumers, a professional and his clients, and a blogger and her readers,” Citroen says. “The best blogs are ones that are very well branded, especially when that branding is not overt or obvious. Blogs that are well branded do these things right:
- They know their reader and what that reader needs and wants (addressing the emotional needs, too)
- The tone, posture and positioning (look and feel) of the brand is consistent with the beliefs and values of the blogger (and all guest bloggers, advertisers and sponsors)
- The content of the blog reinforces the values of the blogger and all affiliates
If the content, colors, logo or formatting was in direct conflict with the business and brand strategy of the blog, readers would become skeptical, offended or disinterested. And, we know that keeping readers engaged, happy and interested is where the business of blogging thrives!”
Based on conversations with our clients we have found that brand monitoring is is effective for not only vital for all types of businesses, but can be put to use for all sorts of benefits such as: lead generation, social media tracking, crisis management, customer success, influencer marketing and competitive analysis."
How do you manage your personal and professional brands? Let us know in the comments section.