Online Reputation Management – 10 Tools That Will Help
Managing your online reputation is every bit as important, if not more than, advertising your company’s name. Unfortunately, it takes hours to search the web for posts, news stories, and reviews that impact your company.
Luckily, there are many tools available to automate these searches and notify you when new results appear. Use these tools to monitor your online reputation in real-time and promote positive feedback while managing negative feedback before it can damage your bottom line.
If This, Then That just might become the ultimate tool to automate everything Internet. What it does is help users simply connect and automate their different internet platforms, which they call “channels,” with “recipes” that range from ingenious to downright hilarious.
Particularly amusing is this recipe to send a fake phone call to help the creator escape from awkward conversations. The possibilities for these recipes are nearly endless as users have access to over 100 channels including WordPress, Feeds, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and several possibilities for connecting to other channels with each.
Using this new service, you can set up an automated task that saves time with your social media posts. For instance, if you add a post to your Facebook page, it can be instantly posted to your Twitter account, Foursquare, and other social media without the need to log in and post to each account separately.
More importantly, IFTTT can monitor and track what people are saying about you and your industry in real-time. If a competitor has a blog, you can keep tabs by subscribing to the RSS feed. Then, have IFTTT send you a text every time a new post mentioning certain keywords is added while ignoring irrelevant posts.
With a little work, it is possible to automate searches about you, your company, and your industry from every corner of the web so that you can manage, or at least be aware of what people are saying about you in real-time.
This service isn’t just limited to reputation management. It can make all aspects of your life more convenient. For example, if you lose your phone constantly because you turn off the ringer for meetings, set it to automatically increase the volume to 100% when it receives a text message with a key phrase.
2. Google Alerts & Me on the Web
These Google services can be used to track when your name, company, or employees are mentioned on the internet, as well as any other search term you choose. You can set these alerts to arrive in your inbox at specified intervals or as they happen. You must have a Google account to use it, but it is very easy, very thorough with its results and you can set up as many alerts as you like.
If you are creative you can track other important mentions as well. For instance, a posting of your email or phone number may be every bit as important as mentions of your company name or employees. You can narrow your search by using search operators such as quotation marks, the minus sign to exclude words or sites, or an ampersand to search closely connected terms. Google’s support page has a cheat sheet of sorts to explain how to use these different search tricks.
Talkwalker is meant to be a filterable alternative to Google Alerts. Just enter a keyword and the site periodically crawls the web and email you with new notifications when your term shows up on social media sites and other areas of the internet.
The free service only searches for the past 7 days but can be useful for real-time tracking. A few test runs show results not as complete as Google Alerts, but search returns can be divided up by category for easy filtering of results.
An exceedingly neat trick to gauge consumers’ impressions of your business as they use Google. As Google users type in a phrase, search suggestions appear in a dropdown box underneath their search term. This is most often the first impression that a consumer will have of your business.
These search suggestions can sidetrack a person who is attempting to find contact information to negative sites and reviews. Ubersuggest.org provides a free detailed report of the possible search suggestions that appear as users type in terms. For an example of how this works, go to their site. Type in “RipOff Report” to see the massive list of intuitively negative returns such as “ripoff report scam” and “ripoff report banned.”
Topsy can help you see how certain search terms trend on Twitter and across the web. It is a far more powerful search engine than Twitter’s included search function. You can search by #hashtags, simple phrases, words, your name, and your company name.
Results can be filtered by time, including specific ranges, language, and type of result. The best feature of Topsy is its ability to decipher who drives the conversation by clicking the “influencers” tab on the left-hand side.
6. Tweet Alarm
Tweet Alarm is a very simple alert system that sends a Google email every time your search term of interest is mentioned on Twitter. It’s a useful tool to join conversations about your product or business with users that you are not already connected to via Twitter. It’s very easy and completely free.
7. Search the Deep Web
Pipl searches go far beyond a simple search term. Pipl finds mentions of names in articles long forgotten by most, any social media profiles, public court documents, criminal records, resumes, and news articles among other results.
Geared specifically toward people, using it to search a brand name isn’t very useful. If, however, you want to search yourself because you are the founder of your company or any of your employees, the amount of information that can be dredged up from this site is astounding.
Many of the listings are useless, inaccurate diversions from paid sponsors such as Intelius and Instant Checkmate. This is why the service is free. However, many useful results pop up such as old news articles, pictures, and social media profiles can still be viewed on the web.
8. Track Yahoo Answers
If you are a registered Yahoo user, you can be the first to answer questions about your own brand or business field. Simply type in a search phrase. Then, click in for answers.
Then, click RSS on the right-hand side to sign up for a feed that alerts you whenever a related question is posted. This is hard to see because the font is very tiny, but you will find it if you look carefully.
9. User Reviews
Sites like Yelp and Yahoo give consumers an opportunity to review your business, and these reviews are frequently used. While it is difficult to get a negative review removed from a site unless it violates the site’s terms of service, it’s fairly easy to encourage satisfied customers to post positive reviews. What probably won’t work is flooding the site with hundreds of non-informative positive reviews like “they’re great” and “I love them.”
Review sites tend to discount suspicious positive reviews and not include them in overall ratings. They tend to weigh reviews regarding their informational content and usefulness instead, such as “I love this business because their manager runs specials for bulk copies every Wednesday.”
Encourage happy customers to be specific with their posts and state why they recommend your business to others. In addition, sites like Yelp offer businesses the opportunity to publicly comment on these reviews. When user reviews about your company pop up on any of these search tools, it is highly recommended that you use this option for mitigation.
10. Beware RipOff Report
Of all the complaint sites on the internet, RipOff Report is by far the most nefarious. This business complaint forum takes reports from consumers who feel they have been burned by a business. Then, they boost these reports to the top of Google’s search engines using a number of SEO tricks.
At first glance, it may seem like a fair forum to expose bad businesses and keep consumers informed, but there is a dark side. Apparently, RipOff Report is willing to remove the offending post if you pay them. Many who have been listed on this site claim to be victims of weaponized defamation. They are seeking to have the site removed from the web.
If you are unlucky enough to be listed on this site and feel the complaint is unjust, seek the assistance of a business attorney. You can also remind potential consumers on your webpage, blog, and social media that despite RipOff Report’s high Google rankings, they have an F rating with the Better Business Bureau. Hopefully, your rating with the bureau is very high.
Other Things You Can Do to Manage Your Brand
Google says that providing informative, useful content about your company works better than gaming the system. To a certain extent, this is true. Provide as much useful, positive content as possible about your business on the web. Use search optimization to promote your company’s good name.
Buy any domain names that can be associated with your business name. This keeps other people from diverting attention away from your brand or maligning it, whether unintentionally or not, with a similar .net or .org name to your own.
Protect Your Personal Privacy
Don’t have personal discussions on Facebook, even if your account is set to private. Hackers can always find a way. Change your email password often. Make it as strong as humanly possible.
Ask your friends and family to respect your privacy as well. It might be amusing to see a picture of you in a compromising position from your college days. This can sometimes have serious ramifications to your business name.
Links Web Design is a Website Design Company in Bangor, Maine.