SES San Jose Day 4 – Buzz Monitoring

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Did you know that 45% of adult internet users have created online content or “user generated content”? And that MySpace gets more traffic than Google.com? And 77% think that blogs are a good way to get information about a company or product? Well now you know and you can formulate a plan on how to get in the conversation and measure success. Companies don’t own their brands anymore, so the time has come to join that conversation. This session was a great follow up to the earlier Social Media Optimization (SMO) and Marketing session I attended, since this session quickly reviewed the basics of SMO and how to track the buzz you will soon get from your efforts.

Rob Key, CEO of Converseon defined buzz monitoring as monitoring what people are saying about you, your company, and products on sites such as newsgroups, forums, review sites, blogs, podcasts, videos, social media, and social networking. It’s not just passively monitoring, but rather mining the data to find consumer opinions on your products and services and then using that data to spot trends and improve your brand and participate in that conversation. Business uses for buzz monitoring can be to find reputation issues, when launching new products, customer service opportunities, sales opportunities, and overall brand management and market effectiveness issues. Andy Beal, of MarketingPilgrim.com added that buzz should be mined to find product R&D ideas, potential recalls, scandals, and competitive information.

So once you decide you are going to monitor and mine these conversations, Rob laid out metrics you should track for each conversation: Source and influencer, sentiment (positive, neutral, negative), topic, subtopic, tone (frustrated, angry, happy), depth of understanding of source, and new voices versus existing.

Andy was up next and gave an excellent overview on how to use free tools and sites to help you monitor and mine user conversations. He listed around 20 or so types of content to track along with what sites to use to track such content. Because Andy promised to post his comprehensive list on his blog, MarketingPilgrim.com, I won’t publish the full list here but rather direct you to read his post next week. Awesome list and a must see!

Last to present was Jonathan Ashton, Director of SEO for Agency.com. Jonathan opened by saying that one bad story can kill all the money spent on branding and gave examples of Ford Pinto, Wendy’s chili, and Kryptonite locks. He said that even though Wendy’s proved that the lady making claims about finding a thumb in her chili was fraudulent, many of us still think Wendy’s makes “thumb chili”. I actually don’t think they use thumbs in their chili, but since I can’t get that visual out of my head, I’ll never eat their chili again. Sorry Wendy’s.

Jonathan said that corporate marketing is increasingly less meaningful in this era of social computing and that marketers should abandon the top down perspective on brand management. But what to do if you have negative buzz that has made its way to the SERPS? He recommended:

1. Using PPC to push down negative content below the fold and to own more real estate on the first page

2. Optimize your own site and blog, so that you are holding the top few spots

3. Create corporate sibling sites and blogs, to hold even more top spots

4. Develop links on Wikipedia and on job sites, since those often show up in top results. But the panel also warned to be careful when creating a Wikipedia page by being prepared to have all your “dirty laundry” posted on one page since user’s can comment and add to your entry. (excellent point!!)

5. Maximize PR efforts by using newsreleasewire.com and marketwire.com

6. My favorite: Help “accidental tourists” – those sites, people, and companies that may share your company’s name or your name. Build their link popularity and help them rise to the top of SERPS

Wonderful way to end an amazing week! Now off to the airport!

About the Author

Hallie Janssen is Vice President at Anvil Media, Inc., a search and social media marketing agency. Janssen also teaches a social media class with the Online Marketing Institute in conjunction with Wharton Interactive. Contact Hallie at 503.595.6050 x221 or Twitter.com/Hallie_Janssen.

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