If you own or manage any business, one which sells locally or nationally, then you likely are concerned about your reputation on the internet. Many business owners, however, have no idea of how to monitor their online reputations and those of their competitors. They often resort to the “ostrich” method, even when there is a serious reputation situation which warrants the executive’s undivided attention.
There are a few you things which you, the business owner, can do in order to begin to monitor your reputation both in the search engines and on the social media properties:
- Set up Google Alerts. You will want to set up Alerts for your business name, the names of your owners and executives, the names of key employees, any brands you own and/or product names, and generic keywords about your industry
- You will want to search for the same things on Twitter and capture the RSS feeds for each search string. Enter those RSS feeds into a RSS reader so that you can monitor things being said about your reputation in real-time
- Go to any forums which serve your industry and/or region of the country. Enter the previously-mentioned items in the search field (you may have to join first) and determine what is being said about you. From there, set up alerts and/or get RSS feeds for the search strings in order to monitor what is being said about your reputation
- If your business has a listing on Google Places (and many of you do already without even realizing it!!) then periodically check your Google Places listing for the reviews. Note that Google scrapes/aggregates reviews from other sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, etc. Follow the process to deal with negative reviews AND have a process in place to reward/thank those who left you positive reviews. Remember that online reputation management is also about monitoring the GOOD things said about you!
- Should a crisis situation be happening, or about to happen, then be sure to have some form of crisis public relations plan in place. If you do not have one in place then please contact me
- It can be difficult to monitor the recent influx of online reputation vehicles now in the hands of the consumers. People can “Like” your page on Facebook, “Retweet” or “@” mention you on Twitter, “Check In” on FourSquare.com, etc. You need a way to monitor all of that information in order to gain feedback, reward loyal customers, handle negative reviews, and determine which promotions/marketing efforts seem to resonate best with your customers and prospective customers
For local businesses, they may require the extra step of monitoring their reputations in multiple locations. As an example, let’s assume that you operate a used car lot on the border of Dallas and Plano Texas. Talk about an industry which has to closely monitor a negative reputation!!
The business owner would create Alerts, Twitter search/RSS strings, and all of the other items for both cities. Since people in the area tend to search (and comment) with either “Plano” or “Dallas” – but not both at the same time – then the online reputation management process would have to be replicated for each town/city. You also may consider doing so for “County”-related phrases. These, of course, are all in addition to the names of your executives, products, business name, etc.
There are even more advanced things you can do to monitor and/or protect your online reputation. If you have a concern about online reputation management and wish to have customized strategies in place – as well as a “done for you” service to handle it – then please contact me. Additional tools are available to help you monitor what is being said online, and they can be customized to deal with businesses which operate primarily on the local level.
If you want an all-in-one reputation monitoring software which you manage yourself then you are welcome to check out this link below:
In all, monitoring and managing your online reputation is something which is worth implementing soon. The costs are low (or even non-existent), you can monitor both the good and bad things being said about your business, and it can give you a competitive edge due to your competition’s unwillingness to implement such measures.