The internet is an open space where anyone from anywhere in the world can create any type of content. Every day, thousands of new blog posts, millions of new social media updates and countless hours of new video content is created.
While this presents a great opportunity for organizations to connect with their consumers by creating value-driven content, it also poses a huge reputation risk for brands and individuals alike.
The open nature of the internet provides consumers, competitors and detractors an opportunity to publicly express their views about any brand or individual. This is often misused by unethical organizations that launch propaganda campaigns to malign their competitors.
This is why reputation monitoring is one of the most important components of online reputation management (ORM). Every effective ORM strategy starts with a comprehensive reputation monitoring mechanism that ensures timely detection of any negative content.
Online reputation monitoring is useful not only for detecting any defamatory campaigns, but also for identifying genuine customer complaints in a timely manner.
However, since modern day users create online content in so many different ways, effective reputation monitoring requires a combination of smart automation and skillful manual work.
Broadly speaking, there are two main types of online reputation monitoring.
Search engines, in general, and Google search, in particular, contain almost 99% of all online content. Research shows that almost 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine.
Google indexes every new piece of content within a few hours. So if an irritated customer leaves an online review on a review site, or if a competitor creates a negative blog, Google would start showing it in its search results within 24-48 hours.
Naturally, search engine monitoring is one of the first and most important tasks involved in online reputation management.
The easiest way to monitor search engine results is by setting up Google alerts. It’s an alert service that notifies Google users about any new content created on their chosen keywords.
Google alerts can be set up in three simple steps.
As soon as Google indexes any new content that includes this keyword, an alert email will be generated. This is why Google Alerts is by far the most reliable search engine monitoring tool
Another innovative monitoring tool is If This Then That (IFTTT). It’s a simple tool that lets users create if-then-else conditions, called recipes, to execute different tasks.
To monitor a particular website, users can create a recipe like this – IF [website] mentions [keyword] Then [receive an email alert]
There are several other tools that can be used to monitor search engine results, such as Bing alerts and TalkWalker Alerts.
Consumers are turning to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to express their views about customer service, product quality and brands in general.
Studies suggest that over 1 million people view Tweets about customer service every week. Alarmingly, more than 80% of those Tweets are negative in nature.
Clearly, modern-day brands need to keep a close eye on what’s being said about them on social media.
Social media monitoring is slightly more complex than search engine monitoring. However, with a smart combination of manual work and automation, timely detection of social mentions is possible.
Here are a few ways to monitor social media reputation.
Users on all major social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram frequently use hashtags to expand the reach of their posts and make them searchable. Brands can track relevant hashtags to see all the related messages.
Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter is one of the leading social networks in the world. But it’s also a huge search engine when used correctly. Twitter’s advanced search includes multiple filters that allows users to look for Tweets containing relevant keywords and hashtags, or track messages from a particular country or user.
There are dozens of tools that allow users to automatically track brand mentions and relevant hashtags on different social media platforms.
Tools like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, SocialMention and HootSuite have different option that help simplify social media monitoring.
However, social media reputation monitoring is just the first step. The real challenge starts once a negative comment or review has been detected. It requires a professional team of reputation managers to develop a policy and SOPs for responding to such comments.