Use Social Listening to Cultivate Positive Brand Reputation

October 05, 2017

Use Social Listening to Cultivate Positive Brand Reputation

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Number eight! We are almost done. Next week will be our final post in this series and we hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have. Last week, we wrote about some of the ways social listening can help in product development. Many companies overlook the impact social media can have on improving their product and/or service. We looked at Twitter, which today is a very different platform than what was originally intended. The various iterations and improvements that have made it so successful largely evolved from customer feedback. Even from a UX perspective, social listening can lead to actionable insights into what your customers like or dislike about their experience with your website or software.

Today, we are going to dive into one of the most common problems our customers, and almost all businesses both large and small, confront on a day-to-day basis: how do we build/improve/ maintain a positive brand reputation?

Sometimes Bad Press is Good Press

Brand reputation can be a very delicate thing. It is difficult to build and even more difficult to maintain. It can be ruined with a simple tweet or negative review. But sometimes, if you’re lucky you can turn negative press into an amazing opportunity.

“Too advanced. I’d heard Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep chute or littered with tree wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun!”


Adweek said this about Snowbird’s unique approach to dealing with some negative feedback, “Utah’s Snowbird ski resort has begun running ads that contrast gorgeous, sweeping views—the typical ski magazine fare—with one-star reviews complaining about aspects of the resort that others might find appealing.”

In this case, Snowbird is leveraging these negative reviews to highlight just how great their resort is. It is like someone going to the North Shore in Hawaii to surf and giving it a negative review because the waves are too big. The Room, likewise, is using its negative reviews as a way to foster curiosity and breed intrigue. While most brands would bury bad reviews and try to hype their product as being the best thing ever, The Room went with a completely opposite approach and actually brags about being awful. Looking at the one-star reviews and astonishingly bad reviews makes me morbidly curious to see just how bad this movie is.


Now, don’t get me wrong and start publishing all your bad press because the blogger at NUVI told you it was a good idea. You’ll probably get fired and, well, nothing will happen to me. What I am saying is that sometimes, when it is done strategically, you can flip the script and use bad reviews to get positive press.

Social listening can be a valuable asset in this case, as it can quickly pull in and organize millions of mentions around the specific keywords in your monitor. From there, you can see the sentiment of each mention and even filter down into the data to get an even closer look. For example, Snowbird could use a monitor to pull in all mentions of its resort, runs, mountain, etc. And then with all that data could create a filter to only show mentions that had the words “awful” “hard” “too steep” and so on. This approach saves time and resources and would quickly give you access to all the negative review you wanted.

Don’t be Pepsi. Or United. Just Don’t.

But let’s say you don’t want to create an ad campaign around bad reviews. That’s ok. Social listening can help you in other ways too. For example, imagine you are a huge multi-national company and have just released a new commercial featuring a prominent/ controversial influencer. It bombs. Hard. There are people on YouTube clamoring to have the ad taken down. Twitter is all fired up. People are generally unhappy. How long do you wait before you take down the ad? How long does it take before you are aware of the negative sentiment around the ad?

It is easier to prevent bad PR than to repair a damaged brand reputation.

It is easier to prevent bad PR than to repair a damaged brand reputation. Click To Tweet

If you have an ongoing social listening campaign, you can set alerts to notify you of a sudden drop in sentiment. This alert can go to email or text, letting you know in real-time that there’s a problem.

Even if there isn’t a drastic increase in negative sentiment, social listening can help you monitor your brand’s reputation for possible problems. When you set up a monitor to search for, and pull in, specific mentions of your selected keywords, you get an immediate, real-time glimpse into what people are saying about you online. Maybe your brand isn’t as big as Pepsi and won’t generate nearly the amount of social conversations; with social listening, you don’t have to manually scour Twitter searching for each and every time someone mentioned your brand.

Social listening helps you find good stuff too.

While many people associate brand reputation with repairing damage done by bad ads or reviews, brand reputation can be built by focusing on the positive aspects of your business as well. Building a positive brand reputation is more involved than just reacting to bad press. You need to respond and share out the good stuff too.

One of the best ways to foster a positive brand image is to share customer-generated content. When someone takes a picture on Instagram and tags your brand, you should comment on it and ask if you can share it. When you share their picture on your account and then tag them in it, you are creating positive brand awareness. That person is going to be more likely to share your picture and tell their friends to go like it.

Buffer started using user generated content (UGC) and had pretty impressive results, “In under 6 months since implementing a user generated content campaign on Instagram, our account has grown by 500%  – 4,250 to 21,000 followers and counting.

Same thing goes for Twitter. By retweeting or liking a tweet that mentions your brand, you are encouraging people to interact with you. Also, diligently working to solve customer’s problems via social media will have a huge impact on the way people view your brand. Good customer service also goes a long way to create a positive brand reputation.

By retweeting or liking a tweet that mentions your brand, you are encouraging people to interact with you. Good customer service also goes a long way to create a positive brand reputation. Click To Tweet

A few weeks ago, I had a really good experience with Beats customer service. I was so impressed, I wrote a blog post about it. Social listening will help your brand find those people asking for help and give you a better chance at quickly solving their problem and turning them into lifelong customers.


Your brand’s reputation, like a chia pet, requires constant care. It is not the fragile porcelain doll many would have you believe it is. It can be damaged and can come back. Look at Pepsi. People still buy it. It may have been knocked down a few pegs, but who, other than me, is even still talking about that commercial? No one. No one remembers. Same with United. But here’s the thing- why even go through that painful rebuilding process in the first place? By diligently monitoring the social conversation around your brand, products, CEO and executives, you will have the ability to protect your company from being blindsighted. You can use social listening to find and share positive customer feedback as well as issues customers are having.

Questions about what social listening can do for your company? Take a demo with NUVI today. Also, don’t forget to download our free ebook on how to use data and social media to optimize your PR efforts. 

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