Once you have taken the mighty leap of getting your business online and you are using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+, then there is a good chance that people are talking about your business. It is really good if everything that is said about your business is positive, but you have to realize that this isn’t a perfect world and anyone has the ability to post something negative about you that can damage your business and brand.
If you are a small business owner, you most likely don’t have all the resources to employ someone dedicated to manage your online reputation and to be honest, it isn’t that necessary. All you have to do is devote some time every day to do your own online reputation management and this can be very beneficial to your business.
When someone post something positive about you it should be publicized, linked to, retweeted or even be displayed on your website to help you start building your online brand identity. Anyone can be a citizen journalist and any negative mentions, especially on popular social media channels or even blogs can have a very bad impact on your business image online. Always act on these negative comments proactively. When a negative comment pops up, analyze the comment, and try to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
Find below free tools that you can use for online reputation management
Google Alerts is a free service that you can use to monitor for any mentions or blog posts as soon as Google picks it up. Whenever new content is found that matches your search query that you have set up, you can be notified by Google via email. Set up a couple of alerts for your business name and key figures in your business to be notified when these keywords are mentioned. You can also setup a couple of search queries related to your competitors to gather some insight into their popularity in your market segment.
Twitter Search is often overlooked on this popular microblogging channel to use for your ORM strategy to find mentions about your business. Various 3rd party applications such as Hootsuite can be used to search for keywords and hashtags that can then be saved to quickly scan for any new mentions. This is a nice feature that I use on a daily basis because it reduces repetitive searches.
Social Mention is a social media search engine that can find mentions of your name across various online channels for keywords that you specify. You can test this tool by using your brand name or website address and you will likely be surprised how often your name appears. This is a very useful tool to combine all your mentions from various channels quickly.
This is by far one of my favorite tools to use for online reputation management. For more advanced users, Yahoo Pipes offers a service called “Pipes” that you can use to aggregate content from all over the web into one content stream. Creating a Yahoo Pipe for your ORM strategy requires more time than the above free tools as Yahoo Pipes is a bit more technical to figure out and explain in a couple of sentences.
There are many other free tools that you can use for online reputation management purposes. Spending a couple of minutes on a daily basis is very important to monitoring your image online. This can help you establish areas where you should improve your services on, and it can also be useful for your digital marketing strategy.
Once you are successfully managing and monitoring your reputation online, it will positively improve your image online. Online reputation management is an excellent way to identify how others are viewing your business and it also allows you to use this insights to build your name online.