Whether you’re an established brand or a new company making a name for yourself, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether your target audience appreciates you in the way you hoped. It’s hard to tell whether you’re not getting the attention you want because of a lack of engagement, a problem with a marketing strategy, or that people just aren’t feeling your brand. And even the most experienced marketing manager would find that challenge frustrating.
There is, however, a simple process to help you figure out how people truly see your brand. It might take some research and engagement you didn’t see coming, but it’ll be worth it when it’s all done. Promise.
First, you’ll want to scour social media to see whether people are having conversations about your brand at all. There are a couple ways that you can do that, like searching keywords and hashtags in Instagram and Facebook, or using Google Trends to see what people are search for. The objective of this search is to see whether people are looking up or having conversations about your brand and products.
At this point, you are less focused on the quantity and more on the quality of information. After all, if only five or six people are mentioning your brand, there may be invaluable data to make necessary changes. However, if you manage a popular brand, it’s important to review the trends as well as the one-off comment that requires attention before it becomes a crisis.
Now, if your brand is trending, it’s time to look at what folks are saying. Your knee-jerk reaction might just be to search for your brand’s special hashtags and only look at what folks say in that search. But you’ll benefit from digging just a little deeper – look at the conversations that other folks are having within the threads that mention your brand.
If others are chiming in to share only negative experiences, then your company need to make some changes…but if the people commenting are asking questions or expressing surprise that people are dissatisfied with you, that might be a good sign. You probably can’t do that with every thread, but randomly clicking through some of them will give you a genuine impression about how your grassroots consumers feel about you and your products and services.
Pay attention to whether your brand’s name comes up in negative searches for other competing brands. That means that it might look bad on the surface, but there’s a chance that people are looking to you to alleviate their issues with your competitors. If they’re calling other brands’ names, however, does this mean that your potential customers aren’t seeing you as a part of the marketplace? You can’t necessarily get clear answers to those questions from just a web search, but they’re good questions to ask regardless.
Another good way to figure out how people feel is to search the products or services your brand provides and see where you measure up. Part of how your brand gets bumped up on search engines, including those on sites like Facebook and Instagram, is based on how other users engage with your pages. So, if you’re pretty low on those search pages compared to your competitors, it might not mean that you’re doing anything wrong, but it does mean you’re not doing a lot of things right either. Which means it’s time to reconsider your approach to attracting engagement, at the very least.
You might be surprised that we didn’t bring up surveys at all. And that’s because, while people might be willing to answer a survey, how they engage with your brand online will give you all the data you truly need. With all that search information, you might discover that most folks aren’t saying bad things about your brand…but that many people aren’t saying anything at all, while they’re chatting about others in your field. Either way, that means it’s time to rediscover your marketing plan to get people talking! Good luck!