What are people saying about brands you work for on Twitter, Facebook and blogs? Should you be concerned? Do you need to respond? Is there any point in tracking those conversations at all?
Increasingly brands are spending more time and money in following what consumers are saying about them on the web. There is now a stack of tools that brands can use from basic systems that log mentions on Twitter to professional companies who take the data and turn them into sophisticated pie charts and graphs. The level of tracking is becoming more advanced too with some systems logging factors like Influence and Sentiment as well as Volume of tweets and posts.
I think there is an opportunity here for customer publishers to track what is being said about their clients in social media and use this information to educate their client and shape the editorial they produce.
There's an excellent list of reasons why brands should track social media activity on Mashable here, which includes things like Crisis Management and Ad Targeting and to those reasons I am going to add a few of my own that are specific to branded content providers.
1. Tracking can give customer publishers a very real insight into how their clients brand is perceived - Publishers have their own view that is invariably shaped by their client but also their own experience. By tracking consumers' views on Twitter and Facebook they might find that the way that the public perceives the brand is very different from their own views.
2. Social media can inspire branded content - If publishers are ever stuck for ideas about what to write about a brand then take a look at blogs and Twitter posts. Some posts will inevitably be rants about poor service, but others may throw up constructive criticism which could be addressed through articles online or in customer magazines. Generally clients will be impressed by a proactive way of translating consumer comments into editorial content.
3. Tracking social media can highlight influentials - These are the people who have lots of readers of their blog or followers on Twitter whose words about a brand lead conversations online. Their influence might not just be in social media too, their words might end up being among the top posts when someone searches for a brand or an issue on Google. Influentials can prove very useful to customer publishers on a number of levels. Get them onside and they may post and tweet about what great work you are doing - something that will hopefully also be noticed by the client. You might also want to use them to produce content for your magazine or website, especially if they are an authority in a specific area.