In order to proactively cultivate and maintain the online reputation of your business, it is vital that you develop a system to actively monitor online mentions of your business. Some consultants and companies offer expensive services that promise to monitor your online reputation, but doing it yourself is not complicated, difficult or time consuming – in fact, all you need is an email account and access to your social media accounts.
The Importance Of Online Monitoring
With billions of websites, blogs, forums and social media accounts online, the prospect of monitoring them for mentions of your business can seem daunting. However, monitoring your online reputation is a necessary component of maintaining a positive online presence. Anyone can go online and discuss anyone or anything else through blog posts, blog comments, forums, and social media wall posts. Monitoring the Internet for mentions of your business isn’t “creepy”, nor should it be viewed as a way to “spy” on others – in fact, it is very important to locate, identify and respond to messages, criticism and complaints in a positive and proactive way, and by doing so you can often diffuse difficult situations and possibly even win back disgruntled customers.
The Power Of Google Alerts
Google Alerts provides one of the easiest and most effective ways of monitoring your online reputation. Alerts is a free service that only requires a valid email account, which separates it from many other Google services that require a valid Google Account. Alerts works in the same manner as performing a simple Google search, but instead of requiring the user to perform the search manually, Alerts will perform searches automatically on behalf of the user and report the results via email. An Alert can be setup in minutes and users can specify how often they want to receive emails and control the sources, language, region and number of results. Since Google web crawlers constantly monitor the publicly-accessible web content, results are often very complete and timely – if your business is mentioned on a website, blog, forum or in a public social media post, you will most likely be alerted to the content in as little as 24 hours.
Blog And Social Media Email Alerts
As effective as Google Alerts can be, you may want to be alerted instantly to new comments on your blog and social media services. Luckily, most modern blog platforms and Content Management Systems (CMS) offer options for receiving email alerts when new comments are posted to a blog, and social media services such as Facebook and Twitter offer email and SMS alerts as well. These options can often be fine-tuned based on how often and under what circumstances an email is warranted; you should develop a system that effectively alerts you without overwhelming your inbox with emails or messages. If you are a professional and have a Google Account, you can activate Google’s Me on the Web, a service that works in a similar fashion to Google Alerts, but provides the added bonus of monitoring the Google+ social media service.
If you have an aversion to receiving too many automatic emails and message alerts, or if you have enough resources and time, you can also easily monitor both the web and social media through periodic content searches. These can be done directly from Google Search or through the search function provided by each social media service. This can also be done through mobile apps and web pages on a smartphone or tablet.
Expand Your Monitoring and Searches
If your monitoring strategy isn’t producing results, consider expanding it through new alert keywords and search queries. For instance, you can set up alerts for the names of popular products or services provided by your business or for common misspellings of your name. If someone in your business acts as the public face of your business by regularly interacting with the public (such as appearing in advertisements or marketing materials) you may also want to monitor their online reputation as well.