Industrial Strength Reputation Monitoring : Pubcon 2009

Last week was the infamous Pubcon Internet and Social Media Marketing conference held in Las Vegas Nevada. Over 4,000 fellow Internet marketers each year descend on the bright city. This year, I had the chance to speak on a panel about Reputation Management and Monitoring. I was excited to see this year that they had added an extensive amount of panels discussing social media marketing tactics. If you think SEO and Social Media still don’t belong together at Internet Marketing conferences, then you are living in the dark.

Below you will find my presentation I gave at the conference where I discussed how reputation monitoring works, specifically focusing on the details surrounding a heavily talked about term, such as Walmart in this example.

I outlined and referenced my social media monitoring funnel and went into detail, discussing each section to great length. My discussion points can be found below.


Things To Think About With Regards To Reputation Monitoring Tools

  • Not easy to manage all the mentions – tool is the most important part of the puzzle
  • Do you try to build your own solution or go with a vendor?
  • Self-made in-house tool – custom dashboard and monitoring solution
  •  Industrial strength monitoring tools include Radian6, TruCast by Visible Technologies, Sysomos, Techrigy SM2, Cymfony to name a few
  •  Does the service have an API?
  •  How far back does the vendor have data for – Look for solutions that give you at least 6+ months
  •  Does the tool have CRM integration? ie. Salesforce
  •  Sentiment Analysis – how is it handled? Manual or Automatic – If its automatic what level of accuracy is it? Take Automated sentiment analysis with a grain of salt
  •  Are there automatic SMS alerts built into the tool that facilitate notices when escalated issues arise
  •  You need a tool that is flexible enough to work with your business. This can be accomplished by customizable User Interfaces, custom tagging and assigning of jobs to key individuals

Keyword Targeting

  • For heavily talked about terms, don’t rely on “brand name” only keyphrase monitoring
  • Utilize complex Boolean variables vs. a catch-all for your one word branded term – get specific
  • Break out keyword buckets that clarify distinct campaigns being run:
  • sub brands
  • important people within the organization
  • Competitors
  • If you are trying to compare brand health with competitors then make sure you are using an equivalent number of positive and negative keyword modifiers: i.e. brand name + good, brand name + sucks
  • Make sure you use enough negative key phrases to eliminate the noise. i.e. ring tones, porn, Viagra, and common branded terms that are not about your brand

Noise Elmination Considerations

  • Getting a good clean stream of news is worth the $$ most tools charge
  • Understand how your vendor or solution eliminates noise behind the scenes
  • Sometimes there are lots of innocent sites that get axed: ie. Blogspot, WordPress and other free solutions
  • White list and blacklist sites
  • Use specific keyword variations to filter excess noise
  • Try not to modify keywords too often otherwise trends and analysis from monitoring metrics will become inconsistent and less useful
  • If you really need to, outsource this process – find a cost effective way to get the noise removed
  • Amazon Turk is a very powerful, robust platform that can serve this task well

Refined Mentions – Your Stream Of Data

  • This is the data you are after, minimal noise, only mentions of your brand / competitors that you want
  • Utilize an easy to read, flexible interface to handle the thousands of mentions – Steer away from clunky interfaces
  • Have the ability to assign certain posts and threads to the right channels / individuals inside of the organization

Analysis and Trends

  • Are you reporting on Social Media Metrics such as number of mentions, brand health, and other demographic details? All can be derived from a Reputation Monitoring Process.
  • Define what you can do to better serve your customers
  • Identify key global/regional trends
  • Supplement your marketing department with information on bloggers/website owners that are worth reaching out to
  • Don’t rely on auto-sentiment brand health. 70-80% accuracy isn’t good enough to be completely hands off

Take Action

  • ACT ON IT – doing something about the data
  • Altering the brand health is not an easy task, stick with it for the long haul
  • Make sure you have streamlined the process for key individuals inside of the co. to get updates and notices about relevant mentions / competitor analysis
  • Find the golden nuggets inside of your streams



  • Continue to reconfigure and revisit the accuracy of keyphrases and negative keyphrases
  • Crosscheck with RSS feeds, and Yahoo Pipes to  make sure you are finding all the data that is pertinent. Blogspot is heavily spammed and used by many for legit purposes
  • Remember do not alter your keyphrases too much or will skew trending of results
  • Utilize equivalent number of negative and positive keyword modifiers when analyzing brand health or comparing share of voice of competitors

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  • matterhornpat
    Posted at 18:33h, 18 November

    Great presentation and great information, and the @andybeal “most information on one slide” award.

    Loads of good information here. Nice job Brian.

  • BrianChappell
    Posted at 14:50h, 19 November

    Thanks for the kind thoughts Pat. My thought process with all the verbiage on the slide was that it would be easy for folks online viewing the presentation to digest the information, vs just reading a few vague bullet points.

    Happy to have won the award 🙂

  • Joseph Fiore
    Posted at 15:02h, 21 November


    Great slideshare/presentation!

    I’ll get the shameless plug out of the way – while we weren’t mentioned as one of the vendors in your presentation, if your readers are looking for a paid service provider that meets the requirements addressed in your slide, we would love to hear from them.

    I wanted to share a few follow-up points to your presentation. I really liked your (noise elimination) point about understanding how vendors eliminate noise behind the scenes. While the issue of spam and being pelted with irrelevant posts in your dashboard or inbox can be very annoying, “false positives” can also potentially keep you in the dark about an important online incident that could make or break your brand. This could also have an impact on the White List/ Black Listing methodologies – my advice is monitor more, not less. Assigning the task of filtering to machines is far too onerous a task and this leads me to my next point. A follow-up point to the “more” not “less” analogy is to cross-check the depth of sourcing, as many vendors are still not including things like comment tracking (across the full social media spectrum), walled-gardens and YouTube (comments here as well).

    I’ve also noticed that there isn’t nearly enough attention and focus on the issue of malware. I hinted on this point not too long ago on another post of yours, and I’m back here now saying we need to pay a little more attention to this issue, especially with the amount of bandwidth url shortening and masked url’s are taking up in the social Web. This is definitely one job where the “hit-and-miss” of computational algorithms, logic and detection procedures need not apply.

    I completely agree with the idea of making dashboards user-friendly, though the theme of being “easy to read” really should be more about the “need to read.” All too often, people rely far too heavily on measurement, and miss out on a potential opportunity simply because time constraints dictate the choice of auto-assigned influence barometers or sentiment instead of applying sound human judgment and logic. The point to drive this home should be that the key to forging lasting online relationships should be informed less from mechanical “listening”, and more from the need to impart as much of the human aspects as possible.

    While it wasn’t stated in the same context, a fellow at the Home Depot who helped me carry a purchase to my car last night said something that really resonates with my last point. He said “things that are sometimes hard to do are usually the things we discover are the most worthwhile.”


  • Mark Evans
    Posted at 21:09h, 23 November


    Thanks for mentioning Sysomos. We recently launched a new version of our Heartbeat social media monitoring service, including the integration of Facebook Pages.

    cheers, Mark

  • Arkid Mitra
    Posted at 06:51h, 26 November

    Very good coverage out here. I have seen a few companies trying to get this right. I made a presentation on what needs to be monitored at

    We are an Indian company coming out with a social media buzz tracking tool. Most of the stuff you discuss here is covered in their tool.However, there are certain things which did go unmarked and hence we will see how we can incorporate them. Please let us know about the video presentation though.

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