Listening to Brands Online

This week I set out to compare two different brands online reputation. This was accomplished by using a few different free online listening tools, which essentially crawl the web looking for a searched topic of your choice. The brands which I listened for were, Tacori and Zales, both jewellery companies who specialize in diamonds.

Listening Tools

The following tools were my primary source for learning about the diamond brands online reputation. Many tools can be found at:

Addictomatic was a great tool for monitoring several online sources due to the ease of use and many sources it searches. With one search of your topic, the site displays a dashboard of feeds from each outlet. The following list includes each online source.

  • Twitter
  • Bing News
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Google blog search
  • WordPress
  • Wikio
  • Twingly
  • Yahoo
  • Friend Feed

I would definitely recommend Additomatic for businesses. I think it is a practical and easy way to get a glimpse of what is happening in multiple outlets.

IceRocket, the second tool I used, can individually search, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and online images sites. Considering the site only searches one online source at a time, the results display a longer history than Addictomatic. This was helpful because I could view a fairly extensive history quickly.

What I really liked about IceRocket was the search of Facebook. Any posts made by users (who have the appropriate privacy settings) are listed with the users name and the comment/link they posted. This is helpful because not only can you see what was said about your selected topic, but you can also click on the users name and try to determine demographic information, which can be helpful for additional marketing research.

Like Addictomatic, I would also recommend the tool for businesses. It displays what the online world is saying about the brand in a fairly extensive manner, which gives a more detailed summary of conversations without having to dig for it.

WildFire, the third tool I tried, was the least useful tool I used. Wildfire intends on comparing the success of 2 -3 Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. I found this to be a simple comparison of likes or followers which I can easily do myself. I also had trouble with the Facebook comparison as it denied my link and topics of Zales and Tacori. I will say that It was useful for demonstrating the growth of each account as it displayed the growth of the past few months and compared the two brands on a graph.  I would only suggest this tool if you are looking to see or compare account growth.

Online Perceptions of the Brands


Surprisingly, Tacori has little to no negative comments online (that I could find). The majority of conversation happens in blog posts, which discusses their advertising, celebrity sightings, weddings and new product launches. Much of what the listening tools generated was the company and people posting links to articles, photos, or product launch videos. Comments on these posts are usually something like, “I LOVE IT!” Tacori has many contests online, where people share links to contest details, and Retweet to enter. All of this activity has supported a positive online repuation.

Tacori’s Facebook page is definitely worth mentioning. Tacori primarily posts photos of products or ads and they receive a very strong positive response. With over 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments on almost every photo, the Tacori community loves to talk about how gorgeous the product is. This has greatly impacted the company’s online reputation.


I found that a lot of the conversation or posts surrounding Zales had to do with promotions, and sales. This was found on many blogs, and articles throughout the web. Now, the big action for Zales is happening on their Facebook page. Over the past week there has been an overwhelming amount of activity. Within one day, users post more the 20 comments, photos, stories and sometimes complaints. It appears that Zales is hardly able to keep up, resulting in some complaints left unaddressed, and Facebook users going a bit wild, which can hurt Zales reputation.

There was a couple days of this kinda stuff..

Which was then followed by..

Despite some turbulence on the page, it seems to be somewhat managed, and has a wide range of positive stories from its consumers which help dictate its positive online presence.  In contrast to Tacori’s page, users generate the majority of Zales page content, and Zales responds. I believe this says something very positive about not only the success of Zales page, but the brands reputation online.

Social Media Philosophies


After monitoring the brand online, I would say the social media philosophy of the company is to encourage conversation around the product. By constantly posting product photos and asking the community to “like” or RT if you would wear it, they are encouraging the positive conversation to go viral. Considering the brand has been blessed with little to no negative comments, they have yet to demonstrate how they handle reputation damaging conversations.


Zales has a lot to keep up with, and after following them it appears to be that their philosophy is simply… to keep up.  With bloggers talking about sales, and Facebook users fighting on their page, they are trying to respond and be present in the conversation. Because of this, they are not able to steer the conversation like Tacori has successfully done.


It is easy to see from the results of Tacori vs. Zales that the same product can be treated very differently online. Lessons for a diamond competitor and other companies, would be it is best if the company can influence the conversation, versus the consumers taking over. On the other hand, it is also great when consumers are excited about the product and share stories, as it injects a level of authenticity that the company cannot get through their own posts.



Measuring Social Media Efforts

Michael Senger

Michael Senger, CEO of Stone Mass, could be deemed as a social media guru. Senger spoke at Kwantlen University and shared some of his insights on the online world today, and social media. With regards to measuring social media efforts in the corporate world, Senger has some thoughts on how to begin a social media strategy and then measure it.

 Firstly, identify company goals-Not just any company goals, but specific goals. Ex: “increasing web traffic by 10% to support a product launch for September.”

Identify key performance indicators (KPI’s)-  Measureable KPI’s help determine the success of a online marketing effort. An example of a KPI is % of returning visitors.

With all the excessive information out there, using the objectives and goals to decide what KPI’s are to be measured, will provide the marketer with clear data that speaks to the progress of the campaign or social media outlet.  

Monitor the progress- Monitoring the KPI’s over a designated time period will help determine the progress, and identify what needs to be modified. It is also important to note that as objectives change, the KPI’s may also change.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter group and writer of the Brain Solis blog (which I highly recommend), has developed a reputation within the marketing industry as a thought leader.

Be careful what you ask for, you might just measure it is a recent blog post by Solis which discusses the changing media platforms and marketers changing methods in measuring it.

Solis believes that in order to survive the “Digital Darwinism,” marketers must change their methods.

Listen, Learn, Engage, and Adapt. 

“Social media amplifies and organizes [the consumers] voice and packages it as a tremendous gift for businesses ready to earn relevance in a new genre of consumerism. Nothing matters however, if businesses are not ready to learn, engage, or take action based on what they hear.”

Solis emphasizes the ability to listen to conversations that are taking place on social media outlets, and using the insights from the conversations to make business decisions. This method slightly differs from Senger, who is more focused on company goals and assigning KPI’s.  Solis is all about changing the traditional methods to fit the changing digital world.

Social Times

Social Times, an online source for social media information, discusses the metrics of social media. The top 3 metrics used for measuring social media efforts, dictated by a survey of over 2000 marketers, are:

  1. Visitors and sources of traffic
  2. Network size (followers, fans, members)
  3. Quantity of commentary about brand or product

Social Times recognizes that each company is going to have different measuring requirements and should select the metrics that support the SMM objectives, similar to Michael Senger’s perspective. Social Times also lists ten important metrics to consider when developing your strategies, I have selected the 5 that I would recommend.

  1. Social media leads- company website traffic breakdown of which SM site
  2. Activity ratio- Active users vs. Total members, and chart over a time period
  3. Brand mentions in social media- track positive and negative and their quantities
  4. Loyalty- how many members re-share multiple times
  5. Blog interaction – must allow comments in order to measure- also social voting on sites such as “Digg” are a good measuring tool as well

Measuring the success of a company’s social media outlets is a challenging task, but there are tools and methods which can make it easier.