How can social listening protect your brand in a crisis and provide PR opportunities? Talkwalker to the rescue

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Sophie Clark of Talkwalker shares how Talkwalker, one of the leading companies in social listening, is using AI to help companies and brands understand what’s being said about them across all channels, not just in text, but also in photographs and videos. Though their headquarters are in Luxembourg, they operate all over the world. They’ve been around for almost 10 years now. In that sense, they’re quite an established player in the social listening market. Social listening is a way of tracking and breaking down conversations that are happening online. These days, there are so many different conversations happening online that sometimes, it’s hard to break them down and analyse them, and so that’s where a social listening platform like Talkwalker can help, especially for companies, because it’s a great way of specifically tracking conversations happening around a particular brand or industry. To open up new doors for the business, you’ll want to understand how the industry is growing and developing, so Talkwalker can help you discover new opportunities. 

Crisis management and more of Talkwalker’s features

A a crucial way to use social listening is around crisis management. There are potentially some negative conversations happening around certain brands. And so, witha social listening tool like Talkwalker, you can track and flag those conversations quickly and deal with them before they get out of control. One area that they can help with is around the sentiment of conversations as well. That’s where you can really see if there are more negative conversations happening around the brand, and you can dig deeper that way. Currently, Talkwalker tracks 187 different languages, making it a global tool, and its AI around sentiment analysis, is pretty accurate in most of those languages. The way that Talkwalker works is you input and search keywords depending on what your aim is in terms of social listening. If it’s around brand protection or understanding your brand’s position in the market, you would probably search for your brand. People will talk about it in different ways, so you can search for all the terms that people might be using that are related to your brand. 

Talkwalker has image and video recognition as well, so you can upload and search for your brand logo. They have a library of logos already, so even if you’re not searching for your own brand, you can still search for other brand logos. For example, when doing competitor analysis, if you’re Coca-Cola and you want to see how Pepsi is doing, you can search “Pepsi” and “Pepsi logo,” and see how they compare. There’s a brand engagement or brand perception element where you could type in your brand and search for the image to see how your your brand logo is being used in conversations. You might find that it’s popping up in places that you didn’t know, perhaps in a good way or perhaps in a bad way. In that case, you can take steps to rectify that and make sure you’re not having any negative sentiments towards your brand. Also, if people are posting videos on on YouTube and your logo appears in the background, it would show up as a mention. And from a compliance point of view, this could be really very important for anti-piracy, counterfeiting, unlicensed use of photos and logos, and more.

According to Sophie, Talkwalker tracks all main social channels, including Weibo and WeChat, though they don’t track TikTok yet. They track essentially any content that is out there in the public domain. However, they only track strictly non-paywall conversations. The best part is that the search occurs in real time. Talkwalker continuously finds information that’s out there on the internet as you search, and the ability to track keywords in different markets depends on the package. They have a basic level alert service, which is similar to Google Alerts, and it’s free. You can set up an alert every time your brand or a particular trend is mentioned, and you can choose to get them either daily, weekly, or as soon as they happen.

The many uses of Talkwalker: market research, competitor analysis, and crisis management

They also have the Talkwalker Quick Search element, which is their next package after the alerts. It’s a great way to see the dimensions, engagement, and reach your brand is getting in a given time period. You search could include the last seven days, the last month, three months, and more. They also identify influencers, the people who are talking about your brand or whatever you’re searching for and the people who are talking about it most and get the most engagement, and this makes it a good way to potential people to work with if you’re looking to do an influencer marketing campaign. The search can begin essentially by checking out who’s talking about you and whether they’re talking about you positively, negatively, or if they’re working with your competitors. You would see the channel in which they’re mentioning you, so if they’re tweeting about you, it will show you the tweet. With their Quick Search element, you can also look for influencers, you can look at the demographics of the people who are talking about you, the percentage between females and males, the interests of those people, their occupations, and so on. Again, all the information they show you is pulled from data that is publicly available. 

They work around what they call their PMP framework, short for Protect, Manage, Promote framework. These are the three main areas that companies use Talkwalker for. One example was when Hong Kong Airlines accidentally sold their business class ticket at a knockdown price. Talkwalker was able to detect that this was happening, because they’d set up these alerts to track the conversations. They saw a peak in conversations which was unusual, so they dug deeper and saw that the conversations  were around the fact that there was this great price on a business flight. Another way people use Talkwalker is for sponsorship ROI, because you can see exactly how much exposure your brand is getting by the different channels that the image is being pushed through. 

They cater to a wide range of clients, from multinational companies to SMBs, and this versatility comes from the fact that clients will be using it in slightly different ways. There’s different benefits you can gain depending on the size of the company. Their pricing model is a fair pricing model that’s based on data consumption, so the more volume of conversation around a brand, the more data that Talkwalker estimates you’ll need, and then they price it accordingly. Obviously, bigger multinationals might need more data than an SMBs. Again, they have the free alerts and free access to Quick Search, and then they have the basic entry–level package, which is €6,000 or $9,6000. But then after that, the packages are tailored per client based on the amount of data they would need.

The benefit to developing your AI all in-house

Talkwalker is not the only company that offers this service, but they are definitely one of the more established ones in the market. What sets them apart is their use of artificial intelligence, which is all developed completely by their own team. That means that if any of their clients need something specific or if they are finding limitations within the product, Talkwalker can really work closely with them and develop that partnership. So, the product is always evolving depending on what their customers need and on the AI front as well. Sentiment analysis is one of the areas where people can track brand reputation, and theirs is one of the best compared to others in terms of accuracy and the ability to detect, for example, tones like sarcasm. A basic text read by a  computer might not be able to detect sarcasm, but with their kind of AI and technology, it can have a more accurate reading.

If you are interested in learning more about Talkwalker, you can visit their website. You can sign up for a free demo where they take you through the product, so you can understand exactly how you’d be using it and all the benefits that come with it. Without a doubt, Talkwalker is useful for you and your business, not just when it comes to crisis management. It’s a great way to analyse what’s being said about your brand or company, whether it’s positive or negative, and then from there, you can plan your public relations strategy, grow your business, and get noticed along the way. 


This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from Talkwalker

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