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At the time of writing, most companies and institutions are aware of thedamage that negative online conversations can do to their reputation and, as a result, to their operations and bottom line. In response, many have put in place some kind of monitoring system to track online mentions of concern or have hired a paid supplier to scan and report. The problem is, the daily reports that such systems typically emit are just so much noise.
Real threats, movements of rebellion and anger that build up against your brand or institution, start subtle and are a long time in the making. Therefore, the snapshots that capture your mentions and related material, if viewed daily or even weekly, open up a massive blind spot.
To ensure that you are not on the verge of an online reputation attack, a deeper look at social media conversation topics and trends that surround your brand or your industry is essential. An analysis of this sort should take a longer view of conversations that concern you and your sector, should analyze existing topic trends for relative size and growth and should measure the combined reach of those speaking against you.
While most monitoring software is configured to deliver daily reports, the better kind also allows skilled users to perform 'deep dives' through which data over several weeks or months can be compiled and analyzed for trends, sentiment, influencers, reach and share of voice. If your social media team or provider hasn't done so yet, ask for a deep analysis of recent conversations and a risk assessment with comparables to help you gauge the threat level. Do this and you will have performed an Online Reputation Audit and can now decide whether you are safe or need to allocate further resources to engage with critics.