An online reputation requires a lot more engagement than just doing a periodic Google search to see what pops up. A good online reputation is cultivated and managed with a well-planned, coherent strategy, and anything less could lead to a negative reputation or worse — no reputation. Luckily, monitoring an online reputation doesn’t have to be a tedious, manual process.
In a previous article of mine, I discussed the mindset of a Reputation Manager — the hunter, the watcher, and the savvy communicator. But that mindset is useless without business intelligence.
Powerful analytical tools exist which process huge amounts of data to monitor every time a brand or company is mentioned on social media, customer perception levels, and complaints and negative information. A subscription with even just one such tool can help give an organization an automated, fully-customizable report on their areas of concern.
Features of a Good Online Reputation Monitoring Solution
Any reputable brand reputation monitoring tool will have a variety of features that can give a company a good handle on their online reputation. However, these are some of the most valuable features that shouldn’t be excluded:
- Sentiment analysis — uses AI to analyze customer perception and whether sentiment is trending positive or negative
- Social media monitoring — monitors social media platforms for brand mentions
- Google monitoring — monitors Google search results and sends reports
- Filtering — multiple options to sort and filter out data
- Black list and white list sites — advanced filtering to segregate unwanted websites that should be monitored and prioritizing those which should be closely watched
- Monitor individuals — monitors mentions of single people (e.g., leadership, spokespeople, company employees, authors, etc.)
- Extra Bonus: Deep Web Monitoring — monitors pirate websites, forums that hide under the search index, and hidden communities, which gives great predictive analysis to upcoming reputation damage
It’s too easy for negative, libelous, unwanted, or defamatory content to pop up on the internet and go viral in a matter of hours. An overworked intern doesn’t need to spend their entire day combing through Google search results, though; just subscribe to an online reputation management (ORM) service and get periodic reports on the health of the brand.
Three Great Reputation Monitoring Tools
There are plenty of paid services out there that can help monitor an online reputation. Here are three I have used, each with their strengths and weaknesses, but overall they get the job done. The key is to test their capabilities and see which fits your needs best.
Brand24 is a service that allows a company to monitor a variety of online reputation metrics. It can monitor social media mentions across Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as plenty of others, and can even send automated reports that reflect the overall sentiment of these mentions. There’s also a way to follow significant social media influencers and receive alerts when they mention the brand or company in a post, which gives a brand’s social media engagement team the ability to react quickly to trends in real-time.
Brand24 is user-friendly, with a dashboard that gives even the most technologically-challenged person a quick snapshot of the brand’s social media analytics. This is especially useful for sharing relevant insights with stakeholders across the organization who may need to know about social media performance. They also offer a way to integrate with Slack workspaces to help with collaboration and shorten response time when an alert is triggered.
2. GoFish Digital Complaint Search and Reputation Management
An important part of keeping a healthy online reputation is monitoring and engaging with customer complaints. GoFish is a tool that specializes in just that function. It searches mainstream consumer complaint websites for a keyword almost instantly, similar to a Google search. While this tool is free and relatively basic, GoFish also offers a variety of ORM tools intended to make the positive information easier to find and the negative harder to find. It can set up automated reports for Wikipedia page updates, customer reviews, and search engine results listings, as well.
GoFish isn’t going to be a one-stop solution for social media monitoring, but it is a valuable tool to integrate into a larger strategy. It allows a company to home in on complaints and engage with them quickly. Online complaints can severely damage a company’s online reputation, so GoFish offers a useful service.
SproutSocial is a tool that is designed to streamline social media management operations, but it includes powerful monitoring tools as well. SproutSocial can conceivably be a comprehensive solution to a brand’s online monitoring strategy. A large company can easily find itself maintaining a presence on a dozen different social media sites, and sometimes that can get hard to manage. SproutSocial.com offers user-friendly visual reports on a variety of data from number of brand engagements to a list of individual posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (among others) and more. It’s one of the first social media monitoring sites of its kind, specializing in providing value to small to medium businesses in particular. It even has some customer relationship management solutions to help streamline customer experiences.
Monitor. Protect. Excel.
There are few things that can do so much to help a business excel, or damage it almost beyond repair, as its online image. There are so many people using the internet all over the world now that it’s almost negligent for a brand to not monitor its online reputation. Thankfully, this isn’t a manual process; there are plenty of high-quality automated tools and services out there that can scan through the mountains of data on the web and give alerts and reports to help a company cultivate a great online brand. Don’t allow your online reputation to be at the mercy of the internet — instead, make use of the resources out there to take control of your online reputation and put it to work for you.