Brand monitoring on the Internet is one of the basic methods of modern marketing. Thanks to such actions, we are able to respond to the company’s image changes on an ongoing basis, as well as to detect possible crises and deal with them quickly. In addition, we have an insight into how our competitors are doing and we follow trends in the industry. Knowledge about all these things helps us to build an effective and tailored promotional campaign. But how best to monitor the brand on the Internet? Is it worth using specially designed tools for this? And if so, which ones work best?
There is no denying that modern marketing can not do without the Internet. Traditional forms of advertising are currently only an addition – most potential customers look for information about companies on the web and form an opinion about them based on what they find there. It would seem that the basis is to design a good website and regularly publish attractive content on social media profiles. In fact, our image is equally influenced by other issues, such as comments from other Internet users and various reviews. Even the best site will not do much, if you can find a lot of negative opinions about the quality of our services next to it. It is important that the traces of our presence on the web be consistent and build a positive, professional impression. It is also worth paying attention to how our brand looks against the competition and to what extent it matches the current trends and market demand.
Internet monitoring is the act of just controlling what can be found on the web about us, as well as being up to date with what the competition does and what trends can be observed in the entire industry. How can you benefit from such an action?
Firstly: increasing sales
Acquiring information is not the only goal we can achieve by monitoring the brand on the web. On many Internet forums one can come across doubts of potential consumers, their inquiries about recommended solutions, brands or products. It is enough to encourage them to visit our site and get acquainted with the offer. Rather, it is not worth hiding your identity – it is much better to introduce yourself and present yourself as an expert. Internet users are very sensitive to poorly hidden whisper marketing, and the suspicion that we are trying to promote in a dishonest, veiled way could only harm us.
Secondly: establishing relationships with clients
The Internet, as the only medium, gives a unique opportunity to establish two-way communication with consumers. Advertising spots, billboards or leaflets can be used to inform the customer about our offer and encourage them to use it, but they do not give us feedback or allow us to present ourselves with a slightly more “human” side. Being in the same forum as our potential recipients is an opportunity to build relationships and gain authority. A client who receives professional advice from us several times will remember us as trustworthy specialists and will most likely purchase our product or service.
In addition, monitoring the mentions of yourself on the Internet gives us an insight into information that goes beyond the official materials published by the brand. As a result, we know what users think about our products, offerings, customer service and media image. On social networks, blogs and forums we can read about what the average audience thinks about our last advertisement, and find out how likely it is that they will recommend our products. Thus, we gain knowledge about what we should change in our offer and what elements of marketing strategy are received positively and which negatively.
Thirdly: quick response to negative opinions
Familiarizing with critical voices means not only the ability to check what needs to be improved in our products, but also the chance to react quickly and blur the bad impression. Thanks to monitoring the Internet, we are able to immediately detect negative comments and deal with the crisis caused by them. Each company may experience a setback: product defect, poor service quality, incorrectly processed complaint, etc. It is important how we respond to this situation. If we approach the customer with respect and help him solve the problem, it is very likely that we will change his opinion about us. Many times it has happened that the professional reaction of the brand to this kind of crisis has changed its fierce opponent into a real fan.
Fourthly: being switched on
In other words: continuous updating of knowledge about how the competition works and how our activities are in line with current trends in the industry. Knowing your “opponents” will allow us to create products and offers that will stand out. In addition, the knowledge of which products of other brands sell, and which turned out to be misfires and what marketing activities work in their case, is a guarantee that we will not make the same mistakes as others. Constant control of what Internet users say about our industry, allows to assess what their needs are, which products are in excess on the market, and which ones are missing.
Fifthly: knowledge needed to build your own strategy
Planning a marketing campaign is based primarily on certain assumptions about the industry and our target group. It is worth reviewing these beliefs from time to time, finding out who our clients really are and what they say about our company. Perhaps we have completely misjudged the characteristics of our target or even directed our ads to the wrong audience. It is worth checking not only such basic matters as age, sex, education, material status or interests, but also their typical behaviors on the Internet and the platforms they use. As a result, we will find out which activities are the most profitable to invest in and which products should be promoted the most.
Of course, in theory, we can just sometimes check not only the fanpage of our company, but also popular industry forums, companies’ bases enabling adding comments and other places where our brand could be mentioned. However, not only is it a very time-consuming but also an ineffective way to monitor the Internet. Using such methods, we have to reckon with the fact that we will never be able to find all the mentions about ourselves. A much better solution is to use one of the tools designed specifically for monitoring the brand on the Internet. Which of them are the most recommendable?
