Knowing how your business is seen and discussed online is critical in a society with 24/7 cycles for news, shopping and communicating. From basic brand monitoring to reputation management, you should understand your options and choose those that help you most effectively (which may mean using more than one solution).
Central to understanding how to monitor your business reputation online is recognizing the sources. Those break down into three basic areas:
Web – that content found on web sites (your own and others) as well as blogs, images, news and so on. Your primary benefactors of information here will be Google, Microsoft (Bing) and Yahoo (Bing here also though there are rumblings of Yahoo re-launching their own indexing engine again).
Social Media – This encompasses a much wider set of networks than just those you use. Beyond the big three (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) – there is also:
- YouTube (2nd largest search engine in world behind Google)
- Pinterest, Instagram and Vine
Reviews – these include Yelp, Foursquare and even Amazon and other sites depending upon your products and services.
You can approach getting started with some simple steps.
Search Engine Alerts
1) Go to www.google.com/alerts and setup alerts for your business
a. Business Name
b. Owner and/or Executive Names
c. Additional keywords of critical importance to your business
2) You can do the same as above at http://alerts.yahoo.com
These solutions may also be called social monitoring tools. Essentially they incorporate search engines along with a wide range of social networks in their search protocols. Some tools of note to consider include:
• Mention (free and premium models)
• SocialMention (free)
• TalkWalker (free and premium models)
Finally, if you require a more sophisticated approach, the benchmark in reputation management would be Reputation.com. They offer solutions for individuals, including Executive Privacy; for small business looking to discover and protect their brand(s) and enterprise offerings for large organizations.
What you will find is that there is more than you think online about your own business, possibly your individual identity – and perhaps most compelling – what you can discover and leverage through monitoring the keywords and phrases important to your business.
By using the tools we’ve discussed here, launching an initiative to begin monitoring your brand online can be launched very cost effectively and bring immediate value.