3-Minute WOM Lesson: 3 lessons on tracking online word of mouth from big brands

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When you’re beginning to track your word of mouth online, it helps to look at how big brands — companies that often track tons of conversations — do it. A few ideas to get you started:

1> Create a baseline
2> Focus on the key topics
3> Put a team behind it

1> Create a baseline

Finding your baseline of conversation levels should be your first priority when starting to track your word of mouth. When The Home Depot launched their monitoring program, finding their initial baseline helped them figure out what “normal” conversation levels looked like. Once you have your baseline, you can then measure how effective different topics and tactics are at moving the needle.

2> Focus on the key topics

For UPS, using automated systems to track online conversations is a challenge because it’s tough to filter out the unrelated discussions — comments about “sit-ups”, “pick-ups”, “tweet-ups”, “mash-ups”, etc. So instead of sifting through millions of unrelated conversations, administrative assistants at UPS are each given a specific topic related to the brand to follow online. The program takes advantage of an underutilized staff resource and gets a human eye involved in the filtering.

3> Put a team behind it

At Dell, they’re serious about making listening to the customer a key priority. They just launched their Social Media Listening Command Center staffed by a team focused on the real-time conversations about Dell. And while most brands don’t have the resources to pull this off, you can get your program off the ground by putting someone in charge of listening and giving them the tools to get started.


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  1. Virtual Agent

    Social media is a good way to track conversation or word of mouth references to your brand, as twitter and facebook has quite displayed this over time. Although it’s best to pick a unique keyword, or you might be flooded with a voluminous amount of real time conversations.


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