As appeared in the Presence Pointers column of the September 2007 issue of “Business Watch” magazine.
Would you be surprised to learn that you have a web presence already, even if you don’t have a website? Of course, you should have a website already anyway… perhaps this will give you another reason for doing so.
Reputation monitoring is an area of growing importance thanks to the ease of publishing on the web. Reputation monitoring isn’t just for businesses, but is equally important for non-profit organizations, clubs, groups, as well as individuals. Monitoring your reputation is all about knowing what’s being said, where it’s being said, and by whom.
The web has raised the bar all around—making it even easier for those who want to express their thoughts or opinions about you, both good and bad. The benefits and power of the web isn’t just for those expressing those opinions and over the next few paragraphs, you’ll at least get started down the path of reputation monitoring.
The scope of monitoring is nearly infinite and you’ll have to decide what meets your needs. As you can imagine, this has grown into an industry and you may decide that you need to outsource this task to a service provider like NameProtect, located right here in Madison (no affiliation or endorsement implied).
It might be good though to start monitoring on your own to at least get a better understanding before deciding to outsource. The first realization you need to make is that the little store on the corner needs to be aware of its online reputation just like the big corporate giants. The good news, though, is that the web can help you do this—even if you are just a little store on the corner.
Monitoring can range from automated searches or basic manual checks, to complex, detailed monitoring across hundreds or thousands of sites. Most businesses or individuals can cover a lot of monitoring-ground quite easily just by using the search engines. Create a list of key brand terms to monitor, such as company names (including variations), brands, product names, key personnel and names of those with extensive public contact, and your domain name (e.g., domain.com).
As you can see, we’ve really just scratched the surface. It is impossible to get into detail here as every business and industry is unique. But you should now have a better understanding and some ideas on how to get started. Of course, reputation management is a whole other topic.
Protect Your Rep Quick Tips
- Perform periodic searches for key brand terms in GYM (Google, Yahoo, MSN), reviewing results at least 3 pages deep.
- Setup daily alerts for key brand terms at google.com/alerts/ and alerts.yahoo.com.
- Check opinion and review sites like epinions.com, complaints.com, and ripoffreport.com.
- Monitor and participate in forums and message boards that relate to your industry or your location.
- Monitor and participate in blogs that relate to your industry, but also keep an eye on the blogosphere as any blogger may decide to blog about you. Check the blogosphere for key brand terms at sites like technorati.com, icerocket.com, and bloglines.com.