[Guide] The Social Media Management Maturity Model

Is your organization optimizing its potential on social?

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Published July 22nd 2016

How to Use Social Data for Real-Time Brand Tracking

Brand tracking tells you who knows about your business and what they think of it. Social data adds real-time insights to this valuable analysis

Brand tracking gives you an overview of whether your brand is known, how people experience being your customer, and what they think about your brand in general.

It takes in different variables so you can get an overview for audience perception of your brand. You can discover if there are any danger signs or if you have a clean bill of health.

When tracking your brand, you are first looking for awareness. If a respondent can recall your brand, you then want to know more about the image they have of your brand: do they associate your brand with positive qualities?

Do they have any negative associations? Does your perception of the brand match that of your customers?

Brand tracking methods

Brand tracking can be done either as a continual, ongoing process or on a periodic basis. To undertake a full audit will cost money and time as some of the questions are best answered by a survey. This means brands will often reserve brand tracking for a once a year health-check.

However, a combination of customer data, web analytics data, and social data can provide a quite detailed proxy, and has the added benefit of making continual brand tracking possible.

This method delivers ongoing, real-time data that can be sliced and categorized in multiple ways to unearth brand associations.

insights at speed

Creating a search that covers all social mentions of your brand, and then categorizing mentions that also include specific words or phrases. This is where the power comes from, and why social data can be utilized for such a broad range of uses.

There are a lot of metrics that can contribute to your brand tracking system, but they can all be grouped into one of three main buckets: brand awareness, brand usage, and brand perception.

Brand awareness

Brand recall and brand recognition are the two aspects of brand awareness you want to measure here. Do people remember your brand unprompted? Do they recognize it when showed the logo?

This sort of data is most easily discovered through surveys or focus groups, but it is possible to measure brand awareness through the use of social and web data.

Web traffic, search data, social mentions and share of voice can all be leveraged to understand how much buzz and awareness there is around your brand.

share of voice graph showing brand awareness

Brand experience and usage

This covers the experience of being your customer and the role of rival brands in consumers’ thinking. The information for this section can be collected by surveys, customer data, and social data.

Purchase frequency and amount

What is the average spend and how frequently do you customers return to buy? You’ll need to turn to the number bods in your company for this data, but it should be fairly easy to get hold of. Just ask them nicely.

Total spending

What is the average spend of a consumer within the time period? Again, this is customer data that should be easily available within the company.

Future purchase intent

Are customers planning on remaining your customers, do they have future purchases lined up? Purchase intent conversations are easily tracked with a social listening platform. The advantage of social data, as opposed to a survey, is the unbiased, organic nature of social conversations.

A boolean query showing fitbit purchase intent

Customer satisfaction and loyalty

How happy are your customers and are they likely to remain buying your brand? You can undertake a simple sentiment analysis of the mentions of your brand, or search the mentions for your brand for relevant satisfaction words, like ‘happy’, ‘disappointed’ and so on.

Brands purchased

Which other brands in your vertical have customers also purchased? Is there a particular competitor that you should be concerned about? By looking at just the people who have talked about buying your product or being a customer, you can search for competitors that they also talk about.

Brand change likelihood

Are customers who have purchased other brands likely to switch to that brand permanently? Again, searching consumers who talk about being your customer but also express intent to purchase language about another brand can give an indication of this brand tracking aspect that would otherwise only be available through a survey.

Shopping experience

Whether you have an e-commerce site or a bricks-and-mortar store, how do customers rate the shopping experience? By using location data even insights specific to a certain store location can be unearthed, as Argos discovered recently.

Using social insights, we can understand which stores are performing well for customers and identify areas for improvement.

James Finch – Customer and Digital Insight Manager, Argos

Product performance

Once people have bought your product or service, how does it perform for them? Does it do as promised? Social conversations can uncover common issues, and rules can be set up to alert you if these issues increase.

brand tracking can reveal product issues

Brand perception

You want to uncover what you customers think and feel about your brand, and measure your brand perception. This can help to identify if your marketing efforts are working as planned, and if there are opportunities that have gone unnoticed.

Product features and quality

Discover if certain features are disappointing or delighting. What new features would consumers like? Is your product/service as good as it should be?

In addition to monitoring issues, certain features might be mentioned positively. Other conversations might include desires for product development.

Brand associations and benefits

What do people associate with your brand, and does that align with the image you want to present? Some brands will focus on luxury and exclusivity, while others foster an image that appeals to the budget-conscious.

brand tracking for associated features

Topic clouds and repeated words contained in mentions about your brand can reveal if your product and marketing are aligned with audience expectations. This can also uncover what the perceived benefits of your brand are.


Knowing how consumers view your pricing can inform you if there is room to increase pricing or if people view your product as too expensive.


How desirable is your brand? Does it have a quality that makes people lust after it?


Does your brand have qualities that make it stand out from the competition? Uncovering these can help your marketing and product departments emphasize these differentitors.

King Penguin Creche

The volume of social data and the flexibility of social analytics platforms like Brandwatch mean that brand tracking can be implemented on an ongoing basis, and without the costs associated with surveys and focus groups.

A yearly report with traditional methods provides a robust and detailed analysis. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but using social and web data throughout the year allows you to be more responsive to any changes. Monitoring social data in real time makes businesses more agile and aware of issues and opportunities as they arise.

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