Brand24 is a Polish company whose flagship product has become a tool for monitoring on the Internet, with particular emphasis on social networks. The program tracks the Internet on a regular basis, i.e. in real time and depending on the selected package, it presents the publications it has detected even as soon as they become available. Thanks to this, we have a chance to react very quickly to possible crises and we always stay up to date with the content that interests us. The advantage of Brand24 is the way of paying for services – instead of paying for each search term individually, we pay for a monthly subscription which entitles us to monitor a certain number of issues. The interface is very transparent and intuitive, thanks to which even real muggles can use it. The company offers four packages:
- Personal Plus – basic package recommended for monitoring personal brand. It allows you to monitor six keywords, and within a month is able to show us up to 5,000 entries. The mentions are updated twice a day. This is the cheapest option, costing PLN 149 per month;
- Professional Premium – a selection recommended to small and medium-sized companies, agencies and other entities starting monitoring. It costs PLN 299 per month and allows you to check 10 issues, with no limit to the number of entries displayed. Detected publications are updated once an hour, and the user also has an insight into the list of users who most says about the brand;
- Professional Business – a professional package addressed to larger companies, agencies and institutions, enabling comprehensive monitoring of the brand, competition and selected topics. It allows you to check up to 30 passwords and updates entries every 30 minutes. There is no limit to their number, it also stores the annual history of results. It also allows you to generate reports in PDF format. Such a package costs PLN 799;
- Professional Max – an even more powerful tool designed for large agencies, media houses and major brands. It allows you to monitor 110 returns, and entries are updated in real time. It also stores a history of three years. In addition to the functions available in the other packages, it also offers a contact with a consultant who helps to configure projects, select keywords and create analyzes. The price of such a solution is PLN 2999 per month.
The advantages of Brand24 include the possibility of using it with a smartphone. In addition, the program has a search engine dedicated to Instagram, allowing you to search using both descriptions and hashtags. It also detects the undertone (sentiment) of comments about our brand, i.e. it shows how many of them are negative, and how much neutral or positive. It also allows you to set notifications based on defined filters and to categorize results, eg due to source, sentiment or interactions), in other words, the popularity of found entries).
Monitori is another tool coming from Poland. Recently, the program has been combined with another service designed to monitor brands on the Internet, namely Unamo Social Media Monitoring. The tool is distinguished by a very simple and clear interface, and the obtained data is presented in a very accessible way. Another plus is the fact that by entering the application page, we can receive a sample of its possibilities for free – all we need to do is enter the phrase we are interested in in the search engine on the home page. Another option to check whether the application suits our needs is to use the 14-day trial period, which gives access to part of the program’s functions. To use the tool you already have, set up a project and give it the right name. Next, we define keywords (if we have a problem with that, we can use the “tutorial” available on the website). The system sorts the found references based on the selected criterion: type of channel, number of shares, likes or comments, sentiment, gender or the Internet user’s nickname. The program specializes in monitoring social networking sites, and in its analyzes, separates the statements appearing on them and outside them. An innovation is the hourly distribution – thanks to it we are able to distinct the time of the day in which our fans are the most active and adapt our own marketing activities to them. It is also worth mentioning the tools designed to compare several different issues or the same project at different time intervals.
Monitori offers various packages:
- Basic – the most basic option, costing 70 PLN per month. For this amount, we can monitor up to 5 phrases. There is no limit of statements and users, and the result is updated in real time. Archived data is stored for a month, but it is possible to expand the history. We can also get acquainted with the ranking of people most often expressing themselves on a given topic. Basic Monitor analyzes the sentiment of statements, as well as other data about them (age, sex, source, number of interactions, etc.). In addition, you can use it to generate unlimited reports in PDF format, as well as set up an email alert;
- Growing Teams – the package contains all the amenities of the Basic option, and the phrase limit depends on the amount paid. 10 keywords costs PLN 158 per month, 15 keywords PLN 137, 20 – PLN 316, 25 – PLN 395 and 30 – PLN 474;
- Enterprise – the content of the last packet depends on the individual needs and preferences of the user. An undoubted advantage of this option is contact with a dedicated customer assistant.
SentiOne is another Polish brand monitoring tool operating on 26 European markets, including Poland, Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Romania, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Denmark , Finland, Greece, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Sweden, Montenegro and Slovakia. SentiOne can boast of an impressive customer base – applications such as NIVEA, Samsung, Procter & Gamble, Allegro, Unilever, Huawei and Allianz are used, as well as the City of Warsaw. The program should interest us especially when our company also operates on foreign markets and therefore we care about monitoring the Internet also in other languages than Polish. The great advantage of SentiOne is that regardless of the package we decide on, we do not have the limit of key phrases, so we can enter as many queries as we like. In addition, in each option the results appear immediately, which allows for quick response to possible crises and dynamic contact with recipients. In addition, the company provides a free training, thanks to which we can get acquainted with the possibilities of the tool. Its functions include among others automatic generation of reports in PDF format, sentiment and gender analysis, critical alerts, identification of opinion leaders, summary of industry activities or summary of activities against the background of the competition. In addition, a mobile application for Android and iOS is available, which allows us to use SentiOne in all conditions and at any time.
