With the rise of social media, brands looking to manage their reputation online have had to wrestle with a number of key challenges. At first it was hard to track mentions of and conversations about your brand or client, happening in all the diverse social channels, but then technologies emerged, offering a clearer, more comprehensive view.
These technologies have evolved fast as social got bigger and bigger, but the data they deliver to communicators and marketers contributed to a growing new challenge – big data overload. Big data is easy to find, but actionable insights that drive results still aren’t easy to identify.
In the media monitoring niche, analytics providers engaged in a race for ‘complete coverage’, to empower their clients with a view of all the conversations happening about a brand. BrandWatch and TalkWalker are good examples of such respected media monitoring tools, adding value to communicators and marketers around the world.

The Need for Insights in Complete Brand Monitoring

Tracking total mentions of your brand in all these channels might feel like watching with an ‘all seeing eye’ – but what to do with all this data? More comprehensive coverage means even more data to wrestle with in Comms and Marketing departments.
Which conversations are the most important to your brand or client? Which are the most significant reputational threats or opportunities? Which are creating, or destroying brand equity, right now?
Seeing almost everything said about your brand or client online is useful, but knowing what’s most important, how important and what’s gaining in importance this moment is key to the next step – real-time, effective action and communication. Knowing who the key influencers are in these conversations is also vital – they are the nodes in rapid network effect.

Using Social Trending Signals to Understand Importance

This is where social trending signals come in. They are a new frontier of social data for communicators and marketers to exploit. They offer critical new abilities in the management of reputation online, enabling better tracking of importance and what actually matters.
At NewsWhip, we’re seeing our Spike dashboard becoming increasingly used by communications and marketing professionals in leading agencies and brands. Interesting use cases are emerging via these clients, which we think have profound implications for communicators and marketers keen to gain an edge on the competition.
One of the most notable of these use cases was seen at a leading comms and media agency helping a major brand client manage its reputation online (anonymity has been requested). When a potentially threatening story was released about the brand in a certain jurisdiction, the executives inside the brand reached out to their comms agency, asking: “is this a problem?” and “should we do anything to react?”. Their partners at the comms agency quickly checked the story and brand keywords in Spike, saw our Velocity Score was almost zero, and swiftly advised the brand not to react with a response. In this case, a lack of trending signals showed the story wasn’t important and wasn’t growing, thus it was smarter not to react and avoid bringing any new attention to the story.
We’re now seeing more brands in banking, credit and a range of technology verticals, use Spike as part of their media monitoring tool kit, often complimenting other tools they’re already using. The embedded tweet below show the good folks in Mastercard’s newsroom enjoying using Spike and our heads-up-displays.

What Trending Signals Mean for Real-time Media Monitoring

The ability to react fast and smartly is key to effective reputation management online and social trending data now offers new signal and direction to professionals in this space.
Knowing the one hour, three hour and 12 hour trends regarding conversations, blogs and posts about your brand or client improves the short-term, strategic view of communicators and marketers. These are the key time periods observed in our Spike dashboard by media monitoring professionals and by watching these hyper-short-term trends, agencies and brands can react more nimbly and in real-time.
12 hour view of stories trending about Ashley Madison in Spike – August 2015
Ashley Madison 12 hour view
Social trending signals offer the best insight into what a brand’s audience is really thinking and changes in these opinions in real-time. Link data cannot be crawled and delivered to communicators and marketers fast enough in comparison, so social media is the superior source. This is why our Social Velocity scores in Spike have become a key metric for professionals managing reputations online.
Trending signals are truly becoming the new frontier for comms and marketing professionals to navigate, as their worlds become increasingly real-time. How early adopters in agencies and brands react to trending analytics tools will play a key role in their success. We’ll report novel use cases and the emergence of best practices in this frontier as we find them.

What Next?

1) Take a free trial of Spike to spot news about your brand or client trending in real-time
2) Join our weekly newsletter, read by over 10,000 comms and media professionals