Your online reputation can make or break your business, so it’s important to know what people are saying about your company on the internet. Even if you don’t use social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Digg, a lot of your customers, both satisfied and dissatisfied, probably do, and you might just be surprised by what they’re saying about your business online. Thankfully, there are lots of free and premium tools designed to help you manage your company’s online reputation, and I’ve chosen some of my favourites to share with you–and they’re all completely free!
Want to know what Facebook users are saying about your business? Then check out Openbook, a website that lets you use Facebook’s very own search service to scour public Facebook updates for your desired keyword, such as the name of your company. With Openbook, you’ll be able to see exactly what your customers think about your products, service, advertising, prices, or anything else people have to say about your business.
This can be a great way to gain feedback from your customers, and if you’re logged into Facebook, you can offer your assistance or request the person as your friend. However, if you are thinking of contacting a customer via Facebook, remember that some individuals will appreciate your offer of assistance, while others may find it to be creepy and intrusive.
If you want to manage your company’s online reputation but you don’t have a lot of time, then Keotag is a great tool for you. With Keotag, you can quickly search multiple search engine, such as Yahoo and Google, and social media sites, such as Reddit, Digg, and Newsvine, for your desired keyword. To use Keotag, you simply enter your chosen keyword, such as your company’s name, click OK, click on the logo of the search engine or site you’d like to search, and you’ll be provided with links to the pages that have been tagged with your desired keyword.
Everyday, companies get criticized and praised by members of discussion boards, so it’s important to know what your customers, past and present, satisfied and livid, are telling other people about your business. Thankfully, BoardTracker, a forum search engine, will scour message boards from around the world for your desired keyword (i.e., the name of your company) and present you with a list of pages where it is mentioned. You can also set up pre-defined search terms and BoardTracker will tell you when someone posts a thread containing your keywords.
Like BlogPulse, Google Blog Search will enable you to gather feedback about your business simply by entering the name of your company in a search engine, but you may be overwhelmed by the large number of search results. Unfortunately, Google Blog Search doesn’t filter out the articles you’ve written containing the name of your company, so you have to sift through a large amount of information to find the content you’re actually looking for. However, if you have the time and patience, the large number of results on Google Blog Search may provide you with valuable information that BlogPulse simply doesn’t produce.
Need to know what people are saying about your company on Twitter? Then just enter the name of your business into Twitter Search, and you’ll be provided with a list of all of the tweets about your company. Once you’ve searched for your company’s name, simply click ‘Feed for this query’ at the top of the screen and subscribe to an RSS feed of these results using your favourite RSS reader. Now, whenever you check your RSS feed, you’ll be kept up to date on everything people are saying about your business on Twitter.
Want to know what people are saying about your business in blogs, video, discussions, and the news? Then simply set up a Google Alert using a keyword, such as your company’s name, and you will receive an email every time your keyword is mentioned online. The email will contain a link to the site where your keyword has been mentioned, so you can easily find out exactly what people are saying about your business. Setting up a Google Alert is extremely easy, and it’s a great way to get timely feedback, both negative and positive, about your business.
Not only will Social Mention scour over 80 social media sites, such as Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Digg, for your desired keyword (i.e., the name of your company), but it will also analyze the results and provide you with the sentiment of the mention (i.e., positive, negative, or neutral), how often your keyword appears, and the strength and reach of your search term. Plus, you can set up an alert with Social Mention, so you will receive an email every time your keyword appears on a social media site. If you’re looking for just one tool to manage your company’s online reputation, then I strongly recommend using Social Mention–it’s fast, easy to use, comprehensive, and free!
It’s important to know what your current and previous customers are saying about your business online, because they can provide you with valuable feedback you might not get any other way. Your online reputation is a reflection of your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and you can use this information to change your business practices and policies. If your customers are tweeting about how helpful your staff is, then you know you’re doing something right; if people are writing on Facebook about how difficult your website is to use, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your site’s design. However, the key to having a good online reputation is very simple: provide your customers with excellent customer service and a superior product or service, and you should have very little to worry about (aside from the random competitor writing a negative review of your company).
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