Web 2.0 has revolutionized the way news is created nowadays and the way it's shared across the Web's communities. Sometimes, it takes just one tweet for a piece of news to spread like wildfire.
Now, what if that wildfire involved your brand? And what if you found out too late? To be prepared for situations like these and to be able to deal with them effectively, it's important to be familiar with the basics of online reputation management.
Handling your brand's reputation on the Internet usually includes:
daily tracking of online news and social conversations about your brand;
joining discussions that could hurt your business;
promoting positive sentiment about your brand;
being active at social networks on behalf of your company.
However, doing all these tasks on a daily basis by hand sounds a bit of a formidable job. Luckily, there are online reputation management tools one can use to always stay on top of what people are saying about their brand and act on those conversations, if necessary.
1. Google Alerts
Google Alerts is probably the first and the simplest online tool that comes to mind when you think about reputation management. It allows you to create an alert for a particular search term (your company's name, the name of your product, the name of your CEO, etc.) and receive notifications to your email each time the keyword is mentioned on the Web.
Google Alerts also allows you to use advanced search options:
You can use quotes to avoid getting alerted for synonyms/auto-corrected words:
You can exclude mentions that are most likely not what you need:
You can get alerts for mentions occurring at particular websites:
2. Google Discussions
Another great tool to use for online reputation management is Google Discussions. Unlike Google Web search, Google Discussions lets you discover relevant conversations happening specifically at blogs and forums.
When using Google Discussions, you can also resort to Google's Search tools to refine the results you get. For instance, go to All Discussions and choose Forums (to get the results from forums only) or Q&As (to get the results only from Q&A sites only). Besides, by clicking All time, you canchoose to see conversations that were added in the past hour, in the past 24 hours, in the past week/month or year.
Why use Google Discussions? Whenever a scandalous piece of news about your brand goes out on the Internet, forums and blogs are likely to pick it up. So, by locating such conversations early on, you can join them just in time to provide your side of the story. For instance, this is what Dan Thies did when a negative SEO attack on his site was being discussed at TrafficPlanet.
SocialMention is another handy tool you can use to keep track of what's being said about your company online. In addition to providing links to different social posts mentioning your company, it also shows you the keywords frequently used in those posts and estimates the overall sentiment those mentions have.
Besides, SocialMention apparently lets you create email alerts for your keywords. However, when I tried to do it, the service said that the feature was temporarily unavailable, and that it would be back in about a week.