SEO isn’t just about optimizing your own content to be easily found by people performing search queries directly in search engines or social media platforms. More sweat is involved to ensure your brand is facing its audience correctly and competently.
As many know, social media plays a significant role in how consumers perceive brands and even in how easily they can find them. Because of this it is more important than ever to include brand monitoring as part of a comprehensive SEO plan. Here is how to do it.
Where to Start
To effectively implement brand monitoring you will need a tool. Relying on Google Alerts is a good start but there are far more effective apps available which provide detailed information and analysis.
Connecting with Influencers
People care about what other people say. Especially if the ones saying it are public figures. Or influencers for that matter. Now, it’s important to understand there are three types of influencers:
- Local Influencers – their opinion impacts the local industry.
- Industry-Specific Influencers – these are people that have high authority over specific topics, skills, and industries.
- General Influencers – people who are public figures, have often hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers on social media.
Five years later, and this post from Copyblogger still outlines the best way to connect with influencers. A few ideas, besides social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram, include:
- Signing up for their program, product, service – putting some money in before asking for "free" stuff.
- Joining their on-site events or meetups: hey, if you have an opportunity to connect 1-on-1, do it!
- Asking the right relevant questions: One smart question can open many doors for you. Prove that you are smart, and that you know what you want from other people in terms of information.
Using Brand Monitoring Tools: Introducing Brand24
Brand24 is one of the newest faces on the brand monitoring tools scene, and has gained a lot of popularity among brands. The tool provides real-time insight into what is being said about your brand and your competition.
Membership plans start at $49 and can go up to as much as $399, plus customer plan for larger brands. However, a $49 plan is sufficient enough for an early-stage startup to monitor their brand successfully. Bonus: this is a pay-as-you-go type of service, which offers the user more flexibility and doesn’t force him into a 12-months contract or an automated payment scheme. The tool is fully automated, offers Slack integration, and has a mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.
The analytics section provides unique factoring such as advanced search queries, interactivity analytics, estimated social reach, and so on. A demo is available for testing if you need more time to think about it.
If you’ve read my recent article on customer journey mapping examples, then you should understand why knowing how people find you matters in the evolution of your services/products.
How Brand24 Works
Signing up for a free Brand24 account can be done with an email or using their Facebook integration.
Once you sign up, you will be asked to type in your target keywords or phrases. You can also specify what language you want results to be targeting.
The menu is located on the left of the dashboard and offers intuitive controls.
The overview portion of the dashboard is equally intuitive. It allows users to sort information by days, weeks, or months and to view by the most popular mentions or the most popular authors.
The bottom of the dashboard is especially valuable for identifiying the influencers who dominate the converstaion for your project’s keywords. Users can view the most influential profiles or sites and view associated statistical information.
The free version of Brand24 is robust. Those who want additional features can also choose to upgrade the service to one of the paid subscriptions.
Once you are monitoring brand mentions there are two powerful ways to use this knowledge to support your SEO efforts.
Request Mentions beyond Citations
Just because someone has cited a brand somewhere doesn’t mean they have linked to the website. Inbound links from authoritative websites are a valuable portion for your marketing efforts.
If a person is already citing a brand by name, they are more likely to be willing to include a proper mention with a link to their website, social media, or email address. You can use services such as HARO, or simply go the old fashion "blogger outreach" way.
Control the Narrative
If people are talking about your brand on social media, you need to be part of the conversation. Brand monitoring makes it possible to take action and instantly reshape the narrative if the brand is being mentioned in a negative light.
Alternatively, if the brand being complained about is a competitor why not swoop in and save the day? Monitoring your brand is a powerful tool but monitoring the competition can offer even wider perspective into what potential customers are happy with and what need has yet to be fulfilled.
Brand monitoring can maximize marketing efforts by providing direct consumer insight from those consumers who are already invested in your service or product. This allows you to learn exactly what they want so you can provide it and gain greater brand loyalty.
It will make it easier to identify the platforms on which they are most active so marketing efforts can be directed toward the right locations. If you know more people are mentioning your brand on Snapchat suddenly, it makes sense to invest the resources into developing a presence there. This is true for the reverse as well. You can avoid those platforms that have limited brand engagement to maximize marketing resources.
Any tool will work to a certain degree, whether you choose to pay $500+ a month or settle for $49. But people make the difference – and Brand24 excels in helping you reach those whose opinion counts. Other than that, you should make sure to have behind every brand monitoring tool, a sharp, detail-oriented employee or contractor who knows what they’re doing. The human factor should also be part of your marketing efforts, not just from a customer perspective, but also from an "in-house" operational point of view.