As if you didn’t have enough to do to keep your SME running like a well oiled machine – one of the more fluid challenges that the internet era has presented to businesses of all sizes is that of reputation management. Not only is the internet largely unregulated – anyone can write pretty much anything, about anyone – but it’s so incredibly vast, that keeping track of where you’re popping up is becoming increasingly difficult.
Reputation management matters a lot simply because people are increasingly thumbing over reviews and listening to recommendations before purchasing products and services online – and even if 99% of your customers are deliriously happy with what you’re providing, it’s the 1% who might be motivated enough to slate you off online. It may be totally unfair – but someone who randomly stumbles upon and reads a negative review wont know that. And you just missed a sale as a result.
While there are now reputation management consultants and services who charge a small fortune, you could with a little know how take control of your own reputation management campaign. Here are a few tips to get you started, and a few free ways to find out who’s been saying what about you:
- Monitor Your Reputation Constantly. Reputation management isn’t one of those quick win solutions that you can set-up once and run on autopilot. While you certainly can employ technology to help you find comments about your company, you’ll consistently need to go on a search and destroy mission to seek out slurs and respond to them.
- Set-Up Multiple Google Alerts To Find Where Your Company Is Mentioned. It’s totally free to set-up Google Alerts – for example if your company sells replacement hips and is called Achy Breakie Pelvis Ltd, setting up an alert for that name will provide you with all new Google entries containing that name. You can specify how often you want the alerts – set this up weekly, and make it a habit to routinely perform a reputation management exercise one day in the week. You can also determine what type of results you want to see (news, blogs etc). Ideally, it’s best to include all search parameters so you don’t miss anything out. One key tip in using Google Alerts is to first make a keyword list for all potential searches aside from the company name. So, set up alerts for all your products and brands, key staff members who are likely to interact with customers and so on. The more alerts you set-up, the more comprehensive and robust your reputation management process will be.
- Use Social Mention In Your Reputation Management System. A huge number of customers mention positive and negative experiences within their social media posts. Social Mention is a free site, and works along the same lines as Google Alerts, only for social media sites. Scouring both the Google universe via alerts and the social media universe via Social Mention will certainly provide you with a large net coverage in terms of where you’re being mentioned.
- SME’s can also get a lot of mileage from the free Rankur option – this reputation management tool provides you with 10,000 monthly mentions of your business on general sites, blogs and on social media. There are more elaborate paid options too, but the basic option should be more than sufficient for small businesses.