Here at Ormbooster, we often say that online reputation management begins with online reputation monitoring. After all, how can you defend your brand, or respond appropriately to online feedback, if you have no idea what people are saying about your brand on the Internet? An excellent online reputation management campaign is a knowledgeable and informed one, and as such, online reputation monitoring is of the essence.
One thing we recommend is for small businesses to make online reputation monitoring a priority. Your small enterprise benefits from knowing where it stands with online consumers; how good or how bad your online reviews are; and whether or not you’ve received any online attacks. What follows is a quick guide to online reputation monitoring practices and strategies, specifically among small businesses.
What are You Monitoring?
The first step is to identify the online search terms that are going to be the focus of your online reputation monitoring efforts. This is not as clear-cut as you might think. You want to monitor any terms that are associated with your brand, which online searchers may be used to obtain information about your brand. The name of your company is the most crucial term to monitor, then, but you will also wish to control the names of key executives and even branded products.
Different Ways to Monitor
The next task involved with online reputation monitoring is to identify exactly how your company will monitor its online image. There are three methods you can choose to employ:
Please do it manually, actually conducting Google and Bing searches for your branded terms on a daily or at least a weekly basis. This method is free, and for tiny businesses, it may be viable, but it is essential (and challenging) to maintain consistency with this!
Use the free tools at your disposal, which include Social Mention and, most critically, Google Alerts. This is the recommended method.
Use paid tools, which offer more advanced analytics, but, for most small businesses, are probably not necessary.
Choose the Monitor
The next important task for small businesses is to identify the person in your enterprise who will be in charge of online reputation monitoring. It is essential to formally assign this task to someone, to ensure that it gets done, but it is also necessary to make sure you attach it to the right person. A young, social media-savvy intern or part-time employee may seem like the natural choice, but make sure this person clearly understands your company’s vision and identity.
A Policy in Place
Finally, your small business should work to develop a clearly-stated, formal policy about how online listings, reviews, and social mentions will be responded to. How will you respond to bad reviews, and how will you log or record positive feedback or constructive suggestions? It is essential to have a stated policy, to make sure these tasks are completed promptly and consistently. This is where the all-important process of online reputation monitoring comes together!