Why Monitoring Your Online Reputation is Important & How to Do it for Free
You probably spend more and more time online. But are you spending all of your time talking and too little time listening? By listening, we mean paying attention to mentions about you, your business, and your products, online. Here are some important things you can learn from monitoring your online reputation on social media, blogs and the Web:
- Criticisms of you, your business, and your products. Negative mentions should be dealt with quickly and comprehensively. If you don’t know about them, or don’t know about them quickly, those jabs can affect you even more.
- Compliments about your business or product. Have you ever complimented someone on social media, and never received a response? It’s pretty insulting. At the least, you should offer an online thank you. Taking it further, you can use compliments in your ongoing marketing efforts.
- Comments or questions. Discussion forums especially are full of unanswered questions from companies. Social media, too. Once these questions are available to you, you have the opportunity to address issues and concerns, and hopefully gain sales and solidify customer relationships.
- Fans. Unofficial brand ambassadors exist everywhere. They are the ones who frequently mention on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram how much they love your chocolate, can’t live without your headphones, or how great they looked wearing the purple dress bought from your online store. Beyond a one-time compliment, these folks buy many of your products or are repeat customers, and share their love of your company often. These folks should be thanked, and nurtured.
If you know you should be checking out your online reputation, but aren’t sure how, a good way to start is to sign up for some free online monitoring tools. Here are our favorites:
This is the most well-known free monitoring service and a must for everyone.
Just enter a search term (such as a company name, product name, or other keyword) and enter an email address where you’d like to receive the alerts. You can also change the default options, to receive email alerts more than once a day, show all or best results, change languages, and more.
The alerts show up directly in your email inbox. Here is an example of one that offers the opportunity to answer a question:
Talkwalker is a social media monitoring company that offers a free service utilizing Google’s Web, news, and blog databases and delivers alerts by email or RSS.
It operates the same way as Google Alerts. You enter a search term, choose options, and enter an email address to receive updates:
You’ll find some overlap between the results you get from Google and Talkwalker Alerts, but you’ll also get some different results.
Social Mention is another free online monitoring tool. It operates a bit differently from the first two tools, because with Social Mention you can just enter a term and do a search. There’s no registration necessary. We entered ShipStation. Here are the results:
This tool is a great way to learn about brand mentions. You can also find out your brand’s strength (how often it’s being discussed), the passion of the posting (how likely someone will repeat the mention), the sentiment (positive to negative), and the reach (measure of influence).
We’ve gotten better results by choosing the Advanced Search function on the right-hand side of the search bar. We were able to choose “this exact wording or phrase,” results from all sources (blogs, video, images, events, news, audio and other content), and English as the language. You can be even more specific, choosing timeframes and words you don’t want included as part of the search.
You can check this at any time or set up daily alerts or an RSS feed.
With the free version of Topsy, you can monitor the number of Twitter mentions your brand received up to the last 30 days. You can make the results more relevant by choosing the language and timeframe.
There’s no registration with Topsy, and you just enter a search term. Here are the results shown when we entered ShipStation:
You don’t have to register for Topsy, but you have the option of creating an email alert.
Remember, sometimes it’s more important to listen than to talk. These free online monitoring tools make it easy to quickly learn who’s commenting about your business. Check them out and let us know the positive effect on your business.