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One of the best — and worst — parts about the information on the internet and social media is that it is continually changing. New sites, posts, and reviews update regularly.

Some of these posts, either positive or negative, could be about your company, your brand, or your industry.

You must keep up with your online brand presence across the web and social media. A bad Yelp review could cost you customers. Customers backchanneling about your business’s customer service or product quality on social media might, too.

Or, perhaps someone writes a rave review, and you want to signal-boost it to a broader audience or link to it from your social media? You must know that these posts exist to take any action.

But, with so many social media platforms and billions of web pages, how can you keep up? Randomly Googling your company now and again can be helpful, but it’s not enough.

You need information about how your brand is perceived and portrayed online to be up-to-the-moment so that you can take appropriate action to protect your reputation.

Our affiliates at Romain Berg use many different tools to keep up with their clients’ brands and branded keywords. Here are some of our favorites, along with a quick primer.

What is SEO brand perception?

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Brand perception is merely what customers, potential customers, and the search engines themselves think about your company’s brand, and what they associate with it.

In other words, brand perception is what comes to mind when a search engine “sees” your brand and displays results related to it for customers searching the web.

Is your brand considered something knowledgeable, reliable, trustworthy, and a good citizen? Do users associate your brand with positive customer experiences and good value?

Does the search engine, and subsequently, the customer, have a generally good impression of your brand, especially relative to others in your industry?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to build your brand perception online and in social media.

If your brand consistently comes to the top of search results for specific queries, people will begin to associate your brand with those queries — whether they are positive or negative.

For example, you would love to come to the top of the search for “best ____,” but you probably would not want to be on the first page of results for “worst _____.”

When you optimize for SEO, you can influence how the search engines perceive your brand. Controlling this narrative impacts what information customers see.

With SEO optimization for branding, you can work to accentuate the positive and bury the negative about your brand as long as you know what keywords and strategies to use to do that, of course.

Branded keywords are part of brand perception.

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Branded keywords are specific keywords associated with your company, not just your industry. These would include your company’s name, and any trademarked words or phrases you use.

Branded keywords are part of your SEO optimization strategy. They are used by searchers who have heard of your brand, and enter your company’s name to learn more specifically about you.

You need to keep tabs on how your branded keywords are used online and in social media, for several reasons. These include:

  1. Monitoring for positive experiences you can highlight in your marketing.
  2. Monitoring for questions posed by consumers that you can answer.
  3. Monitoring for adverse interactions with your brand, so that you can see what complaints people have, seek to address them, and reach out to an unhappy customer to turn the relationship around.
  4. Noticing where your brand is mentioned online. For example, are people blogging about an experience they had? Is someone posting on social media about trying your branded product?
  5. Noticing what other keywords your branded keywords are paired with most often. This strategy will help you further optimize your SEO keywords and refine your target audiences.

Why should you monitor your online brand perception?

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Precisely, you need to monitor your online brand perception for both crisis communication and proactive marketing. If someone is complaining online about your brand, you need to know ASAP.

You’ll need to make an appropriate response before others chime in and you end up with a full-blown PR disaster.

With the pace of information sharing on the web these days, you can monitor your brand at breakfast and have an online dumpster fire by lunchtime.

One negative comment can spiral out of control if other users resonate with the experience or find it particularly outrageous or off-putting.

You also need to monitor your brand perception to plan your company’s sales and marketing efforts.

If people already strongly associate your brand with a particular positive attribute, brand perception monitoring lets you know that association exists, and how strongly.

It’s then up to you to leverage that positive affiliation into additional sales. Targeted content, SEO, and other digital marketing tactics will help you gain traction as a leader in your both industry and your region.

Brand perception monitoring can also help you see if you trend in localized searches or national ones. Noticing this connection will help you understand how well you rank in your primary business service area.

5 tools to monitor and moderate brand perception.

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If thousands of web pages and millions of social media posts are added every day, how can you keep up with your brand and branded keyword perception?

You can hire a digital marketing firm–we love Romain Berg in Minneapolis– to monitor them for you and produce summary reports of your rankings, opportunities, and challenges.

Or, you can try some of our favorite tools to track your online brand perception yourself. Here are six tools to moderate your brand perception:

Use Google Alerts for new content notification.

In the world of the internet, Google Alerts is an “oldie but goodie.” Founded in August 2003, notifies you whenever content on the web related to your search terms changes.

