Once your business is online and especially if you have a social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) then it is likely people will be talking about your business. It is great if everything being said is positive though inevitably there will be negative comments related to your business brand.
As a small business owner you probably won’t have the resources to employ someone to do online reputation management and it probably isn’t necessary. Though devoting some time each day, or once a week, to doing your own online reputation management can be beneficial to your business and something to consider.
Positive mentions should be publicised, re-tweeted, linked to or displayed on a news page as this will help build online brand identity. Negative mentions, especially on popular websites or blogs, can have a bad impact on your business brand online, so be sure to deal with these effectively.
Approach the commentator and rectify the situation as best possible, or use SEO techniques to downplay and counteract any negative effect it could have on your business. Here are some tools to help you do your own online reputation management for your small business.
Free tools to do your own ORM
Google Alerts – Google Alerts is a free service from Google related to search queries you specify. Whenever new content is indexed that matches your search query you will be notified by Google via email. Setting up alerts for your business name as well as key figures within your business would be a good idea. Search queries related to competitors would also be good to help get some insight into popularity of other businesses in your market segment. Find out more at http://www.google.com/alerts
Social Mention – Social Mention is a search engine that will find mentions across various platforms for a term you specify. Test it using your business brand name or website address and you may be surprised how often your business appears. It is a useful tool for aggregating mentions from various sources quickly. Find out more at http://www.socialmention.com
Twitter Search – Though a part of Twitter and often overlooked, using Twitter Search to find mentions about your business is important to have in place for ORM. Software such as TweetDeck allows you to save searches which makes it easier for you to quickly scan for any new mentions and reduces repetitive searches. Monitter.com provides a free online tool with similar functionality.
Yahoo! Pipes – For more advanced users Yahoo! offers a service called Pipes which allows you to aggregate content from all over the internet. This will require a bit more time than the above mentioned tools though if you are a power-user it may save you time in the long run.
There are plenty of other tools out there and finding ones that you are comfortable using may take a while. Dedicating a portion of your working week to online reputation management is important in online marketing for your business. Once you are successfully monitoring and managing your businesses brand online it will positively affect your business and improve search results rankings.
ORM is also a good way to identify how internet users view your business and allows you to influence this for the best of your business.