Communication and reputation departments are fixated on data: opinion scores, reputation scores, brand index pulses, media value and reach… But we re now so overwhelmed with data we can no longer see the forest for the trees. How can you employ technology to get a clear picture regarding your reputation? This article provides six tips for converting data into actionable insights that your organisation can use.

You can’t manage what you can’t measure

Social media analyses are now perfectly routine. Organisations measure NPS scores and response times. Volume graphics are used for up- or down-scaling of staff, and we have access to real-time knowledge on what topics are currently trending. We keep in touch with our web-care departments to see how our brand is performing. And yet we don’t really trust our own capacity to interpret big data. In this field, specialized expertise is necessary.

Many corporate communications departments are hunting for a knob to press that will improve their reputation. We would all like to have a magic wand to wave. But it actually isn’t so difficult to find a few key factors in the mountain of data that confronts us every day. What is vital is that you know how to connect the right factors with each other. The tips below provide skills you need to apply in your (partially automated) structural reputation analysis.

Tip 1: Look beyond quality

An increase in volume could have many underlying reasons. Someone could repeatedly send out the same tweet or receive many retweets, there may be a prize draw or your organisation could receive a mention in the context of a related topic. Always perform a smart analysis of these activity peaks; what are the trending topics? Do you perceive a change in sentiment? Were any stakeholders involved?

It’s a good idea to also look beyond just volume. An issue could have a big impact without necessarily being large in terms of volume. Reach, source category and source are other parameters you should consider in your analysis as a matter of course. Include newspapers, radio, tv, as well as high impact sources such as trade specific blogs, GeenStijl and the Correspondent.

Tip 2: Measure your core values

Your corporate communications strategy was created for good reasons. It has all the core values that you should want to show up in your report. With the help of a social media monitoring tool it is relatively simple to measure these values with a structured approach: map the keywords that are being used in relation to these values and perform your analysis on that basis. Take into account any changes in sentiment to do with your core values.

Tip 3: What impact do your press releases have?

A personal favourite: monitoring for the impact of press releases. Writing and publishing press releases is a major job component of corporate communications professionals and spokespersons. Generally you will have an idea of how something will land, and in most cases your organisation will have staff who produce an overview of press coverage. However, proper monitoring of the impact of press releases is often lacking, meaning you loose out on gaining important insights that could help you to optimise your PR strategy.

  • Which media pick up on which topics?
  • Which topics do really well?
  • Which press releases contribute to a shift in sentiment on social media

Tip 4: Distinguish proactive from reactive coverage

Proactive versus reactive coverage is another important parameter to look out for. Mapping this in a stractured manner will give you a clearer picture of which coverage just ‘çomes your way’ as opposed to coverage that you can control to a certain extent. This will contribute to your strategy. Pay close attention to hashtags and mentions related to your organisation and how these relate to content that was pushed out from your corporate accounts.

OBI4wan Brand Monitor chart

Tip 5: Industry expertise. What are the hot topics and what is their impact?

(Social) media monitoring is not limited to just your own organisation. Brand reputation stretches beyond the brand itself, as it could be impacted by the reputation of an entire industry. A crisis at organisation X within your industry, could lead to an increase in conversations about organisation Y (your organiation). As a communications professional, understanding which issues are impacting the industry as a whole, will help you to influence these conversations or divert attention away from them.

Tip 6: Monitor key stakeholders

As a communications professional you have mapped your key stakeholders. You generally have a good sense of the sentiment surrounding certain issues. Now try to take the next step: can you group the stakeholders? Do you discover any trends from doing that?

To illustrate, let’s take an internal issue. It doesnt’t take much for an issue like that to be picked up externally. By monitoring internal sentiment and discussions, you will be better prepared when this situation occurs. Platforms like Yammer are increasingly part of the monitoring OBI4wan performs for its clients. The intention is not to control or judge staff members’ communications, but rather to have a constant temperature check of internal issues and conversation topics.

The human aspect of monitoring will always be important, but we can make it easier. Hopefully these tips will contribute to your self-confidence and you will dare to start monitoring your online brand reputation more quickly.

Originally published here.