The service is free to use, and you may set up as many alerts for as many different search terms as you like. Google Alerts sends an email to your primary address when it finds new results on web pages, blogs, news articles, videos, or other sites.

With Google Alerts, you have control over how often you want to be notified, from once per week to as-it-happens. You can also narrow your results to a specific region, and specify whether you want filtered results or all results.

Many companies set up alerts for branded keywords such as their company name and products, to look for discussions. They may also create an alert for key employees such as the CEO to monitor for positive or negative mentions.

Further, setting up alerts for trending topics and industry keywords can help you locate new material for SEO content or product ideas.

Give a hoot about Hootsuite

You may have heard of Hootsuite as an integrated platform that lets you collate all of your social media accounts into a single interface, helping you more easily make posts across platforms.

You may not know that Hootsuite is also an excellent way to monitor your brand’s mentions in real time, across multiple social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and WordPress.

Hootsuite will produce weekly reports for your social media activity that are helpful for seeing your influence and audience interaction over time. Hootsuite also allows you to monitor specific search terms, such as your branded keywords, in real time.

Hootsuite will make a feed for mentions of your brand, products, or other relevant keywords you choose, so you can see when and where they appear.

Twilert: know what the Twitter chatter is about

Talk about a fast-moving social platform. General estimates are that around 5,000 tweets are posted every second.

Sure, you can search for your brand in the Twitter search bar to see recent results, but like with the web, you’ll want to set up a monitoring system that notifies you when there is relevant content.

There are several free and subscription-based tools to help you with this function, but Twilert is a highly rated service used by many reputable companies. Twilert is kind of like a Google Alert but for Twitter.

Twilert takes snapshots of tweets about your branded keywords or other search parameters and sends them to you in real time, so you don’t miss anything. This function can be especially important in the case of a deleted tweet that caused controversy and was taken down.

Since Twilert takes snapshots when your brand receives mentions, you get the information even if it is no longer live by the time you go to respond.

Twilert offers a free 30-day trial and then several plans depending on your needs and volume.

Review Push: monitor customer reviews

Monitoring all the places where customers can leave a review of your business online is time-consuming indeed. Thankfully, tools for combing through common review sites and aggregating reviews related to your brand or keywords exist.

One useful tool in this category is Review Push, which accomplishes several key brand perception functions with its all-in-one dashboard. Your Review Push dashboard does all this:

  1. Sends you push notifications when a customer posts a review on one of the review sites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, or Google reviews.
  2. Lets you see your ratings over time, to compare trends.
  3. Lets you monitor multiple locations separately and then compare them to one another.
  4. Lets you see which major review sites your brand is not listed on and helps you solicit reviews from community users.
  5. Lets you go to specific reviews to respond quickly, right from its dashboard.

The service is free for the first 21 days, then there is a monthly fee depending on your volume and needs. More than 20,000 businesses use Review Push to monitor their brand’s perception online.

Meltwater: your brand and keyword media monitor.

Some readers may remember the traditional media or press clipping services. Someone was paid to read hundreds of newspapers and magazines every day, looking for a mention of your company, brand, or products.

They then clipped the article, made a copy, and sent it to you, first in the regular mail, then later by fax and email.

Times have changed, but the principle behind media listening has not. Instead of actual clippings, a service such as Meltwater will pay attention to your online footprint.

Meltwater combs thousands of news, blog, and industry influencer sites, looking and listening for a mention of your company, branded keywords, or other phrases you identify.

Meltwater also analyses the mentions of your brand and presents you with a report of the general sentiment: x percentage positive, negative, and neutral.

Finally, Meltwater helps you measure the effectiveness of your marketing and media outreach efforts.

If you send out content that you hope will be picked up by bloggers and journalists, Meltwater can give you visual proof of the uptick in your mentions and topics following a marketing or PR effort.

Meltwater is a global company that helps thousands of businesses strategically monitor and moderate their brand perception. They offer many plans and pricing to meet a variety of business needs.

Let a professional ensure your superior brand perception online.

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If you’re seeking assistance with the important task of monitoring online brand perception and branded keywords, reach out to our friends at Romain Berg.

We’re proud to refer clients every day to quality firms like Romain Berg, https://www.romainberg.com, who use these tools and many others in a comprehensive digital marketing DFY strategy.

Business owners need to run their businesses, while their trusted partners ensure the highest quality brand perception. Take charge of your online brand perception today, and stay top-of-mind with your customers tomorrow.

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