So you’ve got to grips with Brand New, Brand You. You’ve developed your Brand – Your values and your Vision. You’ve started to build up your network of contacts and your personal brand with a wider audience. But what are people saying about your brand? Chances are, if you’ve been working with the STAR elements of START, people are talking about you and your brand already. How do you monitor these conversations both online and offline?
Getting Started: How do people talk about you?
A good place to find how people know and speak about your brand is to look at the keywords and phrases they use to find your website.
You can find these metrics in the analytics package you’re using with your website. If you’re not using an analytics package like Google Analytics, Webtrends or Clicky, then brainstorm keywords and phrases that you may have heard clients/customers use in discussions you have had with them.
There are a large number of tools to choose from for monitoring Brand You and many are free to use. Here are a few free brand-monitoring tools that you may wish to try out.
You can sign up for Google Alerts quickly and easily. Using those keywords and phrases from your preliminary research, you can elect to have any instance of those keywords and phrases in combination with Brand You as Google finds them online sent straight to your inbox.
Enter the topic you wish to monitor, then click Preview to see the type of results you’ll receive.
Anytime Google indexes any mention in search results of the alerts you’re signed up for, you receive an email notification into your inbox. The notification is a direct hyperlink to the article, website, blog, product review, etc., wherein the keyword or phrase appeared.
SocialMention allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. SocialMention monitors 100+ social media properties directly, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg, Google, and many more.
It’s straightforward and easy to use. You simply type the brand, product, service name or keywords/phrase into the search field, select where you would like to search the social sphere for the search term(s) you have entered and click the Search button. I recommend searching all of the categories, but if you’re limited on time and resources, narrowing your search breadth and depth may be a good place to start.
SocialMention also provides the ability to narrow or broaden your brand monitoring as you like.
Based on your search criteria, SocialMention will return all of the mentions of your brand or keyword/phrase across the web.
Within the results, you’ll be provided a number of statistics, not just the instances of brand/keyword mentions. Based on SocialMention’s search metrics, they’ll provide you sentiment ratings, top keywords used in conjunction with your brand, top users of your brand name (those mentioning it the most), strength, passion, reach and more.
You’re able to click on the links where your brand is mentioned which facilitates a direct response to the person or party mentioning your brand or keyword/phrase.
While these provided metrics are not completely scientific, they’re a good reference point for understanding the nature of the types of conversations and comments surrounding your brand.
To narrow down where you monitor your brand, TweetDeck offers you a simple way to view multiple conversations and searches from one location. You can use the dashboard in multiple locations such as laptop, desktop, smartphone and tablet.
TweetDeck is your personal real-time browser, connecting you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and more.
You can monitor your brand mentions as they happen and respond just as quickly!
The power of TweetDeck and other similar dashboards like HootSuite is the ability to see tweets (conversations, comments, feedback) regarding your brand and keyword/phrases in real-time.
To monitor the blogosphere for what bloggers are posting about your brand, I recommend Technorati. It’s an online tool that searches a blog directory of nearly 1.3 million blogs for all mentions of the brand or keyword/phrases that you enter in the search field.
Technorati is the world’s largest blog search engine and robust community blogging platform.
When the search results are compiled, you have a listing of posts for perusal to again determine what kinds of product and service reviews, comments, feedback, stories and more are being shared regarding your brand.
Using Technorati for monitoring your brand via blogs allows you to post comments and feedback on the blog posts. Yet another tool that permits you to join in the conversation about your brand.
The search results Technorati blog searches return can be a powerful tool in finding and building a network of blogger brand ambassadors. When you find your brand mentioned in a blog post, take the time to read it, and comment. If questions are raised about your brand on a blog post, feel free to answer the questions. Many bloggers who take the time to write about your brand will welcome your participation in the comments/conversation. Use these opportunities for involvement to build your network of brand ambassadors, as often these folks are some of your biggest fans and advocates!
Klout is tool used to measure and leverage your online influence based on your use of social media communication tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google+. Wherever you have an online presence, you have the opportunity to influence people by creating or sharing content that inspires actions such as likes, retweets, shares, comments and more. The more engagement your posts receive, the more influential you are. Tracking this influence overtime, allows you to understand your brand resonance further, and basically, highlights what you should continue you doing, and what you should refrain from exploring.
Bit.ly is a URL shortener that tracks clicks to a URL you shorten, regardless of where you shorten it, and lets you see how many clicks that link received. It’s also a good way for determine the engagement of your network, as well as the best times to post an article. For example, tweet a blog post at 8 a.m. with one bit.ly URL, then tweet it again with a different bit.ly URL at 1 p.m., and see which time gets you the most clicks. Do this a few times, and see if you can figure out what time of day is the best time to regularly publish your blog posts.
When deciding which online monitoring tools are best for your brand’s needs, take into account all of these considerations: what, where, how and why you are monitoring. This will help you plan for and hopefully succeed in brand monitoring and give you a roadmap for how and where to participate in the conversations about your brand online.
In short, ask for feedback; from your manager, their manager, your peers and your customers. Seek feedback on a regular basis, especially after you have identified Brand You improvements or areas of focus. Exchanging information and perceptions is an iterative process, not a single event. You can do this relatively informally by just asking for feedback face to face outside of any structured one-to-ones with your manager, or you can use more formal mechanisms such as 360 degree feedback questionnaires and personality testing.
Receiving feedback is a gift that provides you with honest information about people’s’ perception of your behaviours and performance – Be open to what you will hear!
1: Face to Face Feedback
A Face to face meeting is a great way to get quick feedback about the Brand New, Brand You. I’ve listed below a few Do’s and Don’ts for these types of feedback session.
1. Set-out to the person giving the feedback your reasons for wanting feedback and areas of Brand You that you would like feedback on, e.g. personal impact, quality of work, areas for improvement etc.
2. Encourage honest, straight talking and reassure the person that they don’t need to hold back.
3. Let the person finish what he or she is saying. Really listen to what is being said, and often more importantly, not said.
4. Try to summarise the feedback at key points in the conversation, to ensure that you have listened effectively
5. Ask clarifying questions, if you’re not sure what’s being said and ask for specifics, if not provided.
6. Take the time after the feedback session to evaluate the information and consider specific actions for improvements.
7. Teach yourself to recognise situations in which a certain behaviour needs to be altered. Feedback can help you self-monitor your behavior at times when you are less than optimally effective.
8. Use feedback to clarify goals, track progress toward those goals, and to improve the effectiveness of your behaviors over a period of time.
1. Become defensive or explain your behavior. (You can either spend your time defending your actions or you can spend your time listening)
2. Interrupt the other person, unless you need clarification.
3. Be afraid to allow pauses and periods of silence when you receive feedback. This gives you time to understand what is being said and it gives the other person time to think about what they say.
2: 360 Degree Feedback
360 Degree Feedback is a more formal system or process in which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them. This typically includes the employee’s manager, peers, and direct reports. Typically a mixture of about eight to twelve people fill out an anonymous online feedback form that asks questions covering a broad range of workplace competencies. The feedback forms include questions that are measured on a rating scale and also ask raters to provide written comments. The person receiving feedback also fills out a self-rating survey that includes the same survey questions that others receive in their forms.
Generally, 360 feedback systems automatically tabulates the results and present them in a format that helps the feedback recipient create a development plan. Individual responses are always combined with responses from other people in the same rater category (e.g. peer, direct report) in order to preserve anonymity and to give the employee a clear picture of his/her greatest overall strengths and weaknesses.
360 Feedback can also be a useful development tool for people who are not in a management role. Strictly speaking, a “non-manager” 360 assessment is not measuring feedback from 360 degrees since there are no direct reports, but the same principles still apply. 360 Feedback for non-managers is useful to help people be more effective in their current roles, and also to help them understand what areas they should focus on if they want to move into a management role.
360 Feedback methods tend to measure the following areas of Brand You:
- Behaviours and competencies
- How others perceive an employee
- Skills such as listening, planning, and goal-setting
- Subjective areas such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness
Most company HR Departments will be able to help you perform a 360 assessment, but there are tools such as Appraisal 360 available for you to purchase online, but these can be relatively expensive.
3: Personality Tests
There are numerous personality and psychometric tests available which measure a skills such as verbal, numerical, abstract or mechanical reasoning (these are often called aptitude tests) and questionnaires used to find out about your personality type, learning style or career choices, which can help you and / or an employer make informed choices. Tests are often used by employers to give an objective assessment of a people’s abilities. They can also be used throughout your career to gauge areas for development.
That concludes the final step in START and the Brand New, Brand You series. Let me know you get on!