Reputation management for small businesses is a hot topic. Imagine if someone came to your business, had a bad experience, and told 10 of their friends. Then each of those 10 people told another 10 friends. As you can see, it can continue to compound until bad word of mouth is out of control and costing you customers.
With social media and search, one bad word of mouth review can be found by hundreds, if not thousands of people. The only point of redemption a business has is if they can take the public criticism and give it a good public response to defend themselves and try to make things right with the reviewer.
If your business can only do a few things in the online world, reputation monitoring and response should be one strategy to which you devote time and resources. Here are some ways you can monitor your brand so you can respond quickly to anyone who has something to say about you.
What to Monitor of Your Brand
The following are some good places to start when figuring out what you should be monitoring.
- Brand name plus any other company / business names related to your organization.
- Owner’s name or name of people who are in the public eye representing the company.
- Unique names of products / services exclusive to your company.
Essentially, anything or anyone that someone might refer to in relationship to your brand should be monitored. When people complain, they may just refer to your company, a representative of your company, or a product that you sell.
Depending on how large your brand is or how unique the names of your brand / business / product names are, you might want to include additional keywords into your searches such as:
- Your brand review.
- Your brand sucks.
- Your brand complaint.
- Your brand report.
- Your brand consumer reviews.
- Your brand scam.
There are lots of other combinations of keywords commonly used based on industry, such as your brand reliability or recalls if you are an automotive company. If you have a local business where customers can drop off reviews onsite, look at those reports to see if common keywords or phrases are repeated often and include them in your search.
Where to Monitor Your Brand
The following tools will help you easily monitor your brand mentions across the web.
Google Alerts allow you to setup searches for your brand, and anytime a new piece of content on the web surfaces, you will be sent an email with a short summary and a link to the website.
Social Mention allows you to setup searches for your brand and receive emails with any mentions on blogs, networks, bookmarks, comments, images, videos, and more.
While Social Mention will send you emails of results in social networks including Twitter, you may want to be more on top of mentions on Twitter as you could be responding to them in real time. You can use Twitter Search to search for your brand and subscribe to results in your RSS reader, such as Google Reader.
Alternatively, if you use Twitter management tools like HootSuite, you can setup a search stream and monitor it right from your HootSuite dashboard.
Does your business have one or more physical locations? Be sure to find your Google Places page (you can search for it using Google Maps if you are unsure if you have one), claim it, and use it to monitor major local review sites such as citysearch.com, tripadvisor.com, and other review sites based on your niche.
Your Reputation Monitoring Strategies
The above tips should help you get started in reputation monitoring. What other strategies and advice would you give for small businesses looking to keep an eye on their reputation?