by Erin Steiner
Do you know what people are saying about you and your business? You should. Monitoring your business reputation is one of the most important things you can do.
- Monitoring your business’ reputation ensures that you are able to catch and correct false rumors before the lies have a chance to gain traction and become perceptually true.
- Tracking your reputation helps clue you in to problems or concerns people have about your product (not everyone is going to email you directly).
- When you monitor your reputation, you get a better picture of what your customers want and need from you.
- It’s easier to monitor your reputation and nip problems in the bud than it is to let things spiral and then simply try to correct or repair your reputation later.
What’s more, monitoring your reputation doesn’t have to take a lot of work — especially as someone who is still in the start-up phases of building your business.
Here are some of the things you can do to keep track of what is being said about you online.
Every couple of days, run a Google search on your own name, your business’s name, the products or services you are selling, and maybe even a few of the keywords you are focused on.
To save time, you can also set up Google Alerts for these things so you will be emailed whenever any of these things is mentioned online.
2. Social Media
Hopefully when someone talks about you on social media, they will tag you so your accounts are notified and you can see what is being said. Remember, though, not everybody wants the person they’re talking about to know they are talking about them. This is why it’s a good idea, a couple of times a week, to plug your name, etc., into the search boxes on the major social media portals. Start with Facebook and Twitter and then move through Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
3. Review Sites
Don’t discount sites like Yelp. Sure, the site used to be solely for restaurants, but now the site is used to review local businesses of every stripe. Sometimes even web-based businesses are reviewed on the site.
Run a check for your name at least once a week. Yep — even if you haven’t set up a page for your business, you still need to check. You never know when your name might come up in one of the forums!
4. Hire a Service
As your business grows, you are going to have less time to monitor your reputation yourself. Hiring a service allows you to stay on top of things — the service monitors the web for you and lets you know when something requires your attention. This helps you keep your bases covered even when you don’t have time to manage the details yourself.
We live in an increasingly virtual world. This is great because it helps you reach more people in more places. It can also be scary because this virtual world is largely unregulated and people can say whatever they want, often without consequences. This means that people can say whatever they want about you and your business. Monitoring your reputation is the best way for you to make sure that what is said about you online is accurate and paints you in the best possible light.
It is worth noting that your response to the things that are said about you is just as important a piece of your online reputation as what was said about you in the first place. Remember to keep your responses as constructive and positive as possible!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, who has researched and written extensively about reputation management and monitoring. She also covers small business, personal finance and internet related topics.