Among the packages available for this program, you can choose:
- Personal – within it one project is available. Immediate archival results from 3 months are available. The application presents up to 10,000 mentions, provides system analysis, e-mail alerts and notifications. The whole costs 149 PLN per month;
- Team – a tool designed for in-depth monitoring, enabling the simultaneous running of five projects and displaying a maximum of 100,000 mentions. It shows information such as opinion leaders and social coverage, as well as allows you to generate PDF reports. The Team package costs PLN 799 per month;
- Enterprise – a package with an international range, allowing any customization of functions (and prices) to suit your needs. It provides immediate archived data from up to 36 months, as well as an unlimited number of mentions. It allows you to export data in various formats, provides online analysis (including international analysis), enables immediate response to found posts, and offers assistance of qualified employees who will help us optimize the activities related to brand monitoring.
It is worth mentioning that we can opt for both monthly and annual settlements – in the latter case we save as much as 20% of the original price of the package
Google Alerts is one of the most basic tools for monitoring the Internet. This service is suitable for everyone – great for both a small company and a private individual who wants to stay up to date with publications on the topic of their choice. Importantly, the tool is completely free, which makes it ideal for all those who are just starting their adventure with brand monitoring and are not sure if they want to invest their money in this marketing sector. The method of setting notifications is very simple. All you need to do is enter the “alerts” sub-website after logging into your Google account. Then we can enter the phrase that interests us and set the parameters we choose. By clicking the “Show options” button, we can change parameters such as:
- sources – the types of websites that we want to monitor (in the case of tracking the brand it is best not to set any restrictions here, to have access to all mentions about the company);
- frequency of receiving notifications (on a regular basis, once a day or once a week);
- way of delivering alerts
- number of expected results (we can only monitor the best search results);
- region (if we want to limit part of the world from which we will receive information).
Skilful use of Google alerts can allow us to achieve many different goals. Thanks to the ability to display only the best search results, we can, for example, examine the quality of our blog entries or website. To do this, all we have to do is search for the topic that interests us and see if most of the content we publish appears in valuable results.
Unfortunately, like most free programs, Google Alerts also has disadvantages. People dissatisfied with the quality of the tool indicate, among others that filters may be too restrictive, results sometimes appear late, and the program does not always look up all mentions about the brand (Google does not detect, for example, entries in social media). Google Alerts also do not allow you to export data to a PDF or Excel file, and do not analyze the sentiment. So you can say that it is a good solution to begin with or for small businesses that can’t afford more advanced programs. However, if we run a large company and need very detailed information – the Google application may not be enough.
Mention is another free program that allows us to monitor the Internet for specific keywords. Unfortunately, it is not available in Polish – so it will work only for companies operating on foreign markets. To use the tool, simply register for free or log in using data from one of the supported sites, which include Facebook, Google, OpenId and Twitter. The application searches for mentions on various websites, blogs, news, discussion forums and social networks. To add a project, you have to set various parameters: its name, the keywords you want to search for, as well as the types of sources that interest us. In addition, we can mark the addresses to be blocked. Mention displays the results obtained in the form of a clear, transparent list, which also includes references to graphics and films. An interesting solution used in the application is Anti-Noise Technology, a function that works like an anti-spam filter. This system removes unnecessary or multiplied content, and also analyzes alerts deleted by the user to later skip similar entries.
We can use Mention on the website, as well as download a program running under Windows, Mac OS X and GNU / Linux. The program is also praised by supporters of tablets and smartphones, because it has efficient applications for mobile devices. If we want to send notifications, we can do it using an email box.
The free version of the program has some limitations – we can only track 3 phrases and receive up to 1000 entries during the month. If these numbers are not enough for us, we can opt for one of the paid professional packages. For the equivalent of $29, we can buy Solo Plan for one user and make 3000 entries available, for $99 we will buy Starter Plan, which provides 5,000 mentions, sentiment analysis and influencers. This version is intended for three users, which means that we can grant access to our projects to other users, and at the same time limit their rights – there are two types of choice: an administrator and a colleague who can manage the data only partially. The last package is the Company Plan, the content of which is determined individually. If we decide to settle annually instead of monthly, we will save the equivalent of two months’ fees for using Mention.