All the rave is about commercial social sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn but since doing quite a few online competitor and mention analysis; I’ve come across some social sites, mainly forums, which I would consider absolute goldmines for information when researching mentions of your brand online.
Firstly I’ve some across many conversations about some of the biggest brands in construction that took place back in late 90’s. It’s probably safe to say these companies are not aware of them.
Secondly, I’ve seen projects being discussed in forums and engineers have uploaded drawings and concepts showing brand names and product names. Whilst companies are safeguarding their project information, the engineers are quite happily publishing the info on the internet.
Thirdly, these sites are full of ideas to develop your content marketing strategy. Check out some of the questions asked and then write about them, answer the questions, get these people onto your website before they find a competitors site.
Here are the top 4 social sites I’ve come across which you probably are not monitoring:
1. Green Building Forum
This is my first port of call. Full of brilliant questions and mentions of brands and a wide variety of topics. Some topics are very technical orientated if you want that sort of info but you will have to dig deep.
Do a search for your brand name or products. Positive or negative? What’s the date?
2. DIY.not Forum
Again, a wealth of conversations in here. Whilst you’re probably thinking “Why is no one talking about us on Twitter?” they’re most likely talking about you and your products in here.
3. Screwfix Community
I love this one. It’s full of builders, electricians, plumbers, painters and decorators. If this is your audience then you NEED to be on here. You need to assign a dedicated person who monitors this forum and answers questions and points them to the necessary place offline (call us, email us).
This one’s particularly good because you can upload pics and other documents. Sometimes, your product may not look so good when an end user has uploaded it to here for thousands to mock.
4. Money Saving Expert Forum
Slightly less popular as it’s more focused on financial conversations but if you do a search in the forum for some keywords and brand names you should find a wealth of information here too.
Think about what advice you could have given to end users or members of the trade?
5. Skyscraper City
I like this one because it’s focused on projects. When I said earlier about engineers posting project information online, it was in this forum. Again, have a look through and see if you can find any projects you have been involved in.
Taking conversations online offline
Having the ability to ‘join the conversation’ as a brand is becoming more and more important as people (your customers) research first online, ask others, post questions in forums before approaching you for more information. You need to be able to act quickly and respond to questions posed.
Is your brand well perceived online? Have a read of this post, it was written after I saw someone recommend this company on Twitter. So I did a quick search on Google and it wasn’t good.
Do you know of any forums or social sites where conversations are occurring away from the mainstream sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? Pop us a comment below.