A while back, I did a blog post on how easy it was to begin participating in the world of social media tools. All you need to do is locate where conversations are happening about you on the web, learn how to monitor them, then learn how to participate and positively impact your brand's online reputation. Since then there has been a recent expansion in the amount of tools available to aid in your online reputation management efforts. Today on Big Picture Web, we'll walk you four easy tools used to monitor your online reputation.
1) Google Reader and RSS
Most online reputation management tools are delivered through either email or RSS ("really simple syndication"). While email is convenient and familiar to most, RSS allows you to see up-to-the-minute information and helps keep all your online reputation reputation management efforts more organized. If you aren't currently using RSS to stay informed, you should be. RSS has quickly become a well-established, yet often misunderstood communication tool. Run out to Youtube and watch RSS in Plain English and Google Reader in Plain English. You'll see the value and be ready to create a free Google Reader account in no time.
Most social media strategies these days involve Twitter to some extent. And believe it or not, sifting the 140-character tweets can provide some incredibly valuable insights about what people are saying about your brand. Your second online reputation management secret is to begin searching through Twitter (for free) on a regular basis. You can actively search Search.Twitter.com on a schedule or set up a few RSS feeds to push notifications to you as they happen. Just enter terms specific to your brand and see what results you encounter.
3) Google Alerts
Google Alerts is like Search.Twitter.com, but for the whole web as opposed to just Twitter. See the most recent news events, web site content, videos and more. Set up a free account with Google Alerts, then set up your alerts. Include terms specific to your online reputation, typically related to your brand, product or services. Again, you can choose to set up your alerts to come to you via email or RSS.
Google Reader, Search.Twitter.com and Google Alerts are all free. But if you want to spend a few bucks to reduce the time you spend performing online reputation management, you may want to set up an account with Trackur.com. Trackur was created by Andy Beal, author of Radically Transparent and founder of the Marketing Pilgrim blog/website, both excellent sources of online reputation management news and information. Trackur allows you to monitor your brands across the web and Twitter. And comes with some extra tools that make reputation management easier, such as bookmarking and the ability to track and trend sentiment (i.e., are the conversations about you good or bad?). Try their two week risk-free trial to see the extra benefits Trackur can bring to your online reputation management efforts.
Before you start blindly participating in social media, it's critical that you know the lay of the land. Not doing so could make your reputation management efforts appear contrived and insincere. I hope following the steps listed in today's post will help your company get started down the path of online reputation management.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post? We'd love to hear them. Leave a comment below to continue the conversation.