Buzz Monitoring

Aug 23, 2007 - 4:26 pm 4 by

What are people saying about your company or clients? What are the hot trends that turn into keywords you should be mining? Discover tips and techniques for monitoring buzz in this session. Moderator:

* Chris Sherman, Co-Chair, SES San Jose


* Rob Key, CEO, Converseon * Andy Beal, Consultant, Editor, Author, * Jonathan Ashton, Director of SEO,

Chris introduces the session and says that if you have negative publicity, you need to reduce the effects of it.

By the way, I have better hearing than Lisa. I can hear Chris just fine. But he does seem to be a little shy.

First up is Rob Key.

What is buzz? Consumers want to talk to consumers. They don't trust marketers; they trust each other. MySpace gets more traffic than Google.

Social media is linkable. You can't have a search strategy without a social media strategy. You cannot have a social media strategy without a search strategy.

You no longer own your brand. Your brand is a conversation.

There are different parts of the conversation - enterprise, mainstream media, and consumer generated content. Unless you're monitoring the buzz, you won't know what's there.

What is the conversation below the waterline? Buzz monitoring is conversation mining. You can scour the discussion areas to capture, understand, and report the products, issues, and opinions that consumers share between and among themselves. This includes newsgroups, blogs, podcasts, and social media sites.

The value of conversation mining is that you can spot trends and find out what customers really think of them. They can come up with ideas and concepts and companies can now listen in and engage.

Conversation mining helps marketers promote and protect their brands through the measurement of analysis of online word of mouth. - Where is it being appearing? - What is being discussed? - What should I be wary of? - Who is talking? Is it customers or employee? - Is my market engaging with consumers?

What are the core business uses? The failure of conversation mining is that when you won't take advantage of these issues, you may have issues with reputation management. It's an extension of customer service. - Reputation Management - New Product Launch - Market Effectiveness - Customer Service - Brand Management - Sales & Acquisition

Key mining dimensions: what do you want to mine for? - What's the source? - How do they feel? Positive, negative, netural? - What's the topic? Product quality, service? - Tone - enthusiastic, angry, etc? - How influential is the venue? - How deeply do they understand the product? Do I need to educate them further? - Existing versus new voices.

Conversation leads: - Influence: who are the most frequent and visible voices in the brand? What are they talking about and what is their sentiment?

Trending - category conversation mining. Trending over time provides great insights, allows you to find out if the sentiment is changing, and learn about the new topics. How are the perceptions of new voices?

Above the waterline: what's the source, what's the tone? You can see the stuff below the waterline and before it moves p.

Social media mining: What's your reputation for the most popular terms? Who can you influence?

Making it actionable: buzz monitoring allows you to create a social media strategy and we define social media strategy to proactively and ethically engage in proliferating consumer-generated media universe to inform the community.

Social media has detractors - reasonable detractors who you should kill off and determinate detractors who hate you and will be hard to work with.

Social media can enable you to take your site to the top.

Next up is Andy Beal who talks about buzz monitoring and wants to tell us how to take advantage of it for free.

Why should you track? There are a number of reasons: - Get product ideas - Get keywords (keyword research) - Be prepared for scandals - Product recalls - Industry trends - Client opportunities - Customer reactions - Competition

What should you track? - Company name - Executives - Customers - Patents - Press releases - Competitors - Stocks - Services - News

Industry: you can subscribe to RSS feeds that are broken down by industry. If you want to track the most recent news, you can get an idea of what's happening by going into Google News which tracks mainstream media and second and third-tier news sites. You can subscribe to that RSS feeds as well.

News Buzz: you can search for items on Digg. (Now I'm happy I chose my Digg shirt to wear today.) If you're a voyeur, you can use products like Digg Spy.

Blog posts are good to track. Technorati has a great amount of information for industries. This is probably the best RSS feed to subscribe to if you choose to limit your subscriptions.

Google blog search also works rather well. It picks up on things within a matter of minutes.

Blog comments: the conversation may have a deeper impact than the post itself. Make sure you see that too. Someone could have written a very positive post but the tone may change in the comments if your detractors are there. You can subscribe to comments.

