Online reputation management (ORM) is the process of monitoring and responding to conversations about your brand and product. Online, these conversations can happen anywhere and between many different kinds of people and the sentiment won’t always be positive. To successfully manage your online reputation, you must both monitor your brand and handle what is being said.
Monitoring your online reputation involves gathering data from a wide variety of channels, sources and types of media. Monitoring involves gathering both quantitative data (data that can be bounced, like the number of comments, page views and Likes) and qualitative data (data that is uncountable and subjective, like the sentiment in a comment or the tone of a question). There are many excellent online tools that help you to manage this process.
Naturally, you should monitor the conversations on your own platforms, including social media interactions, comments on your articles and emails. You should also keep an eye on influential people in your industry and network. Beyond that, you will need to use specialised tools to find and evaluate mentions of your brand, product and industry, further afield, online. The by-product of this process is that you can find new marketing opportunities in your field because you will be aware of relevant discussions.
Online reputation management tools
The tool you use for online reputation management will depend on:
- The size of your company
- How much you are prepared to spend
- How much media attention your brand gets
Most small businesses can comfortably manage their online reputations with free Google, Twitter and Facebook tools. Larger companies with a strong online presence need to consider a paid-for alternative.
Google is an incredibly powerful search engine and an excellent tool for keeping track of your brand. Even a simple Google search for your company name will reveal a lot of useful information, but it can take a lot of time if you perform the same searches every day.
Google Alerts is an easy-to-use tool that automates this process: you set up Alerts for as many keywords as you want and Google sends you an email whenever a new mention of that keyword appears online along with a link to that location.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up your own Alerts:
- You need to have a Google account to create Alerts. If you are already using Gmail, Google Docs or any other Google application, you already have an account.
- Once you have an account, go to google.com/alerts.
- To create an Alert, type a word into the “Search terms” box. If you click “Preview Results” you will see a Google search page for the keyword that you entered.
- You can see the properties of your Alert to customise how you receive notifications:
- “Type” refers to the type of media content you want Google to check; it is recommended that you stick with “Everything” to get the broadest spectrum of results.
- “How often” determines how frequently you receive notifications from Google.
- “Email length” determines how frequently you receive notifications from Google.
- “Email length” determines how many individual search results you will be sent.
- Finally, “Delivery to” specifies the email address the Alert will be sent to and is by default your Gmail address.
Tweak these settings to suit your needs and remember that you can always edit them later.
- Click “Create Alert” when you’re done.
- Google will keep track of your Alert and will send you an email when something new is posted online.
Here are some of the suggested Google Alerts which you should look at setting up:
- Your company name
- The names of your products
- The name of your CEO and prominent company personnel
- Your industry
- Your location, where relevant
- Your URL
- Your biggest competitors
- Your most essential SEO keywords
Online Reputation Management is an essential part of brand management.