Do you know what people are saying about you and your business?
Manage Your Online Reputation and stay ahead of the competition
Managing your online reputation is important. The power of the consumer is stronger than ever with the Internet. Consumers can damage you and your business’ reputation very easily with blogs, review sites, social sites like Facebook and even Twitter.
What happens when someone puts your business name into Google? Or Facebook?
If you don’t know it’s time you found out and discovered the traces of your business that people can see there.
What’s said about you and your business on the Web can affect you as well as your company, both positively and negatively.
- Are you aware of the looming threats and reputation attacks on your business?
- Are you managing your company’s online reputation?
You need to know what people see when they look for your company name online. And only through understanding your business’ online presence, you can then manage your company’s online presence with more certainty.
While sometimes a business deserves a bad rap, other times it is simply a case of misunderstanding. At any rate, as a local business owner, you will want to arm yourself with the necessary tools and strategies that will help you to protect your business reputation online. You can also discover your audience and market to them directly.
If you want to know how to track your presence and monitor your brand, then this practical guide is written for you.
Below are the 6 tools for your online reputation monitoring activities. Use each to search, locate and respond when necessary.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic. You can subscribe to each alert through email and RSS. For RSS alerts, you can use RSS readers to view these alerts.
So how can you use Google alerts?
You can setup a comprehensive alert system to notify you of stories as they happen, keep watch on your industry and competitors, see who is writing about you or your company and also track your marketing campaigns. When you monitor and track the alerts, you may recognise bloggers and journalists who post regularly on your topic of interests. You can form better relationships with them then market to them directly.
Step 1: Go to Google.com
Step 2: Click on ‘ More” on the top bar, select “even more >>”
Step 3: Select “Alerts”.
Inside ‘Google alerts’ you can set your alerts by specifying the following:
Search Terms– which is the words you want to search
Type – You can select the types of updates, it can be from “ Everything” ( which means all the following: News, Blogs, Updates, Video, Discussion), or alternatively, you can select one of the following:
“News” “Blogs” “Updates” ”Video” “Discussion”
How Often – You can decide how often you wish to receive the update
Volume – You can select ‘ only the best result’ or ‘ any results’
Email – You can enter your email address
After you have completed entering all the information and your email, click ‘Sign in’ on the top right hand corner. Note: It is important for you to set up a ‘Gmail Account’ first before you sign in.
After signing in to Google alerts with your Google account:
To see the updates on your search term ‘iPhone’;
Click sign out from “Google Alerts”,
Next, log on to your Google account to check the updates relating to iPhone.
View the updates in your email relating to your search term: ‘iPhone’.
2. Blog posts—Technorati.com
Technorati is the largest blog search engine in the world. If you have a blog, you can register it with Technorati to track “blog reactions” as well as find blogs that link to yours.
So how can you use Technorati?
Simply search for your name on Technorati, and subscribe to RSS alerts so that when someone blogs about you, you will find out. Take note of every blog that is linking to your blog as well so that when you write your next post, link back to these blogs. It is a way to show your appreciation and give the recognition to those who have recognised your blog.
Type your search term in the search box.
In our example, it is ‘iphone 4’ and click on the green icon next to it (see arrow in the image below).
Click on the RSS feed icon
Select channel to view your RSS feeds (arrow “1” in the image) and then click ‘ Subscribe Now” (arrow “2” in the image).
If you select ‘Google HomePage’ , it will direct you to Google.
You will see updates on the blog post you subscribe that is related to your search term.
Alternatively, you can view the updates from Google Reader (see image below)
Note: You will need to have a Google Gmail account. Visit www.gmail.com to sign up for an account.
After clicking on the link (as shown above), it will direct you to the subscription page.
3. Blog comments—backtype.com
Backtype provides blog comments monitoring service. It lets you find, follow, and share comments from across the Web. If you only track posts, you will miss out comments on you on a series of blogs. This is where Backtype can help when it comes to monitoring.
So how can you use Backtype?
There are some blogs that you should be reading and follow diligently in your topic area. You can discover influencers who are commenting on these blogs and establish a list of key influencers. Then you can follow their comments from blog to blog and leave your own comment after theirs. This way, you can help build your brand because you may be perceived to have some association with them. Also, whenever you write a comment with a link to your Web site, BackType attributes it to you. You can therefore remind yourself where you commented and continue conversations that you started previously when you have time.
Sign up for an account in Backtype.com.
Upon login, you will see the dashboard below. Click on ‘Setup Alerts’ to receive updates on your search query.
You can ‘create an alert’ by keying in your search terms and how often you wish to receive the updates.
Then click on ‘ Create Alert’ button .
This is what you will see:
4. Discussion boards—boardtracker.com
Forums and discussion or message boards are another channel where people can gather in a community and talk about you or your company. Do not disregard discussion boards because they can be influential in swaying prospective customers’ views especially if they have very active communities.
So how can you use BoardTracker?
You can use BoardTracker to get instant alerts from threads citing your business name. Simply find all boards that are related to your business subject matter and join the top 5, based on the amount of conversations, the volume of registered users and the web traffic information which you can get from Alexa.com. Once you have identified the communities, join them and contribute by starting threads. Always leave your name and company URL at the end of each post.
