Reputation Management. The term has Fortune 500 written all over it. Simply put, reputation management is the act of monitoring and managing what people say about you, your business. When people are upset with you or your business (let’s just call it your brand), they’ll spout off and tell the world about it. This new Web 2.0 is much more inviting to providing people with a forum to speak out. And whether it’s constructive criticism or malicious in nature, you need to be aware so you can do damage control if necessary.
“It’s for the big guys. I don’t have to be concerned with it.”
Even if you’re just a small to medium-sized business (and in some cases, especially), you should begin to tap into the online tools that let you monitor what people are saying about you. Enough discussion can actually ruin a business.
So how do you monitor what people are saying so you can manage it?
If you’ve never done so, Google yourself or your business right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. It is fascinating and for some folks, a thrill when they see their name appear bolded in search engine results. If there’s too much clutter or noise, place your name or business name in quotes and try it again. Anything negatove or scary out there? Okay, you’re done for now. Congrats!
But wait, how often should your brand? Well, it depends on how visable your brand is, whether it be locally, regionally, nationally or beyond. I’d say do it quarterly, then increase if you see lots of new items including your brand name.
This is one way to perform reputation management. It’s manual. It’s something you have to remember to do. However, Google offers an additional method to alert you when your brand is being mentioned. It’s called, appropriately, Google Alerts.
Go to Google Alerts and if you don’t already have a Google account, create one, or just log in.
Once logged in, you can either simply create a new alert or select click here to manage your alerts to see the entire console. For this discussion, let’s do the latter.
Now select “Try creating one,” or if you already have alerts created, just click the “New Alert” button.
Google Alerts allows you to create an email alert when specific terms you enter appear in mediums, such as on the web, news stories, blogs, etc. You can receive these emails as soon as something appears, once a day or week.
Start by entering your name in the “Search Terms” text box. If your name, or a portion of your name is popular, you might try placing yor name in quotes. For type, select “Comprehensive,” this will provide you alerts from multiple sources (News, Web and Blogs). Now select how often. I suggest “Once a Day.” Then click “Create Alert”.
You’ve just created your first Google Alert. Now think of other search terms that might be related to your brand. Create alerts for them, then watch your inbox for any items. You’ll likely have to make changes to either the search terms or the frequency, based on the relevancy of the alerts or how often you receive the emails.
Consider using your competition’s brand name and related terms to monitor what they are doing.
Congrats! You’ve just performed a great first step (and in many cases, the only step) you’ll need to monitor and manage your brand’s reputation.