Gaining additional information on a potential client, employee or business is as easy as typing the letters G-O-O-G-L-E these days. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also have made it easier to find background information on people or companies.
But, while social sites can be beneficial to small business, they have also given voice to customers to share their opinions like never before. A bad online review of a product or service can spread like wildfire, and a spotty online reputation can be costly. Maintaining an upstanding online reputation is crucial, especially in business.
Despite what many small business owners think, reputation management is relatively simple. But it takes dedication. A company must constantly monitor its brand online. If the feedback is damaging, address it immediately. If the feedback is positive, promote it.
There are sites like Trackur, Reputation.com, DeleteMe or AlwaysOn that will perform constant online monitoring for individuals or companies, for a fee. But, if you want to monitor your business reputation on your own, consider the tactics recommended by the folks at Register.com – a website domain registration company.
You’ll receive an e-mail any time your company name appears anywhere on the Internet. You can subscribe via RSS, and track everything from news to videos.
Monitor blog search engines to see if anything has been posted about your company. Google Blog Search and Technorati can help in this endeavor.
The search engine SocialMention tracks everything from blog comments to social bookmarking sites like Delicious to microblogging services like Twitter for any mention of you or your company. As with Google Alerts, you can subscribe to mentions of your name via RSS or email.
Using any search engine, you can type your name and click “images” to see all the images associated with your company name or products. When uploading photos, it’s recommended to use your company name in the title of the image so they will have a stronger link to your business.
Monitoring one’s online reputation takes time and diligence – many businesses have employees who are responsible only for the daily upkeep of the company’s online image. These online experts may add weight to the payroll, but their benefits go beyond metrics. Think customer service, troubleshooting and reputation management.
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