Wondering what people are saying — whether good or bad — about your local business online? Want to know whether the news on your holiday sale is spreading? All it takes is a little online reputation management. Here are three easy ways to track your company’s online reputation.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts emails you updates of the latest relevant Google results. Track your local business’ online reputation by entering its name into the “search query” box then select how often you want to receive updates. Unless you’re tracking a major online marketing campaign, once a week is usually enough. You can track specific campaigns by entering your business name and the promotion name, like this: A Small Biz + Holiday Specials. You can also use Google Alerts to track competitor and industry news.

Social Mention

Another great online reputation management tool is Social Mention. It works much like Google Alerts in that you enter the specific search terms you’d like to track and you also have the option to get email updates. Or, just hit search to view real-time results on the web page. What’s unique about Social Mention is that you can track conversations happening on specific social media channels by clicking on “select social media sources” under the search field. You can also install a real-time buzz widget on your website to help encourage conversation among customers.

Kurrently

Kurrently is an online reputation tracking tool that’s a good way to follow conversations and live events as they’re happening. So, if you’re hosting a Twitter chat, for example, you can use Kurrently to follow the conversation on Twitter and see how it’s spreading across other social media channels. Like the other online reputation tools mentioned above, Kurrently is easy to use and easy to follow. I especially like that you can pause the search results from automatically populating. This makes it much easier to track popular (and oftentimes quick!) Twitter conversations.

Still not sure why online reputation management is so important? If you don’t know what people are saying about your business or products, how can you improve? How can you understand what your consumers want? Plus, if you see anything negative about your business online, reputation management gives you the chance to proactively respond and hopefully change the consumers’ minds about your brand. Monitoring your business online allows you to learn insightful information about your target audience and grow as a company, two crucial factors that can only lead to a more profitable business for you.

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Image courtesy of Flickr by Visma Finland