A conversation that your brand should be part of is raging across the web every single day, and it’s happening over various social media channels. If you don’t have a presence on those channels, you may be missing the opportunity to gather external insights on your store, expose your brand to other people, develop thought leadership and brand credibility and build a rabidly loyal customer following.
As a small shop, you may find that your hands are full as it is. How can I search the web daily for conversations surrounding my brand and my industry when I barely have time to focus on traditional marketing? Chances are you’re already plugged into a couple of relevant industry networks; the next step is finding an easy way to tap other resources and keep an eye on your brand’s role in the industry. Below we’ve listed a few tips that we think will help save you time.
01: Monitor your brand with Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is a system that delivers customizable insights directly to your email inbox. All you have to do is define a word or phrase to monitor, and Google Alerts will deliver all new indexed content that includes your keywords straight to you at a frequency you define. You’ll want to set alerts for your brand and for other conversations you think are relevant and important to your brand.
02: Build RSS feeds for all industry publications.
Who are the major influencers in your community? For instance, if you sell cooking tools, is there a prominent blog out there about the hottest new items? Maybe a prominent chef shares random insights on the cooking tools that have gotten him to where he is. Whatever the publication, subscribe to RSS feeds and spend a half an hour or so perusing the trends every morning.
Negative feedback requires a response, and it requires it in a timely manner. Instead of feeding criticism by trying to defend your actions, offer your help in solving the customer’s problem.
04: Host your own unedited forum.
Why spend time finding the conversation when you can own it? By setting up an industry-related forum on your store, you make it easy to view the conversation, gather insights and take appropriate opportunities to save dissatisfied customers. This requires a generally hands-off approach; you could end up doing more damage to your brand if you censor negative feedback. (Note: offensive feedback is fair game for removal.)
05: Use your company blog as your voice.
The conversation might start on another blog or publication—but if you’d like to continue the dialogue in a venue closer to home, respond to blog posts and articles using your corporate blog. When you link back to the original article, you may inspire further dialogue with a trusted and followed voice in the community, driving more customers to your blog and your store.