If you’re a brand new company, or one that (somehow) is only now transitioning to digital media, you’re probably asking yourself how you can get a better idea of what people think about you. You might think that having social media is enough – it puts you into direct contact with your target consumers, lets them talk to you directly and tag you in their thoughts about your products and services. That should be enough, right? What would you need media monitoring for? Well, the truth is that there’s a lot more to media monitoring than just tracking the comments on your Facebook page.
To start, a lot of people who talk about your brand aren’t talking directly to your brand. Sometimes, it’s just because they don’t know your social media handles, or didn’t think to tag you, or actively don’t want you to see what they post. Whatever the reason, that means that there’s loads of content about your brand that you’re not seeing…not unless you know how to look. But, with someone more experienced in what to look for, they can find references to your company’s products and services that you would never have guessed.
Take for example Reddit, which doesn’t really have brands online to tag when they talk about your brands. The platform, however, is full of conversations about product news, customer experiences, and other thoughts and feelings about brands. If you were just looking out for hashtags and mentions, there’d be no way for you to see that. But if you know where to look, there’s so much to gather and dig deeper into.
As media expands, there’s so much that you can’t track. New social media platforms are coming up quicker than we can all make accounts for them all, and that’s not even the beginning of it. There are millions of pages on those platforms, some of them so popular they could be considered their own websites. Then there’s traditional media like television and radio, and as more and more streaming services pop up and try to compete with each other, they’ll likely start becoming closer to traditional media as well, ads and all. As these media platforms continue to multiply, it’ll also become harder and harder for you to keep your eyes on it all.
Just in case you don’t know by now, media monitoring is more than just looking at the mentions on your Facebook notifications. It’s about gathering and sorting through chatter about your brand to get a better picture of how people perceive you and your products. And, as the platforms they can chatter on increases, so does the likelihood that you’ll miss something you don’t want to. More importantly, as social media dominates the thoughts of many marketing and PR departments, people underestimate the importance of what’s being said on traditional platforms like print and television. These aren’t the comments of happy or unhappy customers, but mentions of your brand from news reporters, in television shows, by radio announcers…things that you can miss all too easily.
Then there’s also the fact that, on the internet, people aren’t talking just about your brands. They’re talking about your competitors, associated brands, and lots more. Even though they’re not talking directly about you and your work, what they’re saying might still be important to you. They might be saying things about a rival brand that you want to use to your advantage, or about a feature or service that can be adapted to fit your company.
Sometimes, they might be talking about something that isn’t about your brand at all, but the conversations are so loud that you just can’t ignore it. When US fitness brand Peloton was taking a lot of hits about a recent ad campaign, a lot of other fitness brands were taking notes on what not to do. Interestingly though, Ryan Reynolds’ alcohol brand Aviation Gin saw an opportunity through the noise – the opportunity to make a smart, funny ad featuring the actress from Peloton’s…less-liked one. If you’re paying attention only to what people are directly saying about you, you might not have the bandwidth to listen to what people are saying about other brands. But, once you have someone on your team that’s working tirelessly to observe what people are saying about your brand relative to other players in the market, you can find surprising things that make for huge marketing wins.
Of course, if you think that you’re so small that no one’s paying attention to your brand – if you’ve only recently started your business, for instance – maybe you don’t need media monitoring right away, but you still will at some point when your brand takes off. In fact, everyone does. It doesn’t matter when you’re just a couple years old or an established brand. At some point, people will be talking about you. And you’ll want to listen closely to what they’re saying.