Blog conversations - viral blogging - you blog, someone else blogs, etc.

Blog trends: you can check blog trends and see how often a topic has been blogged about. A service that does this is blogpulse.

Bookmarks: we're very lucky that people bookmark sites publicly rather than locally. Delicious is a good site. Subscribe to that RSS feed. Now when people bookmark things you can track it and see what's being said.

Photos/videos: You might want to keep track of anyone who has been uploading photos of your product. You want to make sure you can track Google Video, YouTube, Flickr, etc.

Tags: Everybody is tagging things these days. Check the brand name and see what people have tagged with a particular word. Then you can browse through Technorati, delicious, etc.

Forum posts: These are hard to track but we have BoardTracker that keeps track of conversations.

Changing information: You can subscribe to an RSS feed of all the changes made to that page.

Job Listings: You can use this to aggregate classifieds. You can subscribe to an RSS feed for that.

SEC filings: For example, lets you find out about these publicly traded companies.

Patents: Look for ideas or keep track of your competitors.

Conference calls: You can subscribe to transcripts of conference calls.

Events: You might want to know what conferences are being held, etc.

New Products; - you can see what other tags are being applied to products as well.

Search queries: Google Trends. This can be narrowed down to city.

Keyword referrals: If you type in the phrase iPhone, you can see which sites get the most traffic for that phrase. Compete can also tell you what search terms your competitors are ranking for.

Email Updates:

The untrackable: tracks a page for you and tells you as soon as it's changed. It's great for monitoring a BBB report or a PR page of your competitors.

Lastly, Yahoo! Pipes can be set up to track many different products. You can track conversations that happen in real time.

The last speaker of the conference is Jonathan Ashton.

He is focused on talking about minimizing the impact of complaints.

How much do you have invested in your brand? It's very important to do online because search engines can magnify that space. Brand owners can no longer control your message. The community sites facilitate the word of mouth communication. That branding you've invested can be killed completely by one single complaint.

He illustrates some brands that don't exist anymore because of the impact of negative word of mouth marketing. Complaints can have a life of their own.

Buzz management is now brand management. Push marketing from corporate sources is less impactful. In this era of social computing, word of mouth, customer reviews, and tagging that carries more weight than the billions of dollars you've invested.

You need to abandon the top-down perspective on brand management. Actively seek out the communities that respond and engage them.

Terminix and Orkin are brands under siege: - 99% of customer satisfaction means that there are tens of thousands of less than satisfied customers. - Complaints and bad buzz of all kinds show up in the SERPs when these brands are searched.

Some sites that do this are: - BBB - Ripoff Report - - - - But do your teams actually play defense?

The blog is really the soapbox of the new millennium. Today, it carries worldwide. Search Terminix and look at the third SERP.

Problems, complaints, and other problems show up in the results as well. You can find out about lawsuits and settlements. Even though they were from the past, they live in the presnet.

Co-opetition (book published in 1997). Finding ways to work with competitors and positively influence the environment in which you live so that you can separate the brand from the complaint.

Simple solutions: - When you search for Orkin, right above the fold is a complaint. Bid up some sites that are based on your brand. It may push the results below the fold. - Maximize your site to run interference. Give yourself over knowing that your customers are complaining about you. If your site is "Orkin Customer Service," change it to "Orkin compliments and complaints" so you'd rank higher. (Their Customer Service page has a high PageRank so it has high authority.) Modify your property to deal with this. - Help your corporate siblings to do better as well. Many local branch websites should also be linked to the results to push bad pages down. - Get your HR involved. Get a brand landing page on Monster and CareerBuilder so that it will be optimized for keywords related to your brand. - Maximize your PR. Use sites like,, etc. - Wikipedia. Orkin has a Wikipedia article and Terminix does not. - Help accidental tourists: You can pass link popularity to people who have the same name. Jeff Orkin is not related at all to the company but you should pass juice to him so you can push down that bad buzz. You can't put the genie in the bottle but you can reducethe negative buzz with creative thinking and co-opetition.


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