Are your customers bad-mouthing you behind your back? Do they say one thing to you, and something else to their friends?
It’s highly likely, especially if they’ve had a poor experience of your brand.
Back in the 1980’s, long before any of us had access to Google, Yahoo, Facebook or Twitter, the White House Office of Consumer Affairs conducted some research, the results of which sent shockwaves through customer facing businesses.
The research found 96% of customers who feel they’ve been given rude or discourteous treatment never complain. What’s more, every unhappy customer will tell their story to at least nine people.
Suddenly, the power of word-of-mouth marketing to drag a business through the mud became evident. Companies struggled to respond, because customers weren’t getting in touch about their bad experiences.
Fortunately, with the Internet, things are changing. Customers who’ve had a bad experience of your brand still might not come directly to you to complain. But they can turn to Twitter and Facebook.
Chris Arnold, who coined the phrase “brand terrorism” for the power of social media to destroy a brand, says people are 10 times more likely to raise complaints than praise a brand on social media.
The good news is, when customers complain on social media, you can find out what they’re saying, get in touch with them, and attempt to put things right.
So how can you give your brand a Twitter audit?
The Simple Way: Twitter Search
There’s a quick, easy way to get an overview of what customers are saying about your brand right now. You’ve probably already tried it. Plug your brand name into the Twitter search bar.
You’ll be given a list of the latest tweets about your brand, good, bad and ugly.
But what if you want to get a more in-depth understanding of what people are saying about you?
Digging Deeper: Advanced Search
Twitter’s advanced search tool helps you discover more relevant results. It does this in three ways.
First, you can exclude irrelevant results. Let’s say your brand is called “Blue Sea Cosmetics” but there’s another company called “Blue Sea Construction”, and when you search “Blue Sea” on Twitter, the results are flooded with talk about Blue Sea Construction. Using the advanced search, you can remove the word “Construction” from search results, to make your results more focused.
Second, you can search for Tweets from a particular place. If you know there’s been a problem with deliveries in Manchester because your shipping provider has let you down, you can check out the complaints in Manchester.
Third, you can filter results to be “Positive” or “Negative”, so you can find the good and bad things being said about you. At the time of writing, this is mainly done through searching emoticon symbols, so don’t rely on it too much!
Keeping Updated: Subscribe to Search Results
Delving into search every so often is great, and gives you a helpful overview. But far better to create a system that allows your customer service team to deal with every complaint.
There are a few different tools available.
Saved searches are built into Twitter, and provide a simple option, provided you remember to check them every day. After you’ve conducted a search you want to save, click the options menu at the top right of the search results, and select Save search.
If you want to keep track of all social mentions of your brand, but don’t want the hassle of remembering to check saved searches, then Twitter clients such as TweetDeck or Hootsuite provide an alternative option. On both of these web apps, you can create a dedicated column for your search term, so you have a constant feed of live search results.
Finally, Topsy is my favourite option for tracking Twitter search results as it provides the option of setting up email alerts. That way, you get to see what people are saying about your brand in your inbox.
What If No One’s Talking About You?
At least they’re not sharing anything bad! Seriously, though, if Twitter broadcasts a radio silence on your brand, you need to do more to get your brand out there. Focus on becoming a leading figure in your niche. Follow influencers.
Klout is a handy tool for helping you extend your influence on social media.
Keep going until people are talking about you on Twitter. Your brand will benefit.
Written by David
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