Visit www.boardtracker.com to track discussion forums related to your search terms.
Click ‘Signup’ to receive alerts on your search terms (see arrow on the image below).
Submit your name and email address to receive alerts.
Under the ‘My Alerts’ tab, you can key in the search term you wish to subscribe.
Click on ‘ Add Alert’ (see arrow)
After you click ‘ Add Alert’, you will see the following page below: It is under the ‘Set up’ tab.
Indicate the word you wish to search for under ‘Query’ and indicate your subscription preference such as the format you wish to receive and the frequencies.
Under My alert,
OP s only: you can search for the search term made by the ‘Original Posters (OP s)’ who is the person who started the post
Ops and replies: you can search for your search term made by the Original Poster as well as the replies made by other people with regard to the post
Thread 1st Match– You can only search for your search term on post o
Click on ‘ My Alerts’ tab and click on ‘ Alerts Overview’ to see the search query, you will see the following:
To make changes to your search term in ‘My Alerts’, click on ‘Alert Setup’
Twitter is a microblogging service, hosting over 175 million people at the time of this writing. Twitter messages (tweets) that launch attacks on you or your company name can spread like a virus. Hence, you need to monitor Twitter closely.
So how can you use Twitter?
Using Twitter search, you can locate any instances of your name or your company name and tweet back (or you can choose to remain silent). When you see tweets with your name or your company name attached to them, you should use the “@” sign and the tweeter’s account name (e.g., @allensays) to respond accordingly. By taking an active role in responding, you start to build brand recognition and your audience feels that you care and are actively listening.
Click on ‘Advanced Search’ for more details on the search terms.
Under ‘People’: Select the person to receive the updates from.
Under ‘Places’ :Select the particular location such as the city or country to receive update from.
Under ‘Dates’: Indicate the start and end date on the search terms that you are searching for.
Select both positive, negative reviews about the search terms. You can also select a question relating to the search term.
Not compulsory to fill up all the information except the ‘Search term’.
Click on “ RSS” icon to receive updates on your search term via your Google homepage or Google Reader.
You will need to have a Google account to see all the updates relating to your search term. You can sign up for either of Google’s services for eg. Gmail to obtain a Google account. You will also be able to receive alerts in your Gmail account as well.
FriendFeed is a social aggregator which gives you the ability to take all of your social accounts, such as YouTube, Delicious, Twitter, blog, and Flickr, and pull them together into a single (Friend) feed.
You can conduct searches on your brand throughout all social networks at once using this search engine. Aside from learning about the latest video or tweet related to your topic, you can analyse comments that people make under them.
Grab a FriendFeed widget (friendfeed.com/embed/widget) and display it on your Web site or blog, so people get a sense of your social media activity. Also, as you search and locate people who are talking about your brand on FriendFeed, respond to them through comments.
Under keyword, for our example, we use ‘ iphone’ and under words in the comments, key in ‘iphone’ to get updates on the search query.
View results of the search enquiry.
Click on the RSS icon to receive updates on search query.
Select ‘Google’ to receive updates. Sign up for a Google account to view the news alert. You can sign up for the account via Gmail (www.gmail.com).
To view the updates, you can select ‘Google Homepage’ or ‘Google iReader’.
If you select to view the updates of the search query via Google Homepage, this is what you will see:
If you select Google Reader, this is what you will see:
Note: you will need to login to Google account first.
After signing in, you will be able to view the updates via the Google Reader (see image below).
So what exactly do you plan to monitor on the web with all six of these free tools?
It depends on your goals.
For example, is it to measure the success of your new viral marketing campaign?
Or is it to find out how consumers perceive your new service/product?
Here are some areas you may want to start monitoring:
- Your name
- Your business/company name
- Your product brands
- Popular company employees
- Your trademarks and patents
- Current employees
- Future hires
- Industry trends
- Business partners
- Unhappy clients or customers
Once you understand the power that consumers have today with the Internet, you will be wise enough to monitor your business’ reputation as well as devise strategy to deal with cases where your business’ name gets tarnished.
While this practical report does not serve to be an all-inclusive manual on the subject, hopefully it will arm you with enough advice to at least steer you in the right direction.
A word of warning…. if you aren’t taking care of your online reputation, others will.
It’s time to find out what people are saying—and do something about it. Marketing to your target market becomes seamless after you’ve done your homework using these tools.
While these are great resources, however, most local businesses are often small and do not have the staff resources to utilise these tools effectively, track their reputation as well as to effectively respond when necessary.
If this describes you, then do get in touch with us. Let us do the online monitoring for you and free you from all these time consuming and tedious work while you focus on growing your business.
Do not take your chance because online reputation management is necessary. Though tedious, monitoring can save you from a potential disaster when someone cites your name in a blog post that misrepresents you. Besides, it can also help you proactively join conversations around your topic area and get your business name out there.
Part of your brand is in the hands of others, so it’s critical that you monitor it.
If you need any help with this then contact us for an informal chat on how we can make sure that your reputation remains in good health.